Monday, 14 November 2011

Ron Paul Ignored in Saturday's Debate; CBS Policy Questioned

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The mainstream media is maintaining its reputation for deliberately providing minimal coverage to Texas Congressman Ron Paul during the GOP presidential debates. On Saturday, November 12, Paul — though he remains in the top tier of the Republican contenders — received a total of 89 seconds of coverage in the entire hour-long televised portion of the debate.

In one hour, Paul was asked just two questions. The first was, “Is it worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in Iran?” To that, Paul responded:

No, it isn't worthwhile. The only way you would do that is — you would have to go through Congress. We — we as Commander-in-Chief aren't making the decision to go to war. You know, the old-fashioned way, the Constitution, you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened. And I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq.

And, you know, they didn't have nuc—, weapons of mass destruction. And it was orchestrated and it was, to me, a tragedy of what's happened these past — last 10 years, the death and destruction, $4 billion — $4 trillion in debt. So no, it's not worthwhile going to war. If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.

He was then interrupted by moderator Scott Pelley, who said, “Thank you, Congressman” before turning his attention to Rick Perry.

Later, Paul was asked to weigh in on the issue of torture, but when he began to assert that torture is illegal — both nationally and internationally — he was interrupted and asked to clarify how he defined torture. Paul answered:

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Well, waterboarding is torture. And — and many other — it's ill—, it's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. The — and it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principal of a — of — of — of torture. I think it's — I think it's uncivilized and prac—, and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principal that we will torture people that we capture.

And that was Paul’s time in the limelight. The remainder of the hour was allotted to the establishment favorites on stage.

Paul’s campaign was infuriated by the treatment of their candidate on Saturday, and issued the following statement:

Ron Paul consistently polls among the top three in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. He is polling in double digits in most respected polls.

Congressman Paul is ranked among the top three in fundraising results.

Congressman Paul serves on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Congressman Paul is a veteran.

And, Congressman Paul has contrasting views on foreign policy that many Americans find worthy of inquiry and discussion.

CBS’s treatment of Congressman Paul is disgraceful, especially given that tonight’s debate centered on foreign policy and national security.

Congressman Paul was only allocated 90 seconds of speaking in one televised hour. If we are to have an authentic national conversation on issues such as security and defense, we can and must do better to ensure that all voices are heard.

CBS News, in their arrogance, may think they can choose the next president. Fortunately, the people of Iowa, New Hampshire, and across America get to vote and not [just] the media elites.

Likewise, Paul’s campaign manager John Tate castigated the media in an email:

What a joke! It literally made me sick watching the mainstream media once again silence the one sane voice in this election. The one dissenter to a decade of unchecked war. The one candidate who stands for true defense and actual constitutional government. Ron Paul was silenced, in perhaps the most important debate of the cycle.

It is worth noting that the only two questions posed to Paul on-air concern issues which are more of a hard-sell for the American people, requiring far more than the allotted 30 seconds to explain and defend.

According to Kurt Nimmo, it is for that reason that Paul should have been permitted more air time. As noted by Nimmo, Paul was the only person on stage who believes that the President is “obliged to follow the Constitution and go through Congress before attacking [a] country.” The other candidates — who all seemed to share the same philosophies of how to deal with Iran — were given more time to explain their positions, despite the redundancies. The only candidate who was not permitted to fully articulate his position was Paul, the one candidate who held a different position from all the rest.

It has already been confirmed in a scientific study undertaken by the University of Minnesota that Ron Paul has been given the least amount of speaking time of any Republican candidate during the debates, despite the fact that Paul repeatedly comes in third in national polls. Despite Paul’s top-tier status, he has received less speaking time than even Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, who have been soundly defeated by Paul in the polls.

The decision by CBS to afford Paul just 89 seconds in the televised portion of the debate seems to be part of a deliberate plan to advocate for specific candidates. This became clear when an email was inadvertently sent to Michele Bachmann’s campaign that indicated that certain candidates were being provided less air time than others as part of a CBS policy.

Exeter Patch reports,

Michele Backmann’s campaign made a similar claim [regarding minimal debate coverage], releasing an email it said was inadvertently sent to Communications Director Alice Stewart by a CBS employee that said Bachmann wasn’t going to get many questions, so they should try to get another candidate for a post-debate show.

"I was just speaking with Alice Stewart ... about the Congresswoman or a senior member if [sic] her staff joining you for the webshow. She said she would be happy to arrange," said one CBS employee in an email sent Saturday afternoon, hours before the debate.

John Dickerson, a CBS News political analyst, then responded, "Okay let's keep it loose though since she's not going to get many questions and she's nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else."

The campaign said the email indicated "a planned effort to limit questions to Michele Bachmann at tonight's CBS/National Journal Debate."

Paul Joseph Watson determined based on the treatment of Bachmann’s camp, “Obviously that policy of limiting air time to certain candidates was also applied to Congressman Ron Paul.” He added that there have been clear indications that the media’s unfair treatment of Ron Paul is intentional:

After Ron Paul finished a close second to Bachmann in the highly regarded Ames straw poll, and was subsequently blacklisted by the corporate press, Politico’s Roger Simon said the reason for him being ignored was that “the media doesn’t believe he has a hoot in hell's chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, the Republican nomination or winning the presidency, so we’re gonna ignore him.”

“We are in the business of kicking candidates out of the race,” CNN host Howard Kurtz responded.

Watson concluded, “Despite his popularity, the establishment media has deliberately downplayed and sidelined Paul’s campaign.”