Why the Old Media Ignore and Demonize Ron Paul

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
By Paul Martin

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

More than thirty years ago University of Rochester economists William Meckling and Michael Jensen authored a thought-provoking article on the sources of “liberal bias” in the media. Being Chicago School-style economists, their thesis was based, naturally, on a rigorous exploration of how the media best pursue their own self-interest, coupled with an analysis of the role of government in shaping that self-interest. In short, their thesis was that government had by that time become so big and pervasive that your average journalist – even local news reporters – relied on government itself and all of its politicians and bureaucrats for most of the information that they “report.” If one is an environmental reporter, for example, one must cultivate relationships with EPA bureaucrats who are the source of the latest news about environmental policy. If one is a labor reporter, one must cultivate relationships with U.S. Department of Labor bureaucrats who are the source of the latest news about labor policy, and so on.

Consequently, any news reporter who is too critical of the government agencies that he is reporting about risks being cut off from his information sources, the lifeblood of his career, which will then be ruined. (A glaring example of this phenomenon is how former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich ordered all of his appointees to refuse to talk to anyone associated with the Baltimore Sun, which had been hyper-critical of him and his administration).

Thus, according to Jensen and Meckling, career self-preservation among journalists requires that they essentially become lapdogs and mouthpieces for the state. They will tolerate and occasionally report about inconsequential and marginal criticisms of the state, such as those made by some of the D.C. “libertarian” think tanks, in order to delude the public into believing that there is actually a public policy debate in Washington. But whenever someone with the views of Congressman Ron Paul appears who challenges the very propriety and existence of any statist central planning institution (such as the Fed), the media will ignore and/or demonize him and everyone associated with his views.

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