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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

The most recent CBS poll shows that among the Republican challengers to President Obama, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have the potential to defeat him.  This same poll shows that among all of the candidates, including Obama, Ron Paul does best when it comes to the much coveted “independent” voter.

Today, the morning after Ron Paul finished in second place in the New Hampshirecaucuses and this poll was released, the hosts of Fox and Friends, as if still in a state of disbelief, began to consider the possibility that Paul just might be a serious contender in this presidential race.

If ever we needed proof that the pundits of the so-called “conservative” media—Fox News, talk radio, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, Newsmax, etc.—are nothing more or less than Republican Party propagandists, their treatment of Congressman Paul provides it in spades. 

Paul has been a serious, “viable” candidate since this primary contest began.  And, unlike every other “anti-Romney” flavor that, like the proverbial flash in the pan, has come and gone—Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and, now, Rick Santorum—Paul’s viability has only become solider.  This is a remarkable achievement when it is considered that all of the other candidates could rely upon the GOP’s apologists in the “alternative” media to fuel, and in most instances, actually create, their momentum.  Paul, in sharp contrast, has managed to steadily become ever more popular in spite of overwhelming media resistance to his campaign.

Paul is indeed a serious presidential contender. Not only can he pick up more independents than Obama, legions of young people draw to Paul like moths to a light, and they draw to him with energy, with passion, that no other candidate has succeeded in tapping.  As far as non-white voters are concerned, Paul is more appealing than every other GOP candidate—including Mitt Romney.

Whether we are discussing the Republican or Democratic Parties, there is but one “anti-Romney” candidate: that candidate is Congressman Paul.

How, we can’t but wonder, could so many otherwise presumably astute observers in the media fail to notice this? 

Well, perhaps many of us do not wonder about this at all.  Moreover, there may even be, and probably are, a number of people who would eagerly take exception to my premise that the chattering class is composed of “astute observers.”  But for those who do not react incredulously to my question, there is an answer in the coming.

In a word, it is Paulophobia that accounts for the media’s reckless coverage of Ron Paul’s feats. 

What makes this Paulophobia intractable, though, is that it is institutional or structural or systemic.  Even those media pundits who don’t consider themselves Paulophobic nevertheless suffer from the same condition as those of their colleagues who are chronic Paul haters.   

Institutional Paulophobia is actually more invidious than overt Paulophobia because, being undetected, it is more difficult to discern and weed out.  It is like the air that the media, especially the Republican controlled media, breathes: ubiquitous and, thus, invisible.  

This, of course, isn’t to say that those Paulophobes who are unconsciously Paulophobic are more vicious than those for whom Paulophobia has come to define their very essence.  Fox News contributor and former Democratic fixer Dick Morris, for instance, is a full throated, doctrinaire Paulophobe.  So virulent is Morris’s Paulophobia that he has resorted to spewing outright lies regarding Paul.  The most recent lie—and that it was indeed a lie, and not an honest mistake, is easily gotten from Paul’s recent poll numbers alone—is that Paul routinely does far worse than all of the other Republican candidates against Obama.  Just a couple of weeks ago, Morris said on Fox that Rasmussen shows Obama beating Paul by 20 points

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved is another dogmatic Paulophobe.  Medved is obsessed with not just discrediting Paul as a candidate, but with demonizing him as a person.  According to Medved, Paul is a “neo-Nazi,” a “9/11 Truther,” a “racist,” a “leftist,” a “kook,” and an “extremist.”  Medved irresponsibly refers to Paul as “Dr. Demento” and his supporters as “Paulastinians.”   Irresponsibly repeating Morris’s lie on his show, he insists that Paul is “unelectable.”  Medved’s Paulophobia is fueled by a zealotry for which the constraints of reason and morality are no match.

Unconscious Paulophobes, on the other hand, by virtue of inhabiting the same circles of such rabid Paulophobes as Morris and Medved, essentially just imbibe the party line.  They don’t give much thought to what they have been conditioned to think.  Their intimate, daily association with Paul Deniers prevents them from realizing Paul Denial for what it is—the function of Paulophobia, but another species of raw, undifferentiated irrationality. 

Ron Paul has already scored some amazing achievements.  Perhaps he will, eventually, succeed in weakening institutional Paulophobia.    

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. 

 

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