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Executives at ABC News were Public Enemy No. 1 on the talk-radio circuit on Thursday in the wake of the broadcaster’s decision to run a controversial interview with Marianne Gingrich during Nightline.
Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager got the ball rolling during his morning show when he asked that the personal marital history of ABC News president Ben Sherwood be released to the public, as well as that of New York Times editor Jill Abramson.
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Prager didn’t name names, but said the people running the Times and ABC News are as powerful and influential as Newt Gingrich is, so it’s equally important – read: not very – that details of their private lives be splashed all over the media.
Prager called ABC News executives “slimy” and compared the entity to the National Enquirer, only the latter is more honest about its agenda.
Moments later, Rush Limbaugh similarly weighed in.
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“We were told ABC had been very concerned about the ethical implications of airing their hit piece on a Republican candidate right before an important primary election. I almost wrenched my back laughing at that,” Limbaugh told some 15 million listeners. “If there was any debate at ABC, it was over when would be the best time to do it so as to cause the most harm. That was the only debate.”
Marianne Gingrich, in an interview with anchor Brian Ross, revealed on Nightline that she divorced Newt Gingrich in part over his desire for an open marriage.
Like Prager, Limbaugh suggested that ABC News be subjected to the same sort of scrutiny as the Republican presidential hopeful.
“There’s never been an investigation of, say, Brian Ross, and who he is,” Limbaugh said. “How did he get his grades? Where did he go to school? How did he get out of school? How did he get the job at ABC? Who does he know? How did he whatever? We never get that about journalists, and when you try, ooh, they have a conniption fit.”
After Limbaugh, Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity and his 10 million or so radio listeners that ABC News executives are liberally biased “dumb arses.”
STORY: ABC News Will Air Interview With Newt Gingrich’s Ex-Wife Ahead of South Carolina Primary
“All this does is, Sean, is incentivize conservatives and independents who are so sick of the politics of personal destrucion because it’s played so selectively by the media,” Palin said.
Newt Gingrich’s popularity “is now going to soar even more because we know the game now and we just won’t put up with it,” Palin said. “So, you know, good call, media.”
After that, Hugh Hewitt, another nationally syndicated Salem host, told his listeners that the ABC News interview “smells to high heaven.”
“Marianne Gingrich has been around for years,” he said. “Why did they do it now?”
Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, earned thundering applause during a CNN debate Thursday night by telling the audience he was “appalled” that host John King and CNN began the debate with a “trash” question about his former wife.
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