I’ve been pondering this whole “MSM ignoring Ron Paul” thing, and as much as I hate to admit it, I think there’s more of a tilt against Ron Paul in the New Media than the Old Media. I’m not sure exactly the cause of it, but I have a few theories.
First, the facts.
Ron Paul hasn’t been given the golden boy coverage in the media that Obama, Clinton, Giuliani and McCain have, but then Ron Paul doesn’t have the celebrity status in politics that they do. He’s more of 1999 Dave Chappelle vs. a 2006 Dave Chappelle. He’s a cult figure to his fans, but he’s not widely known.
Therefore his few appearances in the media in which he’s been allowed to give his platform have to be treated with a certain amount of perspective, and from that perspective, I think that he’s done fairly well. The media is giving Ron his just due. I mean, how much due is just at this point, anyway? Ron’s campaign is still in the exploratory stage. In spite of that, he has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NPR, etc., and has been invited to the first major GOP primary debate. He is being invited to major Republican events such as CPAC and the Young Republicans National Convention (right here in Hollywood). This is very reasonable treatment for a long shot candidate who has not even announced his candidacy yet.
None of this precludes that Dr. Paul had better surround himself with some of the best media people in the business if he is to succeed, but given this early stage of the game, I think he’s doing fine, in terms of Main Stream Media.
What is disturbing is the series of rash treatments he’s recieved in the New Media. Two things do not a conspiracy make, but it is suspicious: Pajamas Media and Digg.
To the right, you see the results of an early Febrary poll conducted by Pajamas Media, a blogging network.
This from disinter:
After claiming some sort of bizarre conspiracy when Ron Paul won their straw poll two weeks ago, Pajamas Media declared Rudy Giuliani the winner. They proudly claimed that they fixed their “spamming” issue and all was well. The only problem is, Ron Paul also won last week’s poll – overwhelmingly[.]
So how did Pajamas Media respond this time? They completely removed Ron Paul’s name from this week’s poll. That’ll teach those crazy Ron Paul supporters for not following the path they are supposed to take! At least they didn’t falsely declare someone else the winner this time, I’ll give them that.
Pajamas Media did some quick backpeddling and interesting excuse concoction that made it go under the rug and seem slightly justifiable, if not infuriating to Ron Paul’s supporters. I wrote an angry letter to Pajamas Media and thought little of it since.
Then, today while looking through Digg’s Election 2008 section, I came across this article. Basically, the original document linked in the title states that 42% of all stories submitted about Ron Paul end up being ‘buried’, which in the world of Digg means that enough people picked the ‘this story is lame’ feature for it to be taken off the site. There is some interesting statistical data to back up these claims linked in this Google Spreadsheet Document.
After perusing the discussion on the Digg comment board (which was suprisingly intelligent and cogent by Digg standards), there were some other statistical leaps that made the list potential culprits behind this behavior come into focus a bit. McDuckov created this spreadsheet to highlight his analysis. I’ve included the pertinent parts below.
The culprit looks like Obamaism. For all the rampant claims of Ron Paul flunkies inflating his presence online, there certainly appears to be a (as McDuckov puts it) Obama Love-Fest going on with Diggers, with 841 stories about Obama submitted, versus 530 stories about Clinton, a supposed neck-and-neck competitor.
Despite the fact that only 10 stories about Ron Paul have made it to the front page versus 16 of Obama’s, almost half of stories concerning Ron Paul have been buried. Who else has a figure similar to this? Clinton, with 60% of front page stories being buried.
The data points to Obama flunkies. But what about elsewhere, like in the Pajamas Media where they buried and played down Ron Paul’s performance in the poll? What’s the mitigating factor there? It’s hard to tell. I’ve often used Pajamas Media in business proposals that have to do with the promotion of New Media as a success story. I’m not certain of their internal financials, but I’ve always admired the integration of media formats, conservative commentary, and good content. That said, I don’t know much of the acual members of the organisation, who is responsible for running the poll, and very few bloggers who’ve talked about the subject seem to have any biting insight as to why they decided to cut Ron out.
Almost every online poll shows Ron Paul as a Republican winner, and almost every offline poll shows Ron Paul in at best third place. There is no doubt that there is a hugely strong grassroots movement for both Obama and Paul on the internets. The question, I suppose, is which of these warring factions will ultimately prevail.