What should a media outlet do if it has a bombshell news story on a candidate for president of the United States?  Should it run the story?  Should it wait until an “appropriate” time… say, perhaps after a major primary election?  If a media outlet does “sit” on the bombshell news, is it even news or are they deciding the outcome by not running it?  These are the questions to consider as ABC News ponders when to run an interview of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife… an interview that is said to be “explosive.”

According to the Drudge Report, ABC News correspondent Brian Ross had a two-hour interview with  Marianne Gingrich in which she “unloaded” on her former husband.  She has said in the past that “she could end her ex-husband’s career with a single interview.”  Is this the interview in which she does it?  Or is it hype?

What Drudge is reporting is that there is now a debate within ABC News as to whether to run the story before the South Carolina GOP primary election.

ABCNEWS suits determined it would be “unethical” to run the Marianne Gingrich interview so close to the South Carolina Primary, a curious decision, one insider argued, since the network has aggressively been reporting on other candidates.

A decision was tentatively made to air the interview next Monday, after all votes have been counted.

Ok, so now we are back to the questions.  If a news outlet has news, isn’t it the job of the outlet to run the news?  Why would there be a need for debate?  It’s not up to a news organization to help pick winners or losers in an election.  If it’s news, go with it.  Which leads to another question.  What if it’s not news?  What if the “news” is just this leak that an interview might be run at some point?  Isn’t that damaging to the candidate as well?

It seems strange that there would be a debate over a news story.  And now, the people of South Carolina will be wondering if there IS a bombshell coming regarding Newt Gingrich.  If there isn’t, then ABC “News” is doing a disservice by leaking the “story.”

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren thinks that the news story should be held:

What I DO know is that we are only 2 days out from the South Carolina primary and there is a high risk from the Drudge Report description of an explosive interview of unfair poisoning of those going to the polls.  There simply is not enough time for a candidate to respond to the explosive report and fairness also includes fairness to the candidate.

This is not to say that news should be suppressed (it should not) but news should also not be used to ambush. Thus…in light of the close time to the South Carolina primary…if I were ABC, I would hold this interview until after the polls close on Saturday (or I would have showed it a week ago.)

I agree that news should not be used to ambush, but the news is already out…. just not the details.  Isn’t that a kind of ambush? After all, Newt Gingrich cannot respond to the charges when he doesn’t know exactly what they are.

It appears from Breitbart.com that ABC News has decided to run the story on Nightline on Friday night.  What timing!  Winners and losers should be determined at the ballot box and not by “stories” that materialize just at the right time.  Let the voters decide.  The media should get out of the “hit piece” business once and for all.

Update: Apparently ABC will run the interview with Marianne Gingrich tonight on Nightline according to the Associated Press.

Update: ABC posts teaser for interview with Marianne Gingrich.

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