CBS on the “Group of Weirdos” Who Ran the GOP House

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


When liberals complain about the conservative bias of the media, they often invoke clichés such as “serving corporate ownership” or “putting profit ahead of truth.” And while there are elements of truth to the clichés, a much bigger factor in journalists’ deference to power is civility. As CBSNews.com’s editorial director, Dick Meyer, put it in this decidedly impolite column, “the media didn’t call a duck a duck, because that’s not something we’re supposed to do.”

The “duck” in this case is the “group of weirdos” who ran the House of Representatives for the past 12 years. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meyer roasts a few ducks of his own: Newt Gingrich is called out for having “lived out a very special hypocrisy” which he did with “epic sanctimony.” And Dan Burton, Robert Livingston, Henry Hyde, and Dennis Hastert all get served with a side of good riddance. Here is Meyer’s surprisingly candid appraisal of the architects of the Contract With America:

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.

Meyer begins his column with an apology: “This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the “Contract with America” Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.”

That’s okay, Dick. Others did write those stories. Your complimentary copies of impolite and unapologetic Mother Jones issues from a decade ago are on their way.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate