Perhaps Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Wendell Goler and Carl Cameron don't spend much time on-line. Or maybe, they thought questions about the economy and the recent naval showdown with Iran were more appropriate.
Whatever the reason, the Fox news political team missed a golden opportunity to address a genuine scandal during last night's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. The controversy centers on racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments that have appeared in political and investment newsletters published by one of the debate participants, Texas Congressman Ron Paul. A lengthy article on Paul's publications--and the remarks they contained--was published earlier this week by The New Republic.
We didn't watch last night's debate, but (as judging from press accounts) Brit Hume never asked Dr. Paul about those newsletters and their disparaging comments about blacks, the nation of Israel and homosexuals, among other issues. In other words, Paul got another pass, continuing the curious, kid-glove treatment he's received from the MSM and even some conservative outlets.
For what it's worth, Congressman Paul has denied any role in writing those comments, which appeared in various newsletters bearing his name, beginning in the late 1970s. In a brief conversation with David Wiegel of Reason magazine on Wednesday, Dr. Paul described the publications as "ancient history" and claimed that he no longer has copies of the newsletters. According to TNR, the newsletters were published under four different titles, but each bore Paul's name.
Still, this scandal has legs, and the Congressman's denials simply don't wash. Sultan Knish has examined some of the most inflammatory editions, and finds evidence that Paul must have been the author. As he notes:
Now let's look at the extracts from the newsletters that have been released, specifically let's look at December 1990.
The newsletter calls Martin Luther King a Communist pedophile, Ron Paul has countered that he has a great deal of respect for MLK. And then we scroll down the newsletter to discover the mysterious author of this newsletter at the very bottom as he writes;
My wife Carol and our children and grandchildren join me in wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. May we start to confound the plans of the Trilateralists and other big government types making America freer, and thus truer to her own heritage in 1991.
Now either the "mysterious stranger" writing this had a wife named Carol and lots of grandchildren, or Ron Paul is a liar and is the actual author of the newsletters. The medical reference under the teenage girls sex piece also suggests Ron Paul is the author. There is no break between this section and any of the others. It contains the same sort of loony ranting about conspiracy theories that the rest, disproving Andrew Sullivan's claims that "it just doesn't feel like Ron Paul".
Other references also suggest that the Congressman was an active contributor to his newsletters:
The January 1991 newsletter features the author mentioning another congressman as "my successor" and talking about his experience as "a flight surgeon in the air force" and then afterward launching into another tirade about Martin Luther King. Again this is Ron Paul's record, not someone else. The author is clearly Ron Paul
In that same newsletter the author writes about his time running for President in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket. Ron Paul ran for President in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket. Here it is completely unambiguous that the author is Ron Paul and that he is expressing his own views about Martin Luther King.
In Feb of 1991 the author writes that he voted against "an expensive federal holiday for this man" referring to King. Of course Ron Paul famously voted against recognizing MLK day as a holiday.
In response to The New Republic article, Paul has claimed that the newsletter was actually the work of several writers, and that he played no role in editing the product. If that's true, then Dr. Paul must be the laziest and most irresponsible editor in the history of publishing. Scores of bigoted comments appeared in newsletters that carried his name, but (according to his statement on the matter) Paul was too busy with his medical practice to read his own publications. If you buy that, then you might also be interested in purchasing an oceanfront lot near Phoenix, or a certain bridge in Brooklyn.
Ironically, the newsletter controversy has prompted some on the racist fringe to leap to Paul's defense. Perfunction found some crisis management advice for the Congressman, from a man who once earned a glowing mention in a Paul newsletter. That man is David Duke, the former KKK leader, who has encouraged his followers to support the Texas Congressman.
With friends like that....well, you get the idea.