Jon Stewart on the unabashed Republican and Fox News bias against Ron Paul. Congressman Paul’s conspicuous treatment (or lack thereof) at the hands of conservative pundits and the conservative media is especially curious considering the popularity of the so-called Tea Party. Ron Paul, perhaps more than any other politician, has indefatigably and consistently argued for the well-established merits of the free market and the implementation of greater fiscal discipline in government operations & a revision of the Federal tax codes, causes to which Tea partiers have paid much lip service. As Stewart says, Ron Paul is Tea Party ‘patient zero’ who ‘planted the seed of the grass root movement.’ (I would argue that the Tea Party is no more libertarian than George W. Bush, but whatever.) It is only after the (what I consider) empty popular uprising termed the ‘Tea Party’ have politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney, to name only three, jumped on the limited government bandwagon.
Media bias is to be expected; in fact, I think, given the varied sources of information available, media bias is beneficial; but the mistreatment of Ron Paul by the conservative media is pernicious. Paul is by far the most- indeed, the only- ideologically consistent politician of the two primary parties, yet he is a man without a home, so to speak. As a libertarian (I would wager I am probably more militant in my libertarian political philosophy than Paul- at the end of the day, I self-identify as an anarcho-capitalist), I can empathize with Paul here. Libertarian social policy is, if consistent with its starting principles, far more ‘liberal’ than its progressive counterpart’s, while libertarian economic policies are far more consistent with free markets than the economic policies of social conservatives, and thus libertarians are often erroneously identified as ‘conservaitve’. Hence, social conservatives are apt to view libertarians as too liberal and liberals are apt to view libertarians as too conservative. Nevertheless, insofar as the media do not present Paul, despite his obvious popularity, on an even platform, they are snuffing out what ought to bloom into a fruitful philosophical discussion: broadly, the nature and proper role of government. Representative Paul does not equivocate, alter his views per the whim of his audience, and does not shy from poignant discourse. His counterparts, however, run the standard politician line and provide one empty slogan and ambiguous catchphrase after another. What the media are doing is unethical and really ought to be denounced.