So how does the Establishment deal with a Ron Paul candidacy? What else did you expect? By ignoring him as much as possible.
The Reuters headline following the May 3 GOP debate: "2008 Republicans back war."
All right, you say, perhaps that’s just a crude summary. A headline can’t say everything, after all, and the article itself will surely disambiguate the candidates. It’s certainly newsworthy that a nine-term Republican congressman had been a fierce opponent of the war from the beginning, and made his antiwar position clear time and again during the debate. Naturally this will get some play.
But not even a hint of that in the Reuters article by John Whitesides. I mean, hey, didn’t you read the headline? The 2008 Republicans back war!
Here’s the entire coverage of Ron Paul: "Also participating were Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Reps. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Ron Paul of Texas, and Duncan Hunter of California."
Well, that’s just a smash-up job there, Mr. Whitesides.
That wasn’t an isolated case. On the Liberty and Power blog, David Beito reports: "Later that night, CNN’s post-debate spin segment sank to an even greater low. The panel included Arianna Huffington and some neo-con guy from The Weekly Standard. Nobody mentioned Paul’s views. The ever-insufferable Huffington, who either did not watch the debate or lied about what she saw, self-righteously proclaimed that all of the ten candidates supported the war. Nobody challenged her. Are we to be spared nothing?"
The creepy Dick Morris is in a category all his own. First, he declared John McCain the winner. Now anyone who watched the debate had to be wondering if McCain’s, well, weirdness was meant for laughs. At the same time, you almost had to admire how he could be at once stilted and robotic, and yet also crazed and menacing.
But back to our subject: Morris ignored Paul altogether. Now he managed to find time to mention Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson — heck, he mentioned every other candidate besides Ron Paul, even listing specific winners and losers. Since a candidate like Ron Paul isn’t allowed to exist in Dick Morris’ world, he apparently couldn’t win or lose.
Now we have the phenomenon of Yahoo News inexplicably excluding Ron Paul from its list of GOP candidates. Yet right there are Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter, whose combined support in the polls trails Ron Paul’s.
Stunned, I actually called Yahoo and left a voicemail message for their chief communications officer, and included my email address. In their emailed reply, I was told: "According to the latest FEC filings, it is our understanding that Congressman Paul has not officially entered the 2008 Presidential race, but has only gotten to the stage of forming an exploratory committee."
Huh? Unannounced candidates are allowed into the debates? Can’t possibly be true, I thought. So I simply went to the Federal Election Commission website, and after three seconds of searching I found Ron Paul’s filing statement, dated March 12. (That’s funny: I was told Yahoo had consulted "the latest FEC filings.") Well, here are Ron Paul’s documents right here.
To Yahoo’s credit, after I sent them this documentation I was told that they would have a page for Ron Paul up within a week.
But apparently it’s going to take persistence and vigilance to ensure that Paul is treated fairly. As of yesterday, for example, ABC News began deleting and banning posts about Ron Paul, as well as posts complaining about this deletion policy. See this article.
Since that post was written, ABC has begun blocking all comments about Ron Paul.
The same media establishment that bought the Iraq propaganda package and then claimed to be oh-so-sorry is now trying to keep out of the limelight the one presidential contender who has actually bucked the establishment and does something other than parrot government/media slogans. But that’s what the mainstream media’s purpose is: to define the nature of our political debate and make sure no fundamental questions are ever raised.
No, I don’t mean that the heads of these organizations held a special meeting and after exchanging the secret handshake pledged to keep mum about Paul. My point is that no such meeting is necessary. As shills for the establishment, they think alike on everything that matters. While marginal debate is to be permitted here and there, truly independent voices are to be demonized, drowned out, or, better yet, ignored altogether. (Ask Amy Goodman of the left’s Democracy Now! program why she doesn’t close up shop and just let ABC and Fox give us our news.) The media establishment likes the status quo just the way it is.
This is all the more reason for people interested in Ron Paul to talk about him, write about him, and light up the Internet about him. (I wrote this piece as a quick intro to Paul so people could quickly and easily show their friends what made him so unusual and admirable.) Not only will you serve the cause of genuine political debate in this country — if we wind up with Rudy and Hillary, what on earth will they have to debate about? — but you’ll also tick off the race of clones who give us only the news they think we need. That’s reward enough, isn’t it?
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [view his website; send him mail] is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His books include How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (get a free chapter here), The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (first-place winner in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards), and the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.