Meanwhile, ABC News has invited Paul to its New Hampshire GOP debate taking place tonight. Thus, Fox News now has two black eyes. One for refusing to invite Paul in the first place, and a second for being shown up by its socialist competitor as anything but ”fair and balanced.”
If Paul were a fringe candidate, Fox’ conduct—which it has not even sought to rationalize (since media rationalizations always involve dumping buckets of urine on the public’s head, I suppose that’s a blessing)—could be justified. But at this point, he’s more real than some of the alleged heavyweights. As CNET reporter Declan McCullagh points out, Paul almost tripled Rudolph Giuliani’s performance in the Iowa caucuses, and polls over three times as strongly as Fred Thompson (7 percent to 2 percent) in New Hampshire.
McCullagh reports that Paul’s platoons ”responded by flooding a Fox News Web page on the debate with over 580 comments and creating a ”Protest Fox’ Web site…. They're also planning protests outside Fox News affiliates. Another likely protest site is Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., which has given Fox News space for a broadcast studio. That's where Sunday's debate will take place.” Fox may seek to ignore such protests, but if its competitors cover them, they could spell a free publicity bonanza for Paul, and yet more bad PR for Fox.
According to McCullagh, Paul thinks Fox shut him out because he is the only GOP candidate opposed to the War in Iraq. Paul also responded by slapping down Fox as a ”propagandist” for the war. Meanwhile, the debate’s co-sponsor, the New Hampshire GOP, is making murmurings suggesting the exclusion was all Fox’ idea, and suggesting that the invitation list may yet change (”talks were continuing with Fox”). I think Fox blew it, big time. Meanwhile, ABC is going to score big for including Paul. Its decision to invite him may simply have been intended to poke Fox in the eye; no matter.
Ron Paul is no Howard Dean. In 2004, the MSM promoted the former Vermont governor, as a way of spicing up the presidential campaign, and then, when it decided that he had served his purpose, cutting him loose, by repeatedly showing the candidate giving a war whoop, as if he were insane. Such is the power of the MSM to humiliate those it wishes to marginalize.
Like Dean, Paul’s campaign has benefited from his supporters’ ability to marshal the Internet both to promote him, and to quickly raise large sums of cash (”money bombs”). The MSM believe they can make or break candidates, and the cases of Sen. John McCain (Media-AZ) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are testimonials to their power.
The media created McCain in 2000, I believe, because he had so little in common with the GOP base. And McCain responded to the media’s support by crafting the campaign finance bill they wanted, in order to order to stifle independent media. And though McCain now says he supports the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, no sentient being believes him.
The media idea, since 2000, I believe, has been to get McCain enough support to win the GOP presidential nomination, and then turn on him, after the GOP convention. Instead of emphasizing that his ”straight talk,” as it previously had, it would emphasize his volatility. One must always keep in mind that the socialist MSM will do whatever it takes, to help the Democrat candidate win.
Mike Huckabee is in a similar situation to that of McCain. The socialist MSM like him, because his longtime Open Border and welfare state positions are the same as theirs. Heck, he’s even more radically pro-open borders than McCain. Huckabee, like McCain, has flip-flopped on immigration, which along with his folksy demeanor and lots of free media attention, helped him to win in Iowa. But Huckabee’s political incoherence (a Christian Evangelical who supports a right to sodomy?) and general hostility to the GOP base will not survive scrutiny. Again, in his case, I believe the socialist MSM will do everything in its power to cast Huckabee in a favorable light, and then, if he wins the nomination, to savage him with the GOP base.
I do not support Paul or any of the other leading candidates. I supported Tancredo; Hunter is DOA, only no one has pronounced him dead yet; and the Open Borders evangelists who suddenly have ”seen the light” of immigration restriction are all lying.
With that said, there is no longer any justification for keeping Paul out of the debate. And Fox' strategy will fail. Paul is not going away. He’s got zealous support from people in sufficient numbers, who are willing to devote enough time and money and Net resources to him, and unless the media have tapes of Paul secretly pledging his eternal allegiance to the UN, International Criminal Court, and to the creation of a North American Union, attempts to humiliate and silence him (Dean II) will simply redound to his benefit.
Fox has left a sizable, or at least very vocal chunk of its viewers feeling betrayed. That was a lose-lose move on the network’s part. Paul’s supporters are articulate, well-to-do, bear grudges and have long memories. And there is no group that Fox’ conduct will now draw to the network to offset its losses in viewership and good will from the Paul snub. Not to mention the hit its reputation will take, by seeming to be a shill for the war, which will reinforce the attacks it has long endured from the Left.
Meanwhile, David Codrea has three suggestions for Paul to turn the situation to his advantage:
1. Use a portion of that $20M they've raised to buy a 1-minute ad for Ron to be aired immediately before the debate—if not on Fox, then on their competitor CNN. The content of the ad should be to call attention to his exclusion, to provide an overview of his message, and to direct viewers to #2, 2. Have Ron live on the Internet at the same time as the debate, answering all questions posed to the candidates on the Fox program. This could actually work to his advantage, as there'd be no distractions from other candidates, no questions intentionally leaving him out, and no misrepresentations of his positions or statements by the other candidates. It could also draw a significant portion of the audience away from Fox. 3. Publicize the hell out of this. Issue press releases to get it into the news. Use the unprecedented Internet network Paul supporters have established.