I know everyone is tired of hearing it. I myself am extremely tired of complaining about it, but its persistence and arrogance makes it impossible to ignore. Does the media, in all shapes and sizes, have to be so bold in its utter denial of Ron Paul’s existence? His numbers are undeniable, but that has not stopped most mainstream news outlets from doing just that. What Jon Stewart aptly called the “13th floor” treatment of the field’s most grassroots candidate has not changed in the last 2 months. His candidacy and accomplishments are either completely ignored or condescendingly mocked as “unelectable” or too “fringe.” Call it what you wish, but there are strong numbers popping up everywhere except these 24 hour news factories that by statistical definition make his position anything but such alienating labels.
Straw poll after straw poll has placed him in either the lead or marginally behind, but little details like that seem to be known to only us supporters. Back in August, the Ames straw poll circus showed Ron Paul in a statistically insignificant second place. While the importance and track record of that poll are seriously questionable, the fact that he pretty much won a poll that the media desperately hypes anyway should have been newsworthy. With the exception of the Daily Show and some insignificant bloggers like us, this was largely ignored. The only press it generated was mention about its non press. I guess the “any press is good press” maxim may apply to this case, but it’s absolutely absurd that this was the only light shed on this early Paul victory.
What should have been an even louder declaration of Paul’s campaign success and popularity this Saturday met the same hushed response as usual by our pundit pals. Ron Paul placed first in an Illinois straw poll with quite a significant lead at 52% of the total votes. Funny man Herman Cain came in at a not even close, second place with 18% and everyone’s favorite front runner Mitt Romney came in third with 14%. That is a large, noteworthy lead, but the first place I heard about it Saturday was this blog. While I know our readership is growing, it has yet to reach a number that justifies it as being the first place I would get this news. Slowly some major news veins came up to speed and tacitly reported this little event with a few one paragraph blurbs between Herman Cain’s various scandals and Penn State’s juicy controversy. A majority of these blurbs, however, felt the need to emphasize Romney’s winning the in-person vote total as reaffirmation of Ron Paul’s victory as somehow insignificant.
This online voting excuse has been repeatedly used throughout the election season by the mainstream media to explain away Ron Paul’s polling success. In New Hampshire polling where Paul is consistently placing third, pollsters were complaining that he shouldn’t be because his supporter’s organization gave him an unfair advantage. So being well organized is a negative when campaigning? Does it not matter when it comes to actually voting? They even went as far as to give adjusted poll numbers for one poll based on the HYPOTHETICAL situation that 600 Ron Paul supporters missed a bus. Sadly this is not a joke. Bill O’Reilly echoed this sentiment yesterday in his self indulgent, presidential forum. When Ron Paul dominated its online poll with a landslide victory, O’Reilly “disqualified” him on the basis that supporters were “slamming the poll.” As far as I can tell this “slamming” means alerting other Paul supporters to vote in the poll. In a real election you cannot just explain away votes, you cannot take away the votes because voters took a bus to get there, and you certainly cannot remove a vote because the voter was motivated by someone else with a similar interest. In a real election this is exactly how a candidate wins.
So what’s behind this seemingly coordinated effort to ignore, alienate or explain away Paul’s run for President? Is it special interest agendas being pushed through media puppets? Is it ratings? Honest ignorance? I’d venture to say all of the above and probably a little more. We all deserve some blame as well; we just LOVE these sexy stories du jour. Whatever the reason, Ron Paul’s 13th floor treatment persists. Tomorrow night’s 400th GOP debate of the season will probably further testify to this as the last 399 did. Paul has consistently held third place in most polls, but just as consistently 7th or 8th place in floor time for every debate. He is thrown controversial questions that require lengthy answers and given only 20 minutes a contest to do so. I am thankful we have Marc Clair to sort through the slogan filling hours in his entertaining debate recaps, but its time these debates include some time for Dr. Paul without the help of our favorite contributor.
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