Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton dedicated his column this weekend (8/29/11) to addressing complaints about the skimpy coverage of Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. It’s hard to argue with the numbers he’s gathered:
Still, the Post‘s coverage of Paul looks thin compared with its stories on Bachmann. In the past six months, the Post has published online or in print 34 staff-written stories plus 12 wire service stories on Bachmann, who has served not even five years in the House, and that doesn’t count the blog posts about her on the Fix or Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker pieces. The Post published 19 staff-written stories on former House speaker Newt Gingrich in that time, plus one wire story and many blog posts. On Paul, a congressman for more than 20 years, who was No. 2 in fundraising after Romney in the last report, the Post has published just three full stories, a couple more that had large sections on him along with other candidates, two wire stories and the Fix blog posts.
Bachmann has a 46-5 advantage over Paul–that’s pretty stunning (and it doesn’t even count Bachmann’s appearances in the Fact Checker column, which is a place you’re likely to read about her). A Post editor assures that more coverage of Paul is forthcoming, and that Gingrich got more coverage because his “campaign imploded when most of his senior staff walked out in June.” You don’t normally hear journalists talking about the need to thoroughly cover campaigns that are in complete disarray.