Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Semper Veritas

So the New Hampshire results are in, and a pair of decent candidates won, reversing the ethanol-fueled debacle in Iowa.

Of the "electable" candidates, Clinton and McCain are probably the best choices. They both have some fairly major flaws, but neither one holds the potential for disaster that Obama (economic) and Huckabee (social, international) portend.

They are far from my favorites in the two big parties, however. That dubious honor would go to Bill Richardson and Ron Paul. Both have strongly libertarian views and records (Paul ran as a libertarian in 1988) in spite of their current party affiliations. Both have a firm grasp of capitalist economic principles and would reduce the size of government dramatically, which is exactly why they'll never get elected.

Richardson's campaign has flatlined (2% in Iowa, 5% in NH) and will no doubt be pulling the plug any day now. Paul isn't about to be elected, but he is drawing respectable support (10%/8%), and so far has had stronger showings than previous front-runner Giuliani or creepy-old-guy-with-30-year-old-hot-wife Fred Thompson.

Yet in spite of this, Fox News decided this past Sunday to host a debate for the Republican candidates, and they excluded Paul. They claim it was due to national polling numbers, but that argument doesn't hold up when Thompson is included. The Republican Party of New Hampshire was so miffed that they withdrew their support for the debate, yet still Fox did not relent.

Now I wouldn't be the first guy to challenge Fox News on their claim of being fair and balanced. But this is just one example of a media giant actively working to influence events rather than simply report them. And who's to stop Fox? Certainly not our well-bribed Congressmen, who in 2007 quickly approved Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of Dow Jones, further expanding his media empire. This merger barely made a blip on Congressional radar, despite the obvious dangers of a single voice reporting the nation's news. Meanwhile, no-brainer mergers like Sirius/XM are held up for over a year because the big money is on the other side.

Democracy is impossible without a free press. But when that "free" press is all paid by the same guy with an obvious political agenda, the truth is harder to find.


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