(Photo: Reuters / Sean Gardner)
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his supporters have been criticizing the media for the lack of attention to his campaign in the GOP presidential primary. Paul finished a close second behind Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) but has not received nearly as much media attention as Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
“I get no respect, no respect,” comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to quip. Ron Paul could use the same line these days when his media coverage is compared to his performance in the GOP presidential race thus far.
In Saturday's straw poll in Iowa, Bachmann received 4,823 votes and Paul received 4,671 votes, only a 152-vote difference. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third with 2,293 votes, and withdrew from the race the next day.
The day after the straw poll, Bachmann appeared on five separate morning talk shows. Paul had no invitations. Fox News Sunday had promised Paul an interview, but backed out, Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign manager, told Politico.
Benton also said Meet the Press had agreed to interview Paul if he did well in the poll, but after the results were in, he was told that the show had been set.
The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on Monday about the GOP race, but focused on Bachmann and Perry. It contained one line about Paul, in parentheses:
“Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.”
Comedian Jon Stewart joked about Paul's lack of media coverage in Monday's “The Daily Show.” “How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?” Stewart quipped, “He is Tea Party patient zero. All of that small government, grassroots business-he planted that grass.”
On Tuesday, Paul was interviewed by Fox News to talk about the lack of coverage. “Is the media ignoring you?” Fox News Host Megan Kelley asked.
“Sure, yeah, they are. We need to ask them why. I mean, what are they afraid of? We're doing well. We're in the top tier. We did well in Iowa. We have a good organization. We're raising money,” Paul said.
Paul then suggested that the reason he gets so little coverage is that the media does not want to provide coverage of his political views.
“I think they are frightened by us challenging the status-quo and the establishment when it comes to foreign-policy, monetary-policy, the entitlement system, because my views are quite different than the other candidates,” Paul said.
Some of Paul's views are, indeed, quite different from the other candidates. Paul would withdraw all military forces from the Middle East and would not use sanctions to discourage Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Also, on monetary policy, he would prefer to see the Federal Reserve abolished and a return to the gold standard.
Paul argues that Americans are coming around to his way of thinking and the media is out of step.
“Grassroots America is starting to wake up,” Paul said, “millions of people are reading about the federal reserve, and understanding how they bail out their friends, trillions of dollars, a third of all that money in the bailout, given to foreign banks. People are realizing this, even though the media, generally speaking, they don't understand it, they don't ask me the right questions, and if they do understand it, they don't want to get the secret out of how the system we have protects the special interests, the big corporations, and the corporatism that runs our society.”
Some in the media have argued that Paul is not given much coverage because he does not have much chance of winning. In some ways, however, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. By limiting Paul's exposure in the media, he has little opportunity to expose potential voters to his campaign, and thus, less of a chance to win the nomination.
The most recent national poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports on Monday night shows Paul in fourth place with 9 percent of the vote, behind Perry (29 percent), Romney (18 percent) and Bachmann (13 percent). The poll's margin of error is +/- 3 percent.