Following the Ames straw poll, where GOP Texas Congressman Paul procured a virtual first-place tie with Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the media barely yawned at his unexpected second-place showing. Indeed, Tim Pawlentys post-Ames departure stirred more media coverage than Pauls near-victory. Politico.com published an article with the following headline: "Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty gets third." Many observers noted that such a laughable headline breeds the inevitable question: Who placed second?
As reported by The New American last week, Pauls second-place trophy in the Ames straw poll drew sparse media attention:
Immediately after her noteworthy victory in the Iowa Presidential Straw Poll August 13, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann managed to book herself on all five major Sunday national television political talk shows. But Ron Paul, who finished in a virtual statistical tie with Bachmann just 152 votes and less than a one-percent difference was booked on none of them. Zero.
The Pew Research Centers Project for Excellency in Journalism (PEJ) recently conducted a study on Ron Pauls sparse media coverage and found that nine of the 12 GOP presidential hopefuls attracted more media attention this year than Paul. The study analyzed presidential candidates across prominent media outlets on television, on the Internet, and in print rounding up hundreds of stories across 52 media outlets.
Between January 1 and August 14, Paul was the leading subject meaning, the "dominant newsmaker" featured in at least 50 percent of the story of only 27 campaign stories, less than a quarter of the number of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and a small fragment of the 221 stories on President Obamas reelection campaign.
Fox News reported:
Paul beat out former Senator Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain in the amount of media coverage he generated, but Donald Trump, who dropped out of the race, and Sarah Palin, who has not announced her intentions, both outpaced him. Stories about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's limping campaign also blew past the amount of Paul coverage.
The Pew study also analyzed TV coverage of GOP candidates in the two days following Iowas poll, and found that despite his close second-place triumph, Paul was mentioned only 29 times, 342 times fewer than Rick Perry and 245 times fewer than Michele Bachmann.
Pauls campaign manager was "disappointed" with the meager attention given to the Texas Congressmans Iowa performance. Roger Simon from Politico.com referred to the freedom-loving Texan as "media poison." Even Comedy Centrals flamboyantly liberal Jon Stewart expressed bewilderment over the "stonewall Paul" media fiasco, posing the question, "How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor of a hotel?"
Paul observed on Fox News:
It disturbs me. I have done quite well. Im quite willing to match my name up against Obama any time of the day.
We showed we did well in Iowa, and we have good organization, and we can raise money. But they dont want to discuss my views, because I think they are frightened by us challenging the status quo and the establishment.
Indeed, Pauls so-called "radical" views on foreign policy and enthusiasm for "legalizing" the Constitution may be a determinant for his sparse media exposure.
Many critics argue that Pauls virtual media blackout plays into the baseless notion that he is not a legitimate GOP competitor. "The lack of coverage does suggest a conventional wisdom among many journalists that he cant win the Republican nomination," asserted Mark Jurkowitz, Associate Director at PEJ. "The Ron Paul campaign is not so much a candidacy [as] a cause," said Charlie Cook, a political analyst and author of the "Cook Political Report." "Hes got issues that are important to him."
But Pauls poll numbers are nothing to sneeze at, as he ranked third in a recent ABC/Washington Post poll of GOP candidates, beating out Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum.
Azimuth Research Group conducted a poll in Texas the home state of both Ron Paul and Rick Perry asking the question, "If the Texas Republican primary were held today, which presidential candidate would you be most likely to vote for?" Twenty-two percent selected Ron Paul, while just 17 percent voted for Rick Perry.
Congressman Paul also performed exceptionally well in a New Hampshire poll. According to the New Hampshire Journal:
"On the ballot Romney remains in a strong position. He leads all candidates with 36% of the vote. However, Perry, making his first appearance in the NH Journal poll, debuts with a strong 18%. Ron Paul continues to impress despite relatively little media attention with 14%. And Bachmann earns 10%. All other candidates were in single digits."
Indeed, Ron Paul is running under an entirely different fiscal and economic environment this time around, and Pews new study and possibly the buzz over his lack of media coverage in itself may draw some attention over the coming months.
Does the American electorate disapprove of Pauls emphatic constitutional ideology? The polls say no. And if the Congressmans tide of popularity continues to ascend, the medias stranglehold on the "Ron Paul Revolution" will simply not hold up.