Freedom from Alaska!

Underreporting Ron Paul: NPR’s Media Coverage Stats Before Super Tuesday


Underreporting Ron Paul

Several readers have brought to my attention a very interesting National Public Radio interview with Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. A caller to the program, Andrew, asked Rosenstiel a question about coverage of Ron Paul and the power of the press to decide which candidates are “viable.” This is what Rosenstiel had to say:

It raises obviously one of the fundamental questions: is press coverage a self-fulfilling prophecy? Can a candidate who doesn’t get press coverage win votes, or do you need the exposure, the oxygen of attention? Last week, the week before Super Tuesday, the coverage that ended Feb. 3, Ron Paul was a significant or primary figure in zero percent of the stories that we analyzed, 600 stories across 48 different news outlets.

Andrew is correct in suggesting that the press has discounted the chances of Ron Paul having any success. The fundraising success that he’s having is one of the traditional metrics that journalists use to test viability. If someone is raising money, usually that translates into some attention.

For a variety of reasons, some of them are obvious and some of them are mysterious, Ron Paul gets less coverage than he does raise money, and he gets less coverage than he gets votes. We can go on and on about this. There is no doubt, it’s an objective fact, that the press has decided Ron Paul is not a viable candidate.

You can hear the interview for yourself at NPR’s site. Andrew’s question and Rosenstiel’s response occur about five minutes in.

The media news isn’t all so daunting. We’ve been working hard, particularly with local media, to get Dr. Paul’s name out. Our media presence increased over the last three months: in November, we had 2638 broadcast media mentions of Ron Paul; about 2768 hits in December; and 6291 in January, at the height of the primary season. Our print media exposure also increased from December to January, from 2400 hits to 4425 hits. These hits don’t necessarily cover everything, but they’re reflective of trends.

So, we’re fighting back, but as Rosenstiel’s remarks show, we’re up against national media that have already made up their minds about Ron Paul and have decided not to cover him to the extent that his fundraising and his following merit.

(And ideas should count for something too, right? Unfortunately, as the endless hours of TV coverage dedicated to celebrities, celebrity overdoses, and hearings about steroids in baseball indicate, serious issues like the war in Iraq, the declining dollar and tumbling economy, and the growth of ever more intrusive government are just not on the agenda of many “news” sources.)



Alaska: Falling Moose Nearly Takes Out Trooper—Always Gotta Be Ready




  1. Mike Bellman

    Isn’t it ironic that those who stand accused of blacking out a candidate will use “Freedom of Speech” as a defense on coverage choices. I suppose millions of dollars in campaign ads is still not enough money to buy a ticket to the Grown-ups table.

    40+ years later people still lament not supporting Barry Goldwater in 64 because they were mourning JFK. Ron Paul, who will not campaign for President again, will be mourned a mere 4 years from now when the debt destroys our economy, the Bill of Rights is shredded and renamed BILLS.

    Fertilze the Tree of liberty.

  2. Michael Ivey

    I can hardly believe that I could live in a country where a man could run for the office of President, the most powerful position in the world, and millions of people not know who he is. The total ignoring of this patriot is not by accident. Those behind the “curtain” who wholeheartedly wish to remain nameless, have pulled all the strings. They have an agenda, and Ron Paul’s ideas and his principles would set their plans back ages. I promise you that if this man is somehow not elected as our next President, we will all be very, very sorry.

  3. steven montross

    All empires come to an end. Hopefully we won’t just crash and burn. Maybe we’ll slowly fade away like the country we fought to get away from and have now become.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén