Why WaPo Won’t Cover Ron Paul: He Looks Funny, Sounds Funny

The Washington Post‘s series of candidate profiles continues. Today it’s Ron Paul’s turn.

In Joel Achenbach’s main piece (12/15/11), readers learn, in the lead paragraph, that Paul is

not the standard presidential candidate–he lacks the factory-built appearance of Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. He’s thin, bony, a bantam rooster.

Thankfully, the rest of the piece is focused more on substance. But a second article is peculiarly focused on Paul’s looks and the sound of his voice–suggesting that this explains why he doesn’t get much “attention” (which, when reporters say it, should be taken to mean “media attention,” since Paul obviously is attracting the interest of actual voters).

Sarah Kaufman writes (12/15/11):

So why, with his long-held views and an enthusiastic base of support, does Paul get so little attention? It’s not only his anti-establishment message. Part of his acceptance issue is the way he presents himself. As much as he is a refreshing departure from the mold, he also comes across as a gadfly.

Consider if Paul had the heftier, more serious bearing of a Romney or a Gingrich. Would he be so easy to dismiss? In the Darwinian world of public perception, it’s easy to discount what you hear from someone who looks a little smaller, and perhaps a little weaker. Especially when his voice tends to spiral into the upper registers.

Yep, if only he could look like Newt Gingrich–with his “more serious bearing”–then the media would take him seriously. It’s hard to criticize the media when they explain their deficiencies on their own.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.