President Donald Trump's use of Twitter to circumvent the so-called 'media filter' has become a defining feature of his presidency, but before there was social media, there was another Republican leader, who took advantage of a new communications tool to send his message directly to the American electorate.
The story of Newt Gingrich and his efforts to lead Republicans to one of the most dramatic political victories in American history is a focus of the Fox Nation docu-series, "Inside the Contract with America."
"I came to Capitol Hill in January of 1979. That March, the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network known at C-SPAN set up it's first cameras to broadcast from the floor of the House of Representatives. It's also when Bob Walker and I really joined forces," Gingrich told Fox Nation.
When Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich met Rep. Bob Walker R-Penn., Democrats had already been in control of the House of Representatives for decades. Gingrich and Walker came together to articulate a different way forward for the country. Central to that purpose was winning back a majority in the House, a feat that they helped achieve nearly 25 years ago in November 1994. The '94 midterm election culminated in a turnover of political power that became known as the Republican Revolution.
"We didn't really know each other until we got to Congress... So, beginning in 1979 he began to view me as one of the activists in the Congress and we began to do some things together. We worked on a vision of the future that encompassed a far more activist Republican majority," said Walker.
Gingrich and Walker recognized that they could use the rules of the House to deliver speeches on the House floor. Their audience was not fellow members in the chamber. Their target audience was Americans watching at home. In fact, these speeches were often delivered to nearly empty chambers, as other Congressmen were not in attendence.
"There's a very powerful force-multiplier to be able to go to the floor, give a speech, know that there are a number of key people watching and all of that building a sense of prestige and a momentum," recalled Gingrich.
Former Chief of Staff for Gingrich, Dan Meyer told Fox Nation, "Newt was ahead of his time I think in many ways. He recognized the value of reaching around the media. They took advantage of the 'special order' process where it allowed them to speak to the country -- how they felt about these issues or how they felt about how the Democrats where approaching these issues."
Eventually, Gingrich's political opponents came to realize the power of these floor speeches. Then-House Speaker Tip O'Neill D-Mass., ordered the C-SPAN cameras to pan away from the podium and show the empty chamber. Republican leadership had not been informed of the order ahead of time and they objected to the move, setting off a dramatic series of events that lead to Speaker O'Neill directly rebuking Gingrich.
He did not know it all the time, but O'Neill had violated a rule of the House that forbids personal criticism of another member. His words were officially striken from the record - the first-time that had happened to a House speaker since 1798.
Fox Nation programs are viewable on-demand and from your mobile device app, but only for Fox Nation subscribers. Go to Fox Nation to start a free trial and watch the extensive library from Tomi Lahren, Pete Hegseth, Abby Hornacek, Laura Ingraham, Ainsley Earhardt, Greg Gutfeld, Judge Andrew Napolitano and many more of your favorite Fox News personalities.