Sure, Newt Gingrich has been a center of media attention before, but a lot has changed since he was in office in the 1990s. And part of Gingrich’s problem is that he’s unused to modern media.
Back in the 1990s, though, one off-the-cuff exchange with a single voter or reporter would not likely come back to haunt him, unless it was on video, and that was pretty rare. Reporters didn’t have digital tape recorders or flip cams back then. A month later, Gingrich could’ve claimed he’d been misquoted or the reporter had heard him wrong. The cable nets weren’t going to run with a reporter’s chicken scrawl as proof.
The truth is, we’re living in a post-”Macaca” world, as former Senator George Allen learned the hard way. Most candidates are followed around by interns hired by the opposition to video tape their every move. As candidate Barack Obama found out, not even closed fundraisers are sacrosanct as partisan bloggers can be guests as well.