Friday, September 7, 2007

Subtler Mistreatments of Ron Paul - and Remedies

Disinformation and propaganda are rarely isolated, outrageous incidents. Rather, they are usually part of a much larger, continuous tapestry, in which a series of subtle, lower profile attacks support and pave the way for the high-profile, over-the-top distortions. In and of themselves, these softer mistreatments might not be so serious. But given the larger picture of the way Ron Paul (and Dennis Kuninich) has been treated, these low-level smack-downs need to be called out.

In this spirit, I list three that occurred in the Wednesday night Republican debate on Fox. And, always trying to be helpful and educational, I suggest some remedies...

Snickering While Ron Paul Was Talking
: You couldn't have missed it. Someone - most likely Giuliani - was snickering lots of the time Ron Paul was speaking.

remedy: Brit Hume, chief moderator, should have called Giuliani out on this. Ideally, Hume could have said, "what are you, eight years old, Mr. Mayor?" But even a less blunt reprimand would have worked.

Chris Wallace Debating Rather Than Questioning Ron Paul
: Actually, I hate to tell questioners to go more easy, since usually the problem is that questions aren't tough enough. But

: make an effort to be equally combative with all the candidates. Ron Paul's position that we got into Iraq in violation of our Constitution is actually the correct one. If anything, it's all the other candidates who support he war who deserve the most probing, sarcastic questions...

This next is all over the web, but you can - and hear - it for yourself, right here...

So ... Ron Paul is talking ... and being cheered ... and boos are heard when Giuliani's face goes on the split screen. But, for the people at home - in contrast to the people in the auditorium - all we see and hear is Ron Paul talking, with some boos coming in .... Certainly a distortion of what actually happened.

remedy: Brit Hume, again - do your job - and tell us what the boos are really in response to. Part of being a network that provides commentary over events - unlike, say, CSPAN, which just lets them roll - is you have a responsibility to tell your viewers what's really happening ...


In sum: Fox, get a clue. It's not that hard, really, to do the right thing. Don't go the sad way of ABC News (which, actually, has shown some recent signs of improvement). You have a responsibility, when you're hosting a debate, to be even-handed, correct misimpressions certainly not commit them - as Hannity and Colmes did) - and call-out snickerers and other wrong-doers.

You report, we decide, is right - the American people will be watching you, and evaluating your future performance.
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