Correspondent weighs in on Ron Paul event


Since I couldn’t make it to the Ron Paul event, I asked the correspondent who originally brought it to my attention to tell us about it:

Dear Brad,
    Thanks for the reply. I know it was a busy day,
with Bush and several candidates visiting at the
same time. The Rally was a great success. The West
Columbia Riverwalk amphitheater provided a
charming, intimate setting for Dr Paul to share
his message of peace, prosperity and liberty to
several hundred supporters. Folks came from as far
away as Chattanooga and Atlanta to hear him speak
and have the opportunity to meet him in person.
    I tried to get the campaign to schedule an
interview with your editorial board while he was
in town. Perhaps next visit?  In the meantime, I
hope you will be including him in your series this
week on Republican candidates. I was disappointed
to see no mention today about his historic
fundraising on Monday. At 4.2 million, I believe
it was the largest Republican primary donations in
a 24-hour period ever! Surely that’s more
newsworthy than Obama running a new ad, isn’t it?
    Dr Paul truly is a viable contender, contrary to
what the MSM would like everyone to believe. As a
ten-term congressman, he is extremely
knowledgeable about the destructive issues facing
America. People from all walks like his message
and feel hopeful that we can turn things around
and restore this country to its former greatness
… if they can just hear it. Please allow your
readers to make up their own minds with equal
exposure of all the candidates, not just the
anointed RudyMcRomneyson.


Thanks for the report. Here’s a hint, though: When an editor gives you access to get your message out, you’re probably better off spending your words on that purpose, rather than wasting them complaining.  But the complaints serve a purpose; they give me a setting for correcting several widely-held misconceptions:

  • Here’s an assumption that was not a complaint, but I’ll address it anyway: The Bush visit had no impact on my day. Folks make that mistake a lot — thinking that I have a busy day because of some news event. Those are for the news department to handle. And for that matter, such an event as a presidential visit doesn’t tie down much of their assets, either. But for editorial, the impact is zero. I was busy on Friday because I’m always busy on Fridays — it’s crunch time for production of the next three days’ opinion pages.
  • I have nothing to do with any "series this week on Republican candidates," beyond reading the pieces in the paper just as you do. Again, that’s the newsroom; we’re editorial. McCain fan that I am, if I had anything to do with it, don’t you think the McCain piece would have had a more positive headline than "McCain struggling to win over voters?"
  • Regarding Jackie’s disappointment over lack of coverage of the Paul fund-raising, or belief that it’s more important than an Obama ad — once again, nothing I can do for you, except forward all of your concerns to editors down in our newsroom. And I did that before posting this.
  • "Dr Paul truly is a viable contender, contrary to what the MSM would like everyone to believe…" The more accurate way to phrase that would be, "contrary to what the MSM believe." While I don’t work in news now, I did for 20 years, and I can tell you that I never saw anybody report something in an effort to get people to believe something that the editor doesn’t believe is already true. The concern, for an editor, would be to report the reality, not distort it by giving too much coverage to a nonviable candidate, and too little to a viable one. Bottom line: If Rep. Paul is so popular, he’ll win — so there’s no need to construct elaborate media conspiracy theories.
  • As for the last plea for "equal exposure" — once again, I’ve passed that on.

As for what I do control in my own little bailiwick — I’ll have you note that with this second post, Ron Paul has received more coverage on this blog in the past couple of weeks than any "candidate" other than Steve Colbert. (Or maybe I should say, he’s tied with the Hillary/Obama combo of these two posts.) And Mr. Colbert got the coverage he got for the same reason certain non-news events dominate what we laughingly call "TV news" — I had video of it.

18 thoughts on “Correspondent weighs in on Ron Paul event

  1. Scott

    “The more accurate way to phrase that would be, “contrary to what the MSM believe.” ”
    On the contrary, there are elements of the mainstream media that are doing exactly what Jackie is describing. Take a look at what happened during and after the last FOX News Republican debate. FOX hired Frank Luntz to discredit FOX’s own text message polls which showed Ron Paul to be the winner of the debate according to the television audience. Frank Luntz has stated openly in the past that his job is to manipulate respondents in order to get the answers he (or his employer) wants. There is a nice bit on Frank Luntz by Penn and Teller (find it on YouTube) that exposes this quite well. He is interviewed directly and makes no secret of what it is he does.
    This is one example of many. Let’s not pretend this stuff doesn’t happen.

  2. Adam

    I don’t think your in-the-field “reporter” has much experience reporting the events at which he/she attends. It’s probably not fair to criticize the individual for not being properly educated in the proper ways to conduct a field report.

