Reporting Jason DeRusha
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Before the Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, there was no media love for Ron Paul. After he nearly won the thing, there was still no love. Why are reporters ignoring Ron Paul’s presidential campaign?
According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, in the two days after the Straw Poll, the national news networks and cable channels mentioned Ron Paul just 29 times. That compares to Rick Perry with 371 mentions and Michele Bachmann with 274.
The snubbing sent Comedy Central host of “The Daily Show” John Stewart into a comic rage.
“Even when the media does remember Ron Paul it’s to assure themselves there’s no need to remember Ron Paul,” he said.
Paul only received 152 fewer votes than Michele Bachmann in the straw poll, so why the snub?
“One of the reasons is he ran before,” said Blois Olson, Tunheim Partners vice president and author of “Morning Take,” a daily political newsletter Olson airs on WCCO. “I think the media has a lot of power on framing who is the top tier,” he said.
And according to Olson, Ron Paul has a track record of not being top tier. He lost as a Libertarian candidate for President in 1998, and lost as a Republican in 2008.
Part of the news media’s role is to cut through the huge number of candidates and focus on the major ones, the top tier.
“That’s why the news is still valuable. What’s news? Is a candidate making news? Has Ron Paul made news or is he saying the same things he said four years ago?” asked Olson.
Mitt Romney lost in 2008 also, but he’s not calling for the end of the income tax, Federal Reserve, a return to the gold standard and an end to our wars.
Paul is also a victim of timing. The main narrative of the Straw Poll was “woman upsetting Governor of her state to win,” said Olson. Then former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race. Also Gov. Rick Perry jumped in.
“At Tunheim we say timing is everything, and Ron Paul didn’t have timing on his side,” said Olson.
And when Ron Paul finally got on Fox News Channel to talk about being ignored, he was interviewed via Skype using a webcam. It’s hard to imagine another major candidate for President doing a live interview on Fox News via a webcam.
“It’s up to the candidate to elevate themselves to the level in which a media is going to send out that satellite truck. And most Republican activists and the media feel he hasn’t done that yet,” said Olson.