Hike the Campaign Trail via Email!

Friday, December 30, 2011

INFURIATING

What I just read is absolutely unbelievable. I've read a lot of media Ron Paul bashing, but this one might just take the cake. The following headline has been on the front page of CNN.com for 9 hours:

"In book, Paul criticized AIDS patients, harassment victims."

It was accompanied by two unflattering pictures of Paul scowling. This is the link to the article:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/30/in-early-book-rep-ron-paul-criticized-aids-patients-minority-rights-and-sexual-harassment-victims/?hpt=hp_t1

The book they're referring to is his 1987 book "Freedom Under Seige: The U.S. Constitution after 200+ years. The author of the article, Peter Hamby, writes:

"Paul wrote that AIDS patients were victims of their own lifestyle, questioned the rights of minorities and argued that people who are sexually harassed at work should quit their jobs." - Hamby


I am literally shaking right now I am so outraged by these intentional misrepresentations. If this were an editorial, a statement like that would be a borderline stretch of the truth done for rhetorical appeal. But it is not an editorial, it's portrayed as fact; it is on CNN's Political Ticker which gives updates on recent political news. Let's compare that statement to the facts of what Ron Paul actually wrote, shall we? As quoted in the article, he writes:


1. "The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim - frequently a victim of his own lifestyle - but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care" - Paul

Saying that AIDS is "frequently" caused by ones own lifestyle is NOT the same as "criticizing" AIDS patients. And by omitting the word "some", Hamby makes it seem that Paul wrote that ALL AIDS patients were victims of their own lifestyle. He did not say that either! He didn't even say a majority, he said "frequently". Which is of course true. AIDS is transferred through sex, and people who have free unprotected sex increase their chances of getting AIDS. That is not a "criticism", it is an observation.

Imagine if he had said "victims of lung cancer are frequently a victim of their own lifestyle" in reference to smoking. Would it then be appropriate to write an article with the heading "In book, Paul criticizes cancer patients"? Of course not! That would be absurd! He was not criticizing them, he was not saying all of them have only themselves to blame. He was saying, as a DOCTOR no less, that a lifestyle of unprotected sex "frequently" leads to AIDS, just as a lifestyle of smoking frequently leads to lung cancer. But since AIDS has a colored political history and many people view Republicans as homophobes, the front page statement "Ron Paul criticizes AIDS patients" will of course contribute to the unfounded notion that he is a bigot. This is obviously on purpose.



2. "Until all these terms [referring to group-rights terms like "Hispanic-rights", African-American-rights", "childrens-rights", "employees-rights" and "homeless-rights"] are dropped and we recognize that only an individual has rights the solution to the mess in which we find ourselves will not be found...Every year new groups organize to demand their 'rights.' White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus, demonstrating the absurdity of this approach for achieving rights for everyone." - Paul
Once again, the CNN article is misleading, if not an outright lie. Paul was not "questioning the rights of minorities", he was questioning that minorities have MORE rights than others! He is 100% correct for doing so. He is very clear that everybody, regardless of race or age or job status, has equal rights AS AN INDIVIDUAL. It is the notion of clustering people into groups and assigning rights based on those groups which he criticized. If the heading had read "Ron Paul criticizes those who give out additional rights based on race", it would have been accurate - but much less controversial. Most of the other Republican candidates would probably agree with that statement. But CNN is clearly not interested in presenting Paul's ideas as they were written, it is interested in presenting his ideas in whatever way will make him seem like a racist. Headings that read "Ron Paul...questioned the rights of minorities" at best assumes the opinion that they do have more rights than others, and at worst make it appear that Ron Paul doesn't think minorities deserve the same rights as everyone else. Which is the polar opposite of what he was actually saying. Which is, of course, on purpose.

3. "[a business owner should have the power to] control property and run his or her business as he or she chooses...Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity...Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable." - Paul
Once again this is also not the same as "criticizing sexual harassment victims", and once again when taken in context Paul's quotes make sense. If somebody walks into your house, on your property, and says something you find offensive or that makes you uncomfortable or even requests a sexual favor, you have every right to demand that he shut up or leave and call the police. He is on your property. But if you are at work, on your employer's property, freedom of speech means that he ought to be able to say whatever he wants, even things which most people find disgusting or offensive. Just as you can say whatever you want in your house. Nobody has a right to not be offended. If anybody within earshot of what you say in your home doesn't like it, they are free to leave. And if any employer who chooses to work there is made uncomfortable by something their boss says, they are free to leave too. 
Paul was CLEARLY NOT defending sexual harassment; he even says "obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended". What he WAS defending was your right to say whatever you like on your own property. What Paul was criticizing was CLEARLY NOT those who have the misfortune of being harassed. What he WAS criticizing was the notion that government is justified in telling people what they may or may not say on their own property, and those who try to get their boss arrested for saying offensive things instead of just quitting. Just because some sexual harassment victims do choose to take their bosses to court instead of quitting, and thus do invoke a power of government which Ron Paul opposes, does not mean Paul was criticizing those who are harassed. It means he was criticizing those who file "civil rights" lawsuis for that harassment. That is a big difference.
Imagine the case of the military families and the Westboro Baptist Church. Paul, like most sane people, despises the Westboro Baptist Church and is deeply offended by what they say. But Paul, like many people, also feels they should be free to say it if they like, regardless of whether or not it offends the families of military victims. He does not believe that government should be able to censor that speech, and does not believe that the families of military victims should be able to file suit demanding that they censor it. So would it be appropriate, then, to run an article with a heading claiming that "Ron Paul criticizes the Families of Military Victims"? No! That's terribly misleading! So is saying he criticizes sexual harassment victims, and like the other two examples, it is misleading on purpose.

I am deeply saddened by these unabashed and intentional misrepresentations, but I am not surprised by them. We all know that Paul would be viciously attacked whenever he climbed up in the polls and became a threat to the other candidates. And we all knew that the media has tried to black him out and attack him for a long time before this. Probably as a consequence of these attacks, Paul's support has fallen 2% points in recent days and he is now ranked in second place in most polls. But unfortunately, it will probably fall more. We've known that if Paul is to win, it will be despite the media, not because of it. Our only hope is for people to see through it.

No comments:

Post a Comment