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August 22nd, 2011
Why the Media Is Ignoring Ron Paul

Pew Research has crunched the numbers, and it turns out the media's giving less love to Ron Paul than to fellow presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

"...a PEJ analysis of campaign coverage this year indicates he is the 10th leading election newsmaker- trailing far behind non-candidates Donald Trump and Sarah Palin and as well as floundering Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich."

Pundits have offered various explanations for the blackout. Natch, most of those pundits are Ron Paul supporters, so they write things like:

The TV talking heads are not prejudiced against Paul.
They are not-so-bright people marketing their shows to even stupider people.
Thus they look for topics and people easily understood.
Attractive but empty-headed types such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are a TV news producer's dream.
Someone who is not eye candy and whose views would require reflection is not what they're looking for.
Paul's views require reflection. So no coverage.

As for the print reporters, they are pack animals, as are their editors. They follow the TV reporters.

That was Paul Mulshine, at NJ.com. At the Chicago Tribune, John Kass rolls out a theory in which:

...the media is merely trying to provide us with loving protection from Paul and those challenging libertarian ideals:

Such as the view we shouldn't be eager to be groped in airports or to fund another war in the Middle East, or that we should legalize drugs rather than fight the drug wars, or the wild idea that a coffee shop waitress should not be expected to pay taxes on her tips.

The TV people are happy to do the work for you, and tell you what notions are fit for public debate. Thinking for yourself is really, really hard, and it's just easier to watch TV and listen to discussions about Bachmann's hair.

Ron Paul, like the other Republican front-runners, has deeply held convictions that most would consider extreme. (The probable exception is Mitt Romney, whose deeply-held convictions, if he's got any, are unknowable.) Difference is, the extreme convictions of the other candidates are easy to talk about. Everybody's got an opinion on Young Earth creationism, 'cuz it's occurred to everybody over the age of four that there's an Earth and it must have come from somewhere. A reporter can file a story from that particular front in the culture war and not have to expend thousands of words on dense exposition.

Even most politically aware citizens are ignorant of the issues at hand, and mass media has no mechanism for informing us.

Journalists know they can't make Paul's pet causes intelligible; that the most they can do is portray Ron Paul as an extremely popular person with a few weird ideas. So they ignore him, or dismiss him as a fringe candidate. Which he might be, even if most of us don't know enough about diplomacy, monetary policy, or the vagaries of the education system to tell.




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