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Gingrich identifies his foil: Fox News

Newt Gingrich at his former home.
Newt Gingrich at his former home.

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign may not literally be over, but it might as well be. He's already laid off much of his staff and cleared his schedule, and this week's bounced check in Utah only added insult to injury.

With this in mind, the former Speaker is taking stock of his failed effort, and has identified a culprit: Fox News.

"I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through," Gingrich said Wednesday during a meeting with Delaware tea party leaders, according to RealClearPolitics, which was given access to the private meeting. "In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we're more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That's just a fact." [...]

During Wednesday's meeting, Gingrich had also accused News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch of perpetuating the network's slanted coverage of the 2012 race.

"I assume it's because Murdoch at some point said, 'I want Romney,' and so 'fair and balanced' became 'Romney,'" Gingrich said, according to RealClearPolitics. "And there's no question that Fox had a lot to do with stopping my campaign because such a high percentage of our base watches Fox."

Gingrich, it's worth noting, was a paid political analyst for Fox News before launching his national campaign.

Indeed, let's also keep in mind that Rick Santorum, who was also a paid political analyst for Fox News, also complained bitterly about the network's support for Romney, noting he had to go up against "Fox News shilling for him every day."

Eric Boehlert had a good take on this: "Like a classroom filled with favorites used to being the center of the teacher's interest, the GOP candidates this season, flattered nonstop for years on Fox, suddenly found themselves competing for the channel's attention and fighting for kingmaker Roger Ailes' affection. Was it inevitable that the incestuous primary process played out on Fox would produce hurt feelings and bruised ego? Yes. Was the spectacle yet another reminder that Fox News has transformed itself into a purely political entity? It was."

The irony of the larger story is rather rich. Guys like Gingrich and Santorum are generally delighted to see Fox News play the role of a political actor, influencing election outcomes and directing Republican viewers through predetermined narratives, but apparently like it far less when they're the candidates and they're not benefiting.