Today from Politico’s Arena: Presidential candidate Ron Paul finished only 152 votes behind winner Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll, yet he’s received almost no credit for it in media reports. http://politi.co/ottdCB
With the exception of two newspapers, most major newspaper headlines didn’t mention Paul’s name in their initial reports and by Monday, his name had disappeared from the prevailing narrative of the Republican primary race. Paul’s campaign blames the lack of coverage on media bias – a call Paul supporters have echoed by flooding the inboxes of mainstream journalists writing about the campaign. But some reporters have said the lack of coverage reflects Paul’s slim chances of becoming the Republican nominee.
Has the media been unfair to Ron Paul’s campaign? And is it right for the media to assume who will or will not be the Republican nominee?
Michael Benjamin responds:
There is no doubt in my mind, in terms of setting a compelling narrative, that the media picks winners and losers. The very fact that some reporters have admitted the lack of coverage reflects Paul’s slim chances of becoming the Republican nominee confirms the media’s bias. Rep. Paul’s chances of winning the nomination are about the same as Rep. Bachmann’s since the Ames Straw Poll is only a kissing contest.A 68 year old libertarian free thinker such as Ron Paul does not make compelling copy. Ron Paul suffers from actually knowing what he is talking about and having logical supporting arguments. I’m sure if his son, Senator Rand Paul
had come within 152 votes of Bachmann, the media would have spoken of a wounded Bachmann with Sen. Paul and Gov. Perry nipping at her heels.Congressman Paul eschews the celebrity of being a Member of Congress and a candidate for president. He is not rhetorical bomb thrower. He is “honestly” running for the Republican nomination based on his core beliefs. His advocacy of returning to gold standard, avoiding foreign entanglements, limiting the federal government and respecting freedom of choice are as old as the Republic. In failing to give the Paul campaign equal coverage, the media are influencing the public.With a field of eight or nine candidates, the public looks for a filter to help narrow their choices. That filter should be their family, neighbors and their own research, not the national news media. The national media should explain that the nature of story telling and limited resources forces them to pick winners and losers. But the media should be anxious to tell the public how Texas produced both Ron Paul and Rick Perry
, two wholly different political archetypes. (Read more here