It is in effect a compliment. They have never faced opposition like ours before, and Ron Paul's tremendous resonance with young people has only made things worse from The Times's point of view. The Times wants opponents who play the game, who accept the presuppositions of the regime, and who are willing to confine themselves to the narrow range of debate to which The Times would prefer to confine the American people. The purpose of articles like the one over the weekend, it should be unnecessary to point out, is not to shed light. It is to demonize and destroy a school of thought that the regime considers threatening.
The article, for instance, notes that Ron spoke on the topic "Do We Live in a Police State?" earlier this month at a Mises Institute event, and that another speaker (me) spoke on "American Fascism." The lecture titles are evidently supposed to be self-refuting, although you can listen to Ron's remarks and read mine and decide for yourself. It's little wonder that the Times would want to ridicule the idea that American society could resemble a police state, given that paper's cover-ups of the regime's surveillance of American citizens.