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Mainstream media's blackout on Ron Paul

Published time: August 16, 2011 17:10
Edited time: August 17, 2011 00:40

Ron Paul (Scott Olson / Getty Images / AFP)

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Suppressed; shafted; screwed. Those are just a scattering of the words being tied with GOP candidate Ron Paul following Saturday’s Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, despite the congressman’s second-place finish.

It’s not a matter of falling short of first place by barely 150 votes, however. Despite placing second among all of the Republicans vying for the GOP nomination, the mainstream media has neglected to notice that Congressman Paul came only a fraction of a percentage below Michele Bachmann over the weekend. Instead, the top news outlets are focusing on what they are calling a “top tier” of candidates.

Those “top tier” candidates being praised by the mainstream, however, took a backseat to Paul’s second place win over the weekend. During the Ames Straw Poll, Congressman Paul fell short of Bachmann’s first place victory by a mere 152 votes, statistically placing him in a tie with the Minnesota congresswoman.

Notwithstanding a strong finish in Ames, pundits on Meet the Press, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday all emphasized that the race for the Republican vote will come down to the “top tier” of three contenders: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Bachmann.

“How did libertarian Ron Paul become the thirteenth floor in a hotel?” asked Daily Show’s Jon Stewart during Monday night’s broadcast. A columnist for the DC-based paper Politico went as far as to call the 12-term congressman “media poison.”

But why?

Speaking on Fox News over the weekend, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer declared bluntly, “Ron Paul is not going to be president of the United States.”

“We’re not a libertarian country. It’s a very important strain of conservative thought but it’s not the dominant one,” added Krauthammer.

In the Wall Street Journal, an editorial in recent days downplayed Paul’s second-place placement by only acknowledging his almost-victory but placing his name within parenthetical notation:

“(Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.)”

And while the mainstream contends to emphasize the other candidates — with focus even being paid to those, like Sarah Palin, who haven’t officially entered the race — Congressman Paul continues to hold strong. His second-place finish in Ames came only days after he came in first in an online straw poll of the same candidates.

It would seem as if Congressman Paul has received more notoriety this week for the mainstream media’s lack of coverage than he has so far over his actual campaign issues. With a country of voters angry with America’s ongoing wars, Paul’s urging to grossly de-fund the US military industrial complex appears to be a campaign issue that most of the country would be all too welcoming of. Unfortunately, however, the mainstream media seems more interested in that top tier that, although placing behind Paul in polls, is offering Republicans a point-of-view more consistent the right-wing’s reputation for dominating the world in defense spending.

"Why doesn't Paul get the attention he seems to deserve?” asked Washington Examiner’s Timothy P Carney recently. “Mostly because the mainstream media and the Republican establishment wish he would just go away.”

"One reason the bipartisan establishment finds Paul so obnoxious is how much the past four years have proven him correct — on the housing bubble, on the economy, on our foreign misadventures and on our national debt,” writes Carney. He goes on to note that Paul was skeptical of President George W Bush’s claims that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda back in 2002, but that "neither the mainstream media nor the GOP leadership wanted to hear this at the time.”

“Again and again,” writes Carney, “Paul has dissented, been laughed at, and been proven correct. That may be one reason he evokes so much scorn in certain corners of the Right."

As Jon Stewart asked, “Isn’t anybody going to give that gentleman a little love?”

Until the mainstream media begins to acknowledge Congressman Paul, the tally is 4,671 Ames voters and counting.

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