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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
NewsBusters Dubiously Defends Ron Paul
Topic: NewsBusters

Ron Paul has gained some unusual defenders in the form of NewsBusters, which typically sticks more toward doctrinaire conservatism than Paul's libertarian leanings. And, being NewsBusters, their defense of Paul is not quite honest.

A May 14 post by Noel Sheppard cheers Paul for making MSNBC's Chris Matthews "look rather silly" for asking about the public accomodation provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sheppard twice asserts that Paul's son, Rand Paul, gave an "honest libertarian answer" to the question last fall, after which "the media pounced on him as a racist," but he never describes what that "honest libertarian answer" actually was -- which is that Rand Paul said he opposed forcing any business to serve anyone they don't want to serve.

Rather than explicitly explain the position of both Pauls, Sheppard rants that "MSNBC's goal is to make every Republican presidential candidate look racist" and attacked Matthews as an "Obama-loving sycophant."

The next day, Sheppard again came to Paul's defense, claiming that "the George Soros-funded organization Think Progress falsely accused Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tx.) of comparing Social Security and Medicare to slavery." In fact, Think Progress stated that Paul "claimed that letting Social Security and similar programs to move forward is just like permitting slavery" -- which, as the transcript of Paul's appearance shows, is exactly what Paul did by noting that courts have upheld the constitutionality of Social Security as they did slavery. But Sheppard was too invested in his straw man to change course now:

Anyone with even a room temperature intelligence quotient would understand that Paul's point was a court in 1937 finding Social Security constitutional doesn't necessarily mean that's the case.

There have been many laws that were upheld by one set of Supreme Court justices only to be overturned by another years later. Slavery of course was one of them.

With this in mind, Paul was by no means equating Social Security and Medicare to slavery. He was instead saying that in his view, the Supreme Court finding in 1937 was wrong, and used slavery as an example of when the Court was similarly so.

Sheppard isn't the only Paul defender at NewsBusters. Matt Hadro complained that CNN aired a clip of Conan O'Brien "mocking Paul's presidential bid." Hadro huffed:

Perhaps if CNN thought Paul to be such a "fringe" candidate as to merit mockery, they could have provided some comic relief before the 2008 election at the expense of left-wing "fringe" candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Instead, they granted Kucinich plenty of air-time to express his proposal to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.

Hadro might want to look into the comedy segments that end Fox News' "Special Report," many of which tilt pro-conservative or anti-liberal. And we don't recall Hadro complaining when Kucinich was all over Fox News suggesting that President Obama's approval of military action in Libya was an impeachable offense.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 AM EDT

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