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Ron Paul Strikes Back

Posted by Kara Miller, Culture Club  August 16, 2011 01:12 PM

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Yesterday, when I suggested here that the media has done an inadequate job covering Ron Paul's candidacy - given that Paul nearly tied Michele Bachmann in the Iowa Straw Poll, 28.6% to 27.7% - I never could have anticipated what followed.

By afternoon, thousands of readers had shared my post or put it up on their Facebook pages (today, that number swelled to more than 18,000). And last night, Jon Stewart - whose politics, I suspect, also differ considerably from those of Ron Paul - noted that media outlets blatantly ignore the candidate, no matter how impressive his support.

"This pretending Ron Paul doesn't exist - for some reason - has been going on for weeks," Stewart said, pointing to both Fox News and CNN clips in which anchors revealed disdain for Paul and his supporters.

In a particularly embarassing exchange, CNN anchor Drew Griffin chuckled to a correspondent in Iowa: "If you get video of Sarah Palin or get a soundbite from her, bring that back to us. You can hold the Ron Paul stuff."

But why? Isn't the media's job to tell the story? And if there's a candidate who racked up significant delegate counts during the last election, a candidate who has raised tremendous amounts of money from individuals (including those in the military, who - during much of the lead-up to 2008 - donated more money to Paul than they did to either McCain or Obama), that candidate merits coverage.

But somehow Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin have garnered far more television facetime, largely because their views align with those of establishment Republicans.

Curiously, that makes Paul an even better story. Why are there so many in the Republican party who support a candidate that is anti-war, pro-gun, and tolerant of gay marriage (because he argues it's a states' rights issue)?

Why have so many in the military donated to Paul? And what would happen if his message got more press? Could he have wider appeal - posing a real threat to Romney, Perry, or Bachmann?

Given the media's near-blackout, we may never know.

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About the author

Kara Miller is an Assistant Professor of English, specializing in journalism, at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She also serves as a guest panelist on WGBH-TV's “Beat the Press” and contributes to 89.7 FM WGBH (NPR). More »

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