There is an interesting controversy out of the Republican debates where Rep. Ron Paul was given just 90 seconds to speak during a 90 minute debate. I have never hidden my admiration for Paul for his courageous positions on issues like torture and his opposition to the various wars. What is particularly troubling is that Paul used his limited time (as did John Huntsman) to speak out against torture. We have previously discussed whether the mainstream media is actively marginalizing the candidate. On this occasion, however, it appears to have been an intentional decision by CBS in the South Carolina debates.
A study cited below by the University of Minnesota last month “confirmed that Ron Paul had been given the least speaking time out of all the Republican candidates during the debates, even less than the likes of John Huntsman and Rick Santorum, who have routinely been beaten by Paul in national polls.”
Supporters are also citing an email inadvertently sent to Michelle Bachmann’s campaign in which a CBS staffer referenced how Bachmann’s campaign had made representatives available for an after-debate webshow. In the email, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson responded by saying, “Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else.”
Likewise, supporters are still smarting over an exchanged between Politico’s Roger Simon and CNN host Howard Kurtz after the Iowa straw poll where Paul basically tied for first with Bachmann. Simon dismissed Paul as relevant and said “we’re gonna ignore him.” Kurtz responded by saying “We are in the business of kicking candidates out of the race.”
Of course, at least Republican have debates and choices. These debates have proven highly useful for voters in sorting out candidates. Democrats will get no debate and no choice. Despite great opposition to Obama from civil libertarians and other groups, the Democratic National Committee and process is a lock for Obama and voters will be given no other options but to vote for him or choose a Republican or third-party candidate.