Opinion Brief

Why is the media ignoring Ron Paul?

The libertarian presidential candidate nearly beat Michele Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll, but the press barely saw fit to mention it

In Saturday's Iowa straw poll, libertarian GOP candidate Ron Paul nearly emerged victorious, coming within less than one percentage point of the winner, Michele Bachmann. Of course, you'd hardly know it given the media's reporting, which focused on Bachmann's rise and Tim Pawlenty's disappointing third-place finish. The Daily Show even devoted a segment to the near press black-out on Monday night, with Jon Stewart asking "How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?" (Watch a clip here.) Why is the media ignoring Paul?

He's not getting ignored — he just didn't have much at stake in Iowa: "The political world already knows that Paul has an army of unusually loyal and dedicated supporters who are willing to show up in large numbers at events like the straw poll... producing impressive-seeming vote totals for their candidate," says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Paul didn't get shafted by the media in Iowa; it is just that "unlike Bachmann and Pawlenty, he didn't really have much to prove."
"No, Ron Paul is not getting screwed"

And he doesn't have a shot at the nomination: Let's face it: Paul is not a plausible contender for the Republican nomination, and "those who are covering the campaign don't feel obliged to pretend otherwise," says Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune. Some may argue that this is a chicken and egg scenario, that if Paul were to get more attention, he would be a real contender. But the fact of the matter is "he's too far out of the political/ideological mainstream to be elected, no matter how much attention he gets."
"Change of subject"

Forces conspire against him: Paul deserves more attention and doesn't get it because "the mainstream media and the Republican establishment wish he would just go away," says Timothy P. Carney in The Washington Examiner. The "bipartisan establishment" doesn't like him because he has been prescient on a number of issues from the economy to the national debt, from the housing bubble to Afghanistan. It's highly unlikely that Paul will win the Republican presidential nomination, but the frontrunners would be wise to embrace some of his ideas.
"Will no one rid the GOP of this troublesome congressman?"

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