So Jon Stewart had a "broken clock" moment and proved to be useful...
(vimeo link died...view the full screen video at the official website here.)
Just for the record, this was called out and articulated quite well even before the straw poll took place, in an excellent piece by Justin T. P. Quinn. (I mean it...it's excellent. Read it.) And now we're getting a bit of attention for the lack of attention:
Politico (from the honest guy in the video below):
I admit I do not fully understand Ron Paul and his beliefs. But I do understand when a guy gets shafted, and Ron Paul just got shafted.
On Saturday, the Ames Straw Poll was conducted in Iowa amid huge media interest and scrutiny. The results were enough to force one Republican candidate, Tim Pawlenty, out of the race, and catapult another, Michele Bachmann, into the “top tier.”[...]
Paul’s name was not mentioned in this piece nor in many others. A Wall Street Journal editorial Monday magnanimously granted Paul’s showing in the straw poll a parenthetical dismissal: “(Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.)” But “close” does not fully describe Paul’s second-place finish. Paul lost to Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast. If it had been an election, such a result would almost certainly have triggered a recount. It was not an election, however, and that is my point. Straw polls are supposed to tell us, like a straw tossed into the air, which way the wind is blowing.
And any fair assessment of Ames, therefore, would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul. Nonsense, some would say. Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.) What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates. Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers? I am far from a Libertarian. I believe big government is swell as long as it does big things to help the common good. But after Ames, it was as if Paul had been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.
(And Politico again)
Critics of the media coverage of Paul have a point. Because many reporters see the Texas congressman as having little chance of winning the nomination, he is often left out of the discussion - even as an establishment figure like Jon Huntsman, who badly trails Paul in the polls, is included. [...]
There's an irony here: Paul may not be offering up new ideas, but he is the only mainstream candidate articulating significantly different policy positions than his rivals. Paul's opposition to U.S. military intervention abroad has significant support within the GOP, and his live-and-let-live philosophy is the animating idea behind the Tea Party. Don't those ideas deserve to be part of the discussion? The media's focus on Bachmann and dismissal of Paul is a demoralizing illustration of the fact that members of the media - who, it should be noted, often make their coverage decisions based on audience demand - are often more interested in stylistic differences than substantive ones.
All this doesn't change the fact that Ron Paul is very unlikely to be the next president of the United States. Or that the straw poll itself is nearly meaningless - it's an Iowa Republican party fundraiser in which the candidates, Paul included, essentially buy their votes. But if reporters are going to focus so aggressively on Bachmann - and treat her straw poll win as meaningful - then Paul deserves, at the very least, not to be ignored.
The sheer, smug dismissiveness with which the political press treat the libertarian Congressman in these clips is really something. And it's yet another example of political media winnowing the pack in advance by deciding who is a "serious" candidate and who isn't—in this case, seemingly, by deciding that Paul's beliefs are too far out there or, maybe more likely, simply don't easily fit the left-right narrative.
Even in Britain (Guardian) (possibly the best one. definitely read the full article):
As usual, Paul was mostly ignored. The Washington Times declared him a "loser" even as it said Santorum, with 3,014 fewer votes than Paul, was a "winner". The blanking given to Paul was best summed up by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, who showed news anchors and analysts laughing at Paul and treating him like a geek in high school being teased by jocks.
If Paul had got an extra 153 votes and actually won, I bet the analysis would have stayed the same. Paul would have been dismissed as a "no hoper" and Bachmann's second place would still have been hailed as the real breakthrough. Politico summed up the reaction best in a rare piece outlining its unfairness. But even it could not resist a dig at Paul's opinions. "I do not fully understand Ron Paul and his beliefs," wrote columnist Roger Simon, but then he added: "But I do understand when a guy gets shafted and Ron Paul just got shafted."[...]
But, of course, no politicians or journalists are interested in that history. That – like Paul's opposition to the war s in Iraq and Afghanistan – is seen as unpatriotic and that is a cardinal sin. Whether Republican or Democrat, mentioning the idea that other nations around the world might have good cause to be annoyed at the US is a no-go area. Mentioning events like the 1953 coup in Iran – backed by the CIA and Britain – triggers a collective cultural response of putting hands over one's ears and shouting: "La, la, la, la!"
It goes against the idea of American "exceptionalism". Paul's positions question the country's very role in the world. He even calls America an "empire". That is simply too much for the system to take. Far better to debate familiar topics like gay marriage, abortion rights, taxes and welfare cuts. Or ridiculous side issues like flag-burning.
And of course others:
It's a start.
Okay, we really need to thank Jon Stewart.
(This is one of the best interviews I've seen him do...like ever.)
(this guy has over 40,000 subscribers)
I think this coverage will at least (hopefully) make people think, "huh....It's okay if I kinda like Ron Paul."
"I think Mr Paul's influence on the ideological cast of American conservatism has been underestimated and underreported, but to take even his influence, if not his candidacy, more seriously would require the talking haircuts and the newspaper typing corps to wrestle with a charged set of geopolitical and economic topics they would rather continue helping Americans not understand."
Well said, economist.
I just caught this entry from Bob Murphy, and wish I had seen it sooner. Figured I would add it here anyway, for reference. He specifically addresses the Salon.com article where some guy tries to validate the media ignorance...
If Ron Paul became president, the media would probably ignore the White House.
I can't figure out if that would be the greatest or the worst thing that could ever happen.