  3. James Aragon

    Mr. Warthen,
    Your posting is actually very informative and useful. There is one aspect missing though when considering MSM coverage. Name recognition plays a large part in political success, and the campaign would agree that it is there job to get the word out. Yet if you look back to late summer 2006 political coverage, three Republican names were already being discussed as frontrunners for the nomination without any declaration of candidacy: Giuliani, McCain and Romney. Then the early support that Ron Paul was getting was dismissed as basement dwelling internet techno-geeks. The story here (please refer to news editors) is not Ron Paul, but this new campaign paradigm. Many comparisons have been made to Howard Dean, but this is flawed. His campaign was centralized, while Ron Paul meetups, moneybombs, and rabid support is spontaneous and idealogically diverse. Other than possibly Fox News, there is no MSM conspiracy other than the truth that MSM has yet to catch up. This does hurt the campaign, but Ron Paul will still turn heads in 2008.

  4. Juan

    Wow. This is informative. I didn’t really know how a news room works. I am a Ron Paul supporter, and having a perspective from inside the paper helps us to better understand what we need to do to make this a reality. Thanks for your treatment of this, and any follow-ups you have with more information/ideas would be appreciated.

  5. Gabe Harris

    It doesn’t take a conspriacy theory to acknowledge the documented cases of the media intentionally altering the message behind the “news”.
    ABC DID manipulate the message. proof:

    Fox news DID manipulate the message. proof:
    Now these are two instances caught on tape!
    Anyone who has read about “Operation Mockingbird” and is familiar with the history of media and the CIA in this country has to be suspicious of what is reported. Maybe you are a legit newsman, but it doesn’t seem like it if you deny the existence of the above youtube clips and the existence of Operation Mockingbird…THES ARE FACTS! Not conspiracy theories…in any case it would serve your reputation well to recognize these facts and do your best to acknowledge them instead of treating people who DO acknowledge the facts as “conspiracy” nuts.

  6. Brad Warthen

    Now you’ve gone and confused what you see on TV with journalism. Well, I blame myself. I used my correspondent’s MSM term, speaking of “media,” rather than speaking of “the press,” which is what I know about. Forgive me.
    Sure, I could stick up for the video cowboys and say whatever sins you point to are the exception to the rule, but I’m just not inclined to do so. What passes as “news” on the telly sickens me — just not for the reasons that bother you. Let somebody else stick up for them.

  7. Gabe Harris

    Glad you checked it out Brad!(i sense your mildly surprised by the fact that thee CIA has definitely doen this, but still making fun of me somehow)…anyway you have a point that the TV media does seem to be worse than the print media and it is a important distinction to make.
    After reading a lot about this subject, …quotes like this keep coming to mind:
    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
    David Rockefeller Baden-Baden, Germany 1991

    I’m sure the book review guy who read “Atlas Shrugged” for the NYT and then wrote a scathing review really didn’t like the book, but that doesn’t mean the guy wasn’t biased…just as the journalist who were fooled by George W about the entry into this war, who are the same journalist that think Hillary’s national Health Care plan will “help the poor” are naturally not going to like Ron Paul…in this case the strawman journalist I created(who happens to be representative of about 40% of our MSM journalist) is going to be extremely biased against Ron Paul.
    next check out “Operation Northwoods”. Do you think that is a good thing?

  8. gabe Harris

    “What passes as “news” on the telly sickens me — just not for the reasons that bother you. ”
    why make this assumption? I probably agree with most of the reasons you don’t like the tv media as well. I stopped watching TV news almost completely a couple years ago. They tend to focus on celebrity culture and meaningless issues meant to prolong the farce of a battle between so-called “liberals and conservatives”….the big issues are just assumed away(interventionist foreign policy, expansion of new deal programs, 98% agreement on current tax system (i.e 100,000 IRS employees, 10000 page tax code etc))…no when the media does focus on policy they focus on abortion minutiae, gay marriage, PR resolutions) the most ridiculous….none of the governemnt’s bizness issues I could imagine. These are issues for families to decide, not governemnt’s.

  9. Brad Warthen

    You’re right, Gabe, and I apologize — those ARE the things about TV “news” that sicken me… as opposed to thinking they’re part of some political conspiracy.
    If it’s a conspiracy, it’s one to dumb down America.

  10. Klutometis

    “The concern, for an editor, would be to report the reality, not distort it by giving too much coverage to a nonviable candidate, and too little to a viable one.”
    Ideally, sure; but they’re really pushing an array of inarticulate hacks with less money and support than Ron Paul.

