Dick Meyer, editorial director of CBS News, says that for twelve years he has been covering for the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives because informing his readers what is going on is "not something we [reporters] are supposed to do." He "apologizes":
Good Riddance To The Gingrichites, CBS' Meyer: GOP 'Chess Club' Ruled The House For 12 Years And Won't Be Missed - CBS News: This commentary was written by CBSNews.com's Dick Meyer:
This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the "Contract with America" Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.
Really, it's just a simple thesis: The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. Together, they comprised one of the oddest legislative power cliques in our history. And for 12 years, the media didn't call a duck a duck, because that's not something we're supposed to do.
I'm not talking about the policies of the Contract for America crowd, but the character. I'm confident that 99 percent of the population -- if they could see these politicians up close, if they watched their speeches and looked at their biographies -- would agree, no matter what their politics or predilections. I'm confident that if historians ever spend the time on it, they'll confirm my thesis. Same with forensic psychiatrists. I have discussed this with scores of politicians, staffers, consultants and reporters since 1994 and have found few dissenters....
The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government. Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace. Having these guys in charge of a radical conservative agenda was like, well, putting Mark Foley in charge of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Indeed, Foley was elected in the Class of '94 and is not an inappropriate symbol of their regime.
More than the others, Newton Leroy Gingrich lived out a very special hypocrisy. In addition to the above biographical dissonance, Gingrich was one of the most sharp-tongued, articulate and persuasive attack dogs in modern politics. His favorite target was the supposed immorality and corruption of the Democratic Party. With soaring rhetoric, he condemned his opponents as anti-American and dangerous to our country's family values -- "grotesque" was a favorite word.
Yet this was a man who was divorced twice -- the first time when his wife was hospitalized for cancer treatment, the second time after an affair was revealed. Gingrich made his bones in the party by relentlessly attacking Democratic corruption, yet he was hounded from office because of a series of serious ethics questions. He posed as a reformer of the House, yet championed a series of deforms that made the legislative process more closed, more conducive to hiding special interest favors and less a forum for genuine debate. And he did it all with epic sanctimony...
Dick Meyer is the editorial director of CBSNews.com, based in Washington.
Words fail me. Words fail us all.