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GUEST COMMENTARY: What have they done with Ron Paul?

Monday, October 10, 2011 | 4:17 p.m. CDT

You might have heard of Ron Paul. He's a popular Republican candidate for president who just won the Values Voter Summit's straw poll.

He's done well in other polling, too, generally holding onto third place as the frontrunners come and go. And he raised an impressive $8 million in the third quarter of this year.

On the other hand, you might not have heard of Ron Paul. That's because the mainstream corporate media mostly black him out.

No matter how well he might perform in the polls or at fundraising, he's largely a nonperson in the press.

This media blackout is apparently not because of any bizarre social policy beliefs that separate him from the other GOP candidates. The Texas Republican supports legislation that would demean women, African-Americans, Latinos and the poor. He'd also like to slash new holes in our already-frayed social safety net.

The problem seems to lie in his being a libertarian. This branch of the GOP generally opposes wars and big banks and questions the whole theory of the Drug War — so do millions of other Republicans. These Republicans, however, are not those who control the media.

The press makes big bucks from wars and banks and generates countless juicy crime articles from drug arrests, so it's not likely to dote on a candidate like Paul or give his views any ink or air time.

Democrats face the same bias when it's their turn. Remember in 2003 and 2004 when former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean looked like the Democratic Party's frontrunner, having taken the press by surprise?

Nasty media coverage ultimately sank his candidacy. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was ignored by the media right from the start during his 2004 and 2008 presidential bids. Treating the Ohio Democrat like a noncontender made it easier to forget about discussing those nasty wars, the need to prosecute unethical banks or any other fundamental issues.

This same modus operandi applies to the coverage of public protests. Aside from the Occupy Wall Street movement, which recently began to grab headlines, the only ones deemed worthy of regular coverage are those that support low taxes, low spending and other corporate dogma.

Of course the White House itself is no help in getting us information on public actions. In April, after the San Francisco Chronicle posted a video of a rally in support of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning outside an Obama fundraiser, the administration threatened the paper with banishment from the presidential press pool. The move conveyed a chilling "no protest coverage, please" message.

Such self-censorship dominates U.S. media today. Meanwhile, ironically, we are living at a moment of great democratic opportunity, bravely presented to us by WikiLeaks.

Those caches of secret cables provide chapter and verse of American foreign policy treachery. In other lands, one would expect them to stimulate great public unrest.

But in this country, the press either won't touch them or treats the cables like toxic waste.

Just as happens when candidates such as Ron Paul, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich run for president, our media support the elite corporate status quo. No boat-rocking allowed.

Bradley Manning and Julian Assange might well spend the rest of their lives in jail just for blowing that whistle, but don't expect to hear much about that in the mainstream media.

William A. Collins is a former mayor and state representative in Connecticut. He writes a regular column for otherwords.org.


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Comments

Mark Taylor II October 10, 2011 | 5:03 p.m.

Perry tried to force little girls to inject the untested HPV vaccine for campaign contributions. Herman Cain is an ex-Fed Chair, he’ll never eliminate the Fed (and his 9%+9%+9% plan = 27% tax rate as bad as Libs). Mitt equates corporations to people, killing his general election chances. Ron Paul is the only candidate that will end all the wars. Both Republicans and Democrats support endless Wars for Israel, it all started nearly a decade ago under a false flag attack.
9/11 and Israel, here: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookD...

(Report Comment)
James Krewson October 10, 2011 | 7:37 p.m.

Ron Paul will NEVER win the GOP nomination because he is absolutely NUTTY on Foreign Policy. Let Iran have nukes? Seriously? Also he is anti-Israel which makes him unelectable in the GOP. Ron Paul should run as a Democrat and give Obama a challenge in the primary. His ridiculous, clownish foreign policy is very attractive to the loony left.

(Report Comment)
Sara DeVine October 11, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

I have to take issue with one of your comments. Libertarians aren't really known for demeaning people. It's all about equal rights. They just don't give any one group special treatment. It seems these days this alone is enough to equate their ideas to racism, sexism, anti-semitism and general malevolence. But, nothing could be farther from the truth.

(Report Comment)
Andy Kent October 13, 2011 | 2:12 p.m.

I still fail to see how this guy(Ron Paul) is looney. We are all looney for believing all of this war propaganda over the last 10 years AND continuing to believe we can just keep funding wars in the middle east for another 10 years. This type of thinking is killing our country.

The wars are never going to end because there is no clear cut mission. If there was a clear cut mission, like..."kill or capture this guy, or that guy"...maybe we'd have a shot. But basically we're up against thousands and thousands of people, and we're never going to kill or capture all of them.

Paul needs to be elected to put the smack down on stuff like this. It's not in our country's best interests to be at war for years and years.

A lot of the world hates America because we can't seem to get the H out of their back yards. Wake up!!

(Report Comment)

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