Saturday, December 24, 2011

CNN Distorts Ron Paul Interview

I should have known better.  When I saw Ron Paul stalk off after a few questions from Gloria Borger about the racist statements published under his name in his newsletter in the late 1980s / early 1990s, I should have suspected that there might well have been more to the interview.

I of all people should have known this, given that I gave a 45-minute lecture to my class at Fordham University in September 2007 about the mass media's misreporting of Ron Paul in the last Presidential campaign (see video below) - about how ABC and Fox, especially, cropped pictures, left Ron Paul out of poll reports, and committed other lies of omission in their coverage.

But, instead of suspecting CNN, as I should have, I simply assumed that what I saw on the screen was true.  I even commented on Facebook that Ron Paul should have talked more about the offensive newsletters, rather than abruptly terminating the interview.

And it turns out that's exactly what he did.  The bright spot in our media world, as I point in New New Media, is that we need no longer rely on the mass media as our sole source of information.  As Mediaite - itself a new new media site where you can see the uncut interview, and compare it to what CNN aired - aptly notes, the Daily Paul and Reddit brought the truth of this interview to everyone's attention (and thanks to my friend Michael Papagermanos for bringing this to my attention on Facebook about an hour ago).   Indeed, the complete interview not only shows Ron Paul giving Borger a full and repeated explanation of his views about the racist passages in his newsletters, but also has a clear and cogent an analysis as ever I've heard from Ron Paul (or anyone) about the dangers of going to war without the Declaration of War required by our Constitution - something I've been pointing out since the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and has been the case for every "war," beginning with the Korean War, that we've waged since World War II (the last legally waged war).  But Ron Paul's words about this, too, wound up on CNN's proverbial cutting room floor.

No one expects any television channel to air every second of an interview it tapes.  Cutting is an intrinsic and necessary part of television and radio news, just as editing is in the press.  But deceitful cutting - editing which distorts what the interviewee says, and therefore misleads the viewer - is most certainly not.

Such deceitful reporting is not only an attack on Ron Paul, but on all Americans and our democratic system of government.  The media are given special protections and status under the First Amendment - which, as my readers know, I've spent a lifetime vigorously supporting.  But the media also have a responsibility to report the truth, and not undermine our electoral process by cutting interviews to give wrong impressions.   Media that distort are worse than useless.   They are dangerous affronts to our freedom.

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