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Media Misleads as Ron Paul Gets His First Win in Virgin Islands

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Photo used with permission: Gage Skidmore

Now on his second bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Ron Paul has secured his first ever victory in a state or territory’s presidential nominating contest, a milestone for the Texas congressman and champion of limited government, individual liberty, and the Constitutional rule of law.

Over the weekend, in the U.S. Virgin Islands caucus, Ron Paul took first place with 29% of the vote, Mitt Romney was a close second with 26%, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich statistically tied for last with a 6% and 5% finish, respectively.

Those are the results reported by the Virgin Islands GOP on their website at this page, though the results were taken down in the middle of the day Monday and replaced with a note from the V.I. GOP and a more detailed breakdown of the delegate count after the territory’s caucus. The original text can still be read at Slate on Dave Weigel’s blog where he copy/pasted it in his report on the contest before it was taken down.

But despite originally reporting what was clearly a Ron Paul victory in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the GOP chair announced that Mitt Romney was the winner of the territory’s nominating contest because the governor took more delegates than the Texas congressman. The Associated Press then uncritically announced that Mitt Romney was Saturday’s winner with the headline, “Romney Wins Virgin Islands GOP Caucus,” and their report was parroted by the rest of the mainstream media, including USA Today, NPR, The Sacramento Bee, The San Francisco Chronicle, CBS News, Yahoo! News, and many others.

Ron Paul supporters, including his official campaign blogger, Jack Hunter, are crying foul. Up until now, the media has hardly taken notice of the delegate counts as compared to its coverage of who wins each caucus’ presidential preference contest, and as a universally-applied and accepted convention, when a major news source reports “(Candidate) wins (state or territory),” they have always meant the candidate won the presidential preference poll at that state’s nominating contest, not the most delegates.

Because of this, the AP‘s Virgin Islands headline seems awfully deceptive and abusive of its audience’s trust. Everyone expects and understands headlines like this to mean what they have always meant this entire primary season; otherwise the media is not comparing “like” with “like.” Instead it’s cherry-picking results to suit an agenda. As the Paul blogger claims at the link above, the media abruptly changed its rules in its coverage of the Virgin Islands caucuses, and just so happened to abruptly change them when Ron Paul won the contest that the media has been using to call each state’s victor this entire time up until now– the presidential preference contest. It’s just a little more than curiously suspicious.

At this point, after the mainstream media’s bias against Ron Paul has been scientifically demonstrated and humorously derided, it’s no big leap to interpret the mainstream media’s deceptive reporting as a deliberate and concerted effort to marginalize an increasingly popular political figure who misses no opportunity to slaughter the sacred cows of traditional party dogmas and conventional media narratives. Paul’s supporters can only hope that Jon Stewart has taken notice and has something to say about it once again this time.

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