Jan
04
2012

Iowans Frustrate Reporters With Their Multiple Opinions

The usual criticisms of the Iowa caucuses–that the votes of a small, demographically unrepresentative slice of America gobble up too much airtime–are basically correct. As David Sirota noted in Salon (1/3/12): The same journalism industry that pleads poverty to justify cutting big city newspapers' editorial staffs, gutting coverage of state legislatures and city councils, and eliminating every other critical topic not related to Washington's red-versus-blue fetish from news content–as writer Joe Romero recounts, this same industry has for months devoted a massive army to cover Iowa's small contest. Just one example of the absurdity: At least one of Rick Santorum's […]

Jan
03
2012

Ron Paul's Nutty Internet Worries

Washington Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson reports today (1/3/12)that Republican candidate Ron Paul really says some weird things out on the campaign trail. His appearances start out normal… And then, for the next 45 minutes or so, he outlines a view of the world so bleak it would make Chicken Little sound like an optimist. Now, to be fair, some of what he says is more than a little troubling. Massive federal budget cuts could cause some people to suffer, he explains, but "they should have to suffer." The piece closes on this note: There is one radical change Paul likes: […]

Dec
22
2011

Ron Paul Has NOT Been Ignored by Media–Except, Well, Yes He Has

"Ron Paul Ignored by the Media? Not So Much" was the headline on a National Journal post yesterday (12/21/11). "The Texan's campaign has raised millions of dollars to combat the alleged media conspiracy that, they claim, is out to destroy the candidate the media fears most," the Journal's Sarah Mimms reported. "There is just one problem: The Ron Paul revolution is being televised." By Mimms' count, "since announcing his campaign on May 13, Paul has made 87 appearances on cable television and Sunday news programs. That's more than any other candidate currently running for president." She stresses that "he has […]

Dec
21
2011

CBS, Panetta and (Hypothetical) Iranian Nukes

The Monday broadcast of CBS Evening News (12/19/11) began with big news, with anchor Scott Pelley announcing: The secretary of Defense says tonight that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. In an interview with CBS News, Leon Panetta says that despite efforts to disrupt their nuclear program, the Iranians have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less. To ratchet up the drama, Pelley told viewers that Panetta was aboard "the jet nicknamed the Doomsday Plane. This is the command post where he and the president would […]

Dec
15
2011

Why WaPo Won't Cover Ron Paul: He Looks Funny, Sounds Funny

The Washington Post's series of candidate profiles continues. Today it's Ron Paul's turn. In Joel Achenbach's main piece (12/15/11), readers learn, in the lead paragraph, that Paul is not the standard presidential candidate–he lacks the factory-built appearance of Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. He's thin, bony, a bantam rooster. Thankfully, the rest of the piece is focused more on substance. But a second article is peculiarly focused on Paul's looks and the sound of his voice–suggesting that this explains why he doesn't get much "attention" (which, when reporters say it, should be taken to mean "media attention," since Paul obviously […]

Aug
29
2011

Ron Paul in the Post–by the Numbers

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton dedicated his column this weekend (8/29/11) to addressing complaints about the skimpy coverage of Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. It's hard to argue with the numbers he's gathered: Still, the Post's coverage of Paul looks thin compared with its stories on Bachmann. In the past six months, the Post has published online or in print 34 staff-written stories plus 12 wire service stories on Bachmann, who has served not even five years in the House, and that doesn't count the blog posts about her on the Fix or Glenn Kessler's Fact Checker pieces. The Post […]

Aug
26
2011

Ron Paul Top Tier Shakeup!

There is little reason to care about what the polls say right now about who's leading in the Republican presidential nomination. But the media obviously think otherwise, hence this headline in the Washington Post yesterday (8/25/11): Romney Loses GOP Front-Runner Status The "news" is that Rick Perry is leading in a new Gallup Poll. But read a little further: The survey showed Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) at 13 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) slipping to 10 percent. No other candidate registered in the double digits. So this means Paul's in the "top tier" now, right? This is a good […]

Aug
16
2011

If Bachmann Is Gasping for Media Oxygen, What Do You Say About Ron Paul?

One of the strangest comments post- Iowa straw poll came from reporter Kelly O'Donnell on NBC Nightly News (8/14/11): Both Pawlenty's exit and Perry's launch consumed political oxygen that typically would have gone to the straw poll's actual winner, Congresswoman Bachmann, who appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows, including Meet the Press. I'm having trouble imagining how someone could put those two thoughts together. Bachmann was merely on five national TV shows Sunday morning. That's being overshadowed? If that's oxygen deprivation, one has to wonder what you'd call the media treatment of Ron Paul, who finished one percentage […]

Aug
15
2011

Weeding the Field: Press Declares "Top Tier" GOP Candidates

As we've said plenty of times before, one of the main jobs of campaign journalists is winnowing the field of candidates– which must come as a relief to voters who don't want to have more of a say in the process. Before the results of the Iowa straw poll rolled in this weekend, there were pieces about whether anyone should pay attention to the event in the first place. Most reporters are willing to admit that paying so much attention to an elaborate popularity contest where the candidates pay voters to participate is a little odd. The lesson for readers […]

Jun
07
2011

Ron Paul Gets Covered in the New York Times

In the New York Times corrections box (6/7/11): An article on Monday about Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, omitted the name of one of the other declared candidates, who number six, not five. Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, is also running. One of the main tasks the media perform in a campaign is excluding the candidates they deem unworthy of consideration. The Times is off to an early start.

Apr
27
2011

When NYT Talks About Ron Paul's 'Foil'–Do They Mean Tin Foil?

The New York Times's Michael Shear (4/27/11) has this odd reference to Ron Paul's presidential campaign: Surveys suggest that Mr. Paul's support remains low. In most recent polls, Mr. Paul receives just over 5 percent of the support from potential Republican voters. That is similar to the level of support he received in contests four years ago, when he served mostly as a foil for discussion during the debates. It's not clear what Shear's criteria for "low" polling is–according to Real Clear Politics, Paul averages 6 percent in recent polls, within three or four points of Sarah Palin and Newt […]

Apr
26
2011

Ron Paul Is Not a 'Serious' Candidate–Unlike Donald Trump

The first role of the corporate press in an election cycle is to weed out candidates who they deem nonviable. This usually means choosing not to cover candidates whose ideas that fall outside the Beltway conventional wisdom (e.g., Dennis Kucinich), or those who reporters decide have no real chance of winning the nomination. The speculation that reality TV star/mogulDonald Trump might run in 2012 flips the narrative around–and demonstrates the fact that the media can change the "rules" whenever they want. Trump is extremely unlikely to actually run, and his "ideas" mostly revolve around a long-debunked conspiracy theory that Barack […]