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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Media Downplay Ron Paul

At the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Tricia Sartor writes of Ron Paul:

As pundits debate whether Paul is getting the attention he deserves, a PEJ analysis of campaign coverage this year indicates he is the 10th leading election newsmaker— trailing far behind non-candidates Donald Trump and Sarah Palin and as well as floundering Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich.

From January 1-August 14, Paul has been a dominant newsmaker in only 27 campaign stories. (To be considered a dominant newsmaker, someone must be featured in at least 50% of a story.) That is less than one-quarter of the media attention generated by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (120 stories), who is the top newsmaker among Republican candidates. And he has received 25% as much coverage as Bachmann, the Minnesota Congresswoman (108 stories).

Paul’s coverage also lags far behind Trump (94 stories), who dallied with a run before opting out in mid-May and Palin (85 stories), who has given no indication to date that she will enter the race. In addition, Paul trails longshot candidate and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (44 stories) and Texas Governor, Rick Perry (33 stories) who only announced his candidacy on August 13.

The only significant GOP candidates that Paul is besting are former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (21 stories) and businessman Herman Cain (11 stories).

The top campaign newsmaker overall is incumbent President Barack Obama, at 221 stories.

In a further attempt to gauge the post-straw poll attention to Paul’s campaign, PEJ also used the Snapstream server’s closed captioning capability to assess the candidates’ television coverage in the first few days after that balloting.

The sample included the three network Sunday morning panel shows on August 14, the morning and evening network news programs on August 15 and four hours of prime-time cable and one hour of daytime from each of the three major cable news networks on August 15.

According to that analysis, Paul was mentioned just 29 times. By comparison, Perry was mentioned 371 times, Bachmann was mentioned 274 times, and Romney was mentioned 183 times.

At ABC, Michael Ono follows up:

The lack of coverage does suggest a conventional wisdom among many journalists that he can’t win the Republican nomination,” said Mark Jurkowitz, who is the Associate Director at the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism.
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Adding insult to injury, Politico reported that Paul was canceled on by NBC’s Today Show and Fox News Sunday.

At The Daily Caller, Jack Hunter adds:

The day after the Ames Straw Poll, CNN’s Howard Kurtz discussed the lack of Paul coverage on his show. He explained the media’s kingmaker role, saying, “We are in the business of kicking candidates out of the race.”
But kicking them out based on what?
Politico’s Roger Simon vocally disagreed with Kurtz: “[Paul] lost to Michele Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point. In a straw poll that isn’t supposed to pick winners but is supposed to tell us which way the wind is blowing, that’s as good as a win. So we had a tie for first, but where is he on the morning shows this morning? Where are all the stories analyzing what it means that Ron Paul essentially tied for first place in Ames?”
“And the reason that he’s essentially being ignored is?” Kurtz asked.
“The media doesn’t believe that Ron Paul has a hoot-in-hell’s chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, winning the Republican nomination, winning the presidency,” Simon replied. “So we’re going to ignore him.”