As Texas Congressman Ron Paul gears up for a vital turn in his presidential campaign this week, a study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) lends credence to what many followers have long suspected: Even with a strong presence in several polls, Dr. Paul is being marginialized by the mainstream media at large.
According to Pew's study of the news media's narrative of Dr. Paul, it found that he received the least coverage of any presidential candidate overall. Their data examining coverage of many publications showed that he ranked dead last, No. 10, among all the Republicans whose coverage PEJ examined. Along with this ranking, he appeared as a primary newsmaker in only 2% of all election stories in the "traditional" media. As Pew noted, Paul was eighth in the percentage of campaign stories in which he was a significant presence, mentioned in at least a quarter of the story.
It was only from the month of July and beyond that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received less coverage than Paul did. When the mainstream media's current narrative is supposedly driven by what various polls indicate, their dismissal of a candidate like Paul, who holds a top tier status, is quite puzzling- especially in light of the rise and fall of media-anointed candidates like Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Despite the Establishment media not acknowledging Paul as a serious candidate, he continues to make a strong showing in several major polls. In September, Dr. Paul placed a solid third in a USA Today/ Gallup Poll. A CNN/ORC poll also showed him to be in third place. The Congressman has even been successful in driving his supporters to straw polls in California and at the Conservative Political Action Conference, winning both.
Dr. Paul has sustained quite a bit of momentum in October as well. He's placed third in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely Republican voters, continuing his string of strong finishes. As another presidential debate approaches tonight in Las Vegas, a Project New West Poll places Dr. Paul in 4th place in the field of current candidates.
Worth noting in PEJ's monitoring of the media's coverage of the presidential candidates is Dr. Paul's strong favorability in the blogosphere. 48% of the blogging conversation about him has been "positive" compared to 15% "negative" and 38% "neutral." For the Congressman, the internet has been a powerful tool for supporters looking to break past the controlled narrative of the Republican field. And despite being the least covered candidate, Dr. Paul's continued ability to mobilize a mass movement of small donors is what makes his "Money Bomb" fundraising stategy a constant sucess.
With this in mind, Dr. Paul could very well be the Internet Candidate that independent-minded voters have been seeking. Despite attempts from the media to keep Paul silent, the voting public could be on the verge of witnessing a revolution that's not going to be televised.