In an otherwise good bit of reporting about Newt Gingrich’s “deep ties” to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the NYT couldn’t leave well enough alone. Here’s the totally false sentence in the otherwise solid story, with my empahsis in italics:
House rules appear to require him to have filed a report within 30 days after he left Congress under an ethics cloud in January 1999.
Well, no he didn’t leave it under and ethics cloud. There were no pending ethics charges at the time, nor even any known, pending, unofficial allegations of wrongdoing. He left Congress because he screwed up the management of Congress and of the 1998 campaigns. As a result, as has been reported and confirmed so many other places by now that it’s not worth linking to them all, he just flat-out didn’t have the votes for re-election as speaker. But ethics were not a component of his leaving, at least not in any immediate sense, although there may well have been sort of a hangover from his one ethics violation that was disposed of more than a year earlier — but that hangover, if a part of it, was just part and parcel of the whole overall record as speaker; it did not cause a “cloud” hanging over him by the end of 1998 and early 1999 that directly caused his ouster.
This is just a sheer matter of fact. To repeat, not a single ethics charge was outstanding against Gingrich when he left Congress. The New York Times knows this. The New York Times doesn’t care. Not content with publishing facts that tend to discredit the former speaker, it adds an old fiction with which to smear him — thus discrediting the rest of its otherwise decent work on this story in the process.
As with the racism charge leveled against Gingrich that I dealt with here, this is a load of crud that should not be allowed to stand.
Lord knows I’m no Gingrich fan, but fair is fair. The story on Fannie and Freddie should stand on its own, without a smear being added to it.