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What happened to Ron Paul?

Posted by Kara Miller, Culture Club  August 15, 2011 09:48 AM

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Note how little coverage Ron Paul got this weekend, even though he racked up 27.7% of the vote in Iowa, just shy of Michele Bachmann's 28.6%

From the Sunday political shows to major news websites to the weekend editions of the evening news, Paul was woefully underrepresented.

Bachmann, of course, was ubiquitous, but there seemed to be little demand for Paul, who has certainly given freely of his time in the past (CSPAN has noted that he almost always says yes when asked to appear on their air).

So, why ignore Paul?

Because he doesn't fit the media narrative. He's anti-war and pro-small government, a combination that essentially consigns him to a third party - much like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is socially liberal but fiscally moderate.

Heavily influenced by each other, media outlets have sidelined Paul and embraced Bachmann, though there is little evidence that either have a real chance to win the presidency. This does a disservice to the public and avoids a fantastic story: Paul's ideas have a sizable constituency inside the Republican party, a constituency that may not find a home in November of 2012.

Who, it might be interesting to know, do Paul's supporters plan to vote for, if Paul isn't ultimately on the ballot? And what makes them stand loyally by Paul, despite the fact that his chances at the nomination are slim?

One of the great, unexplored issues of this election cycle may be intra-party discontent - how many Republicans want to bring the troops home, for example? - but, so far, the media has done a poor job of covering this dissension.


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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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