GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich (Getty Images)

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow writes that Newt Gingrich is surging in popularity in the South because he appeals to their silent prejudices, including long-simmering issues with an "elite" media bias, minority "privilege" and Obama's "otherness."

… In steps Gingrich, with more baggage than Prince Akeem in “Coming to America.” But many Republicans are willing to forgive his flaws and his past because he connects with a silent slice of their core convictions — their deep-seated, long-simmering issues with an “elite” media bias, minority “privilege” and Obama’s “otherness.”

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Romney dares not go there. Not Newt. He’s the street fighter with a history of poisonous politics who not only goes there but dwells there. He makes his nest among the thorns of open animus and coded language.

Take the issue of media bias for instance: according to a September Pew Research Center poll, more than three-quarters of Republicans said that news organizations are politically biased. That was appreciably higher than both independents and Democrats. And that same month a Gallup poll found that three-quarters of Republicans believe that the news media are too liberal. This, too, was appreciably higher than independents and Democrats.

Gingrich is using this distrust as a weapon. At a campaign stop this week, a man in the audience asked, “What I’ve been looking for in my candidate is fire in the belly. We’ve got to bloody Obama’s nose. You mentioned challenging him to seven three-hour debates. He has this armor of media surrounding him. If he doesn’t agree to that, how do you plan to aggressively take the gloves off and go after him?”

Gingrich responded, “I don’t want to bloody his nose. I want to knock him out…

Read Charles M. Blow's entire column at the New York Times.