  11. Gabe Harris

    I actually do believe they intentionally try to dumb down america. part of it is by focusing on totally meaningless things like Anna Nicole Smith(that way you can’t get mad about Dick Cheney intentionally phonyying up evidence to trick america into a war). Part of it is even sicker, just as Hitler’s first priority was to get control of the minds of the youth through the school system…the first big push for universal mandantory school attendence came in the big push to get us into WW1…that’s also when they made up the “Pledge of Allegiance”….you think thomas paine would have advocated such mindless dogmatic conditioning of the people??!!
    redirecting attention to celebrity gossip work for about half the population….for the slightly more sophisticated they have created a false pardigm of “right wing-left wing” or “conservative-liberal” or “democrat-republican”… the big issues that CFR, rockefller, frod and carnegie foundations are pushing for are considered “bipartisian”…only “radicals” are against massive american military buildup around the world or criticaize the drug war, the war on terror, the “war on poverty”…this propagand is by design…I know it becuase I read what they say…look at teh PNAC documents the discussions at the CFR, the writing of David rockefeller, the works of Carrol Quigley…When we repeat the quotes of these guys many people refuse to read them and just call us “conspiracy nuts”

  12. Gordon Hirsch

    Guys, when judging journalistic “ethics” or motives, it helps to keep a bigger view of the media business in general, where journalism is red ink on the balance sheet and news is the filler between paid ads.
    Cable “news,” moreso than any media format in our history, is instantly reactive to ratings, which equate to viewership, which equate to advertising rates and revenue. And, yes, the same concept applies to print media (all media biz), where circulation drives ad rates.
    In general, though, “stodgy” mainstream media such as The State pander less to audiences and advertisers, largely because their corporate bosses are still mindful (to their regret in some cases) of obligation to the traditions of “responsible, community-minded journalism.” The same could be said for the likes of mainstream local TV news reporting, where (a briefer) tradition exists and broadcasters are still accountable to local audiences.
    By comparison, cable news of the FOX sort has little commitment to tradition or guiding principles, at least in comparison to their commitment to ratings and revenues. Nor are they as accountable to audiences, whose “feedback” becomes “news” in itself.
    For example, the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are staple fodder for the breathless 24/7 FOX, whereas the same reports might rank as “people briefs” in The State.
    One of the challenges of “responsible” journalism is reaching balance between what people “want to know,” and drives sales, versus what people “need to know,” which in some quarters still skews “responsible journalists” toward traditional concepts of “newsworthiness.”
    The bounds of newsworthiness are blurring fast as electronic media punish traditionalists and their bottom lines. Skewer the competency of local media all you want, but you may miss them when they’re gone or, more likely, are pressed by Wall Street analysts to adopt FOX standards.

