I can understand why Speaker Gingrich wants the stifling of applause to stop; he plays to the audience. When answering questions, he has that very particular gesture that is neither to the moderator or the fellow candidates, but is to the crowd. And he knows how to play 'em!
But do we need to make these debates about the reaction of the crowd? Didn't we just elect a guy who was all about crowds, settings, and Styrofoam pillars? … and teleprompters? Further, I'm not aware of the press's ability to stifle free speech. The debates are not statutory, they are voluntary. Candidates have skipped other debates in protest this Primary cycle (see Trump's debate and Huntsman's refusal to participate in the earlier debate).
This is the problem Newt has. It's perhaps a valid point. Maybe. Maybe not.
But the problem -- his problem -- is that this will be seen as more from the guy who complained about being put in to the back of Air Force One.
It seems a little too much like the old Newt. And that's not good.