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Will the media let Ron Paul question US foreign policy?


Will the news media let Ron Paul raise serious questions about US foreign policy?

It's a crucial test case not only of the prospects that the media will serve the interests of the 99 per cent rather than the 1 per cent, but of the prospects for a foreign military and economic policy that reflects the values and interests of the 99 per cent, rather than those of the 1 per cent.

Economist and media critic Dean Baker recently posed this question in a forum at Politico. Politico's David Mark convened the forum under the headline, "Can Ron Paul Take a Punch?"

Now that Rep. Ron Paul is a top-tier candidate in Iowa rivals are likely to gang up. They may target the Texan's associations with unsavory characters, or a sometimes less-than-pure libertarian stance on congressional earmarks. Middle East politics could also complicate Paul's presidential bid - he once likened Israel's defensive blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza to "a concentration camp".

Can Ron Paul take a punch?

Dean Baker responded:

The better question is whether the media will allow Paul to raise serious questions about the nature of this country's foreign policy. I recall watching one of the Republican presidential debates in 2008 where the moderator asked whether the president could unilaterally take military action against Iran.

Mayor Giuliani answered first and gave a characteristic Giuliani answer to the effect of the president can do whatever he wants. Governor Romney then gave a conditional this and that answer, and then said that if the question was one of constitutional authority, you would have to call in the lawyers.

At that point, Paul jumped in and said that you don't need to call in the lawyers, you just need to read the constitution; Article 1, Section 8 says that Congress has the power to declare war.

This is the sort of refreshing alternative perspective that Paul brings to the debate. Paul also was instrumental in forcing the Fed to disclose the identity of the banks who received trillions of dollars in subsidized loans at the peak of the financial crisis. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and most of the political establishment insisted that this information had to be kept secret.

It would be really great if the media would give some attention to Paul's ideas and allow the public to make judgments for itself rather than planning how to punch him out if it happens to be the case that the voters in Iowa take him seriously.

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