  13. Gabe Harris

    If opinion page editors were nto corrupt we’d see more of this type argument from Republicans and Democrats:
    Social Security harms the poorest the most!
    1a)There is a differences in life expectancies of rich and poor. This is a fact. in 2001, urban black male babies could expect to live for just 68.7 years, whereas for Asian females the figure was 86.7.
    · In 2004 the poorest community in America was Pine Ridge Indian reservationand male life expectancy is 57 years.
    There have been dozens of studies showing that there is a strong link between wealth and length of life. Feel free to fact check me here.
    This means that on average we have a system that pays out to the wealthier folks more than
    1b)Payroll taxes(which pay for SS) make a huge impact on the poor as the money starts coming out of the very first dollar that even the poorest earner makes no matter how desperate for immediate cash flow a person may be. So a extremely poor, minimum wage inner city single father of four kids, who has immediate needs to provide good food, shelter and education possibilites for his children is forced to give 7.7% of his money to the governemnt. This understates the true impact though because a employer has to match that money and they are well aware of this when hriing a employee and thus lower the wage accordingly…the employer has to allocate $107/week in his budget if he is planning on paying the worker $100/week…the employee(no mattter how poor) has his check reduced to about 94$ before he ever gets a chance to touch it and consider weather the pressing needs of his children might be more important than the tax bill he’ll end up be ordered to pay later. This means that the effective payroll tax on the poorest worker is about 15%! This is a serious discencitve to even get a job for many…and getting that first job is often the most important step in moving up the income ladder.
    The mainstream liberals and Brookings Institue folks tend to minimize the serious problems apparent to any fair minded person with this situation…they point to earned income tax credits and other claptrap. The problem is that the poorest folks have serious needs that need to be met by immediate income, it hurts them to have to wait until the end of the year to recover a small portion of what was taken from them. Then the government, mainstream liebrals and conservatives have the nerve to tell this unfortunate individual that they are taking their money for their own good! These poor people will likely be dead before they hit the government’s retirement age of 65! In the meantime their money is flowing into the pockets of AARP members who have average net worth in the hundreds of thousands of dollars! It is truly sickening if you really care about poor people.
    I’m a mid-30’s upper middle class working parent of two young children and speaking for myself I can tell you that my first priority is making sure I can help my kids get good nutrition, education and opportunity in life even if it means I have zero savings when I hit age 65. I hope that I’ll be able to be a productive wealth producer until I am in my 70’s, but if not I would rather help my kids through college and have myself go die penniless in the woods as opposed to stifling my kids with poor nutrition and poor education just so I can sit around and watch TV in my 60’s and 70’s. I have a feeling that most parents(rich and poor) would agree with me. So why is it that the government and the mainstream politicians force parents to do the opposite? I am not a angel by any means, I’d love to party when I retire like anyone else, but only if I have enough resources to take care of my kids and family first, right now I could use the 10%-15% of payroll tax income to help provide better nutrition and education for my children…I don’t want or need the governemtn taking that money from my children now in order to supposedly give it back to me at some later point.
    Ron Paul sees the evil of the current situation and has argued that ANYONE should be able to opt out of SS and payroll taxes. This would mean that there would be a substantial and immediate 15% raise for many of the poor in this country. More importantly the incentives to work and reinforce the values that made this country great would be strengthened. The people who don’t want to opt out would be allowed to stay in the system just as they currently do. The money to pay for them would easily be available once we stopped paying for hundreds of military bases in Korea, Germany, and other unneccessary outposts of our world empire. Theoretically, the people who want to stay in the system would be able to keep getting paid thorugh the contributions the people paid into the system, but all of us know that the government has already spent this money and the system is a big ponzi scheme. Ron Paul is the only one being honest about it and providing ideas that could offer real relief!
    Instead the CFR controlled op-ed pages focus on gay marriage just as the tv media focuses on Britany Spears.

  14. bud

    So let me get this straight. The leading GOP candidate (Guiliani) is running on his 9-11 record even though most of the decisions he made leading up to that tragedy actually made the situation much worse (location of the command center in WTC 7, failure to commit funding for better radios). Further, this leading candidate has been married 3 times, once to his second cousin. He fooled around on both his first 2 wives. Then he fooled around with the woman he fooled around with on his second wife and ended up making mistress number 3 his third wife. He also has shown a propensity for cross-dressing. The only issue where he sides with the majority of Republicans is the Iraq occupation issue which is a position oppossed by 65% of the general electorate. His good buddy and former police chief has recently been indicted on a variety of crimal charges. His SC campaign chair was recently busted on cocaine charges. And I could go on. And now he gladly accepts the endorsment of a man who once claimed he persuaded God to turn a hurricane away from one part of the country only to eventually make landfall elsewhere. And this creep is annoited as the “viable” candidate.
    Yet Ron Paul has been, by all accounts, an honorable man with 20 years service in the U.S. House of Representatives. His position on the Iraq occupation is in line with most Americans. On other issues he is generally liberatarian, again something a large proportion of the population seems to support. Yet for some reason the media ordains Mr. Guiliani with the mantle of respectability while branding Mr. Paul as somewhat of a nut. Just why is that?
    (I won’t be voting for Ron Paul but he really does deserve more respect from the media than he’s getting).

  15. Mick Russom

    We are going to be free! Ron Paul is likely going to sweep the 2008 elections! Id say the probability he is the next POTUS is 90-95% now.
    People are screaming FREEEDOM! like William Wallace rigt now. They are going to have to kill Ron Paul like they did JFK or RK to stop him now, and I fully expect the MSM, military industrial complex and the CFR types to go after his life because the smear tactics are backfiring!

  16. SC Conservative

    I’ve heard from too many Ron Paul supporters that his 4.2 Million in one day was the largest GOP 24-Hour fundraiser in history, but this is incorrect.
    The fact that so many of them make this incorrect assumption tells me that the average Paul supporter hasn’t been following the election for that long, or they aren’t listening to what anyone else is saying. This stubborn close-minded approach to the race is what turns off many potential Paul supporters and likely accounts for some lost free media.
    If you go back to early January, Mitt Romney made huge headlines in the political world with his 6.7 Million Dollar day–and that was a working day (just 8 or 10 hours).
    If Ron Paul supporters were to take more than a glance outside their own little world of politics, they might find some of the rest of us more willing to talk with them about their candidate.


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