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Mark Jeffrey

Mark Jeffrey

Posted: May 17, 2007 01:44 PM

Ron Paul: Internet Celeb?


Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is far and away the most popular on the Internet. Yet, despite his massive online lead, the mainstream media has barely managed to cover him at all.

On 5/14 and 5/15, Ron Paul was the #1 most-searched-for term on blog search engine Technorati. On post-debate polls on ABC.com and MSNBC.com, Ron Paul was voted the winner of the debate by a wide margin. In the past week, Ron Paul's website received more traffic than those of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards (Obama only recently took the lead by a hair). His videos are among the most-viewed on YouTube and popular social news site Digg.com is literally choked with Ron Paul-themed articles and comments.

So what's going on here? Why is there such a disconnect between the Internet and the mainstream media? Whether you are a fan of Mr. Paul or not, his apparent non-coverage is an extraordinary story just by itself.

The so-called professional media has failed us miserably in recent years. The White House Press Corps --with a few notable exceptions-- has shown a distinct lack of vertebrae in holding our leaders accountable. Instead, it has been the voices of the Internet that have stepped in with courage and fearlessness and demanded real answers. Blogs (like HuffPost and others), YouTube videos, podcasts and other media are already more trusted by many than mainstream media outlets. It is interesting that all of these are seeing something in Ron Paul that CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC and others are glossing over.

If the Internet is any sort of democratic media organ, Ron Paul is not a marginal figure. Instead, he is (gasp) a frontrunner. That's right: he's apparently got more cred online than any other candidate. Remember, You were Time's Person of the Year, largely because You blogged, You uploaded videos, and You decided that you were a media mogul also, every bit as important and credible as the mainstream media. And You are speaking loudly that this Paul guy interests you, that he is in fact more important than Hillary, McCain, Giuliani or even Obama.

At the very least, the mainstream media ought to cover him more than they have. There's something going on with this guy, he's touched a nerve out there. We ought to hear more about him.

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