Yesterday, while being interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC, Barney Frank decided to take a few snarky shots at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Watch the MSNBC interview:
Frank's comments might not come as a big surprise, however, as there may be two reasons for the attack:
First, as several commentators have pointed out, since the beginning of the GOP presidential candidate race, it has been a popular trend of GOP opponents to scrutinize en masse whoever is leading in the polls or generating excitement among conservatives.
Because Gingrich appears to be what many have referred to as the GOP "flavor of the week," with ABC News writing "If August belonged to Bachmann, then September was Perry’s, October Cain’s, and now November is Gingrich’s moment in the sun," he will therefore have all of the media's attention turned on him.
And this seems to be the standard operating procedure.
Many would argue that almost every GOP presidential candidate that has managed to gain traction has been flooded with negative news stories, accusations, and criticisms that seem to last as long as it takes for their numbers to fall.
However, there are two glaring exceptions to the rule.
First, there is Mitt Romney. He has regularly done well in the polls and the media has declared him the “winner” in almost every GOP debate. Yet somehow, he has managed to go relatively unscathed by the mainstream media. Even after saying "corporations are people," there was no media feeding frenzy.
The second exception is Ron Paul.
Despite his supportive and excited base, his fundraising capabilities, and his strong polling numbers, the media has decided to ignore him completely. In fact, in the last GOP debate hosted by CBS, he was allowed a paltry 89 seconds to speak.
But aside from Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, it would appear that the mainstream media has a standard operating procedure: thoroughly vet, dissect, and scrutinize whoever seems to be rising in the GOP and wait for their numbers to slip.
Here are some examples:
When Bachmann was doing well in the polls in August, the media suddenly turned their attention on her. She was declared "the queen of rage" and Newsweek featured her in a none-too-flattering cover story. However, once her poll numbers started to fall, the media quickly grew tired of her and moved on.
Rick Perry took over in September and he became the next big story. After making a strong showing in the polls, he was greeted with a deluge of what some have described as poorly researched hit pieces that accused him of being a racist:
Mixed with his personal gaffes, the onset of negative press probably helped cause Perry's numbers to slip.
Next up, former Godfather's pizza CEO Herman Cain surged in the polls. He was then met with a barrage of negative media attention stemming from multiple unverified and questionable allegations of sexual misconduct.
Although his fundraising and poll numbers were strong during the height of the sexual allegations, he has seen a slight dip in support since.
Enter Newt Gingrich.
Now that the Former Speaker of the House is in the spotlight, after several strong debate performances, he will continue to get what conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh refers to as an "anal exam" by the media.
This could be one of the reasons Barney Frank decided jump on board the "Let's-Blast-Newt" train. Gingrich is the latest "big thing" and the attention won't subside until his polling numbers dip.
However, there is another reason why Frank might be interested in going after Gingrich: "Payback."
Recall what the Former Speaker said about both Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd regarding their involvement in the financial crisis:
Needless to say, this might have upset Frank a little bit.
[Editor's note: Critics might find it odd that a senator involved with a male prostitute would think that he has any room to mock another man for remarrying.]