There’s a not-so-nice opinionated hit-piece against Ron Paul’s supporters today that’s already gotten a whopping 1,400 comments. Virginia Heffernan — the national correspondent for Yahoo! News — starts mean enough:
Ron Paul, President of the Internet! Hail to the online chief! Four more years!
Ron Paul. Elfin ob-gyn goldbug. Ayn Randian. Foe of war, abortion and government. Texan. Rejector of Medicaid, rejector of Medicare. Climate-change skeptic. Keeper of odd company. Espouser of tendentious views.
In 2012, he’s still kicking back in the Online Oval Office. Ron Paul, commanding the mad and visible support of somebody. Sure he doesn’t fare so well with actual flesh-and-blood voters of majority age who are motivated to drive gas-burning cars and appear with their laminated IDs at three-dimensional voting booths. But you can’t have everything.
Tim Hwang, a researcher of online movements and memes and the managing director of the Web Ecology Project, says that Ron Paul illustrates a fact we often overlook: “The Internet is not coterminous with the real world.” He told me by email, “Like in a rearview mirror communities can be smaller than they appear on the Internet: discussion is often subject to parties who are loudest and can rally the most participants to appear online and participate at that specific moment.”
This time around, for Paul, the Internet rally seems to have been sound and fury signifying little.Paul’s big hopes for Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota were dashed on Tuesday, and he has yet to score a victory in a single contest in this election.
Heffernan — who only began working for Yahoo! News a little over a month ago — then goes on to get it amazingly wrong about the libertarian coverage of Paul’s internal scandals, saying:
And if a blogger in those days dared to criticize Congressman Paul for, say, taking money from card-carrying neo-Nazis or claiming authorship of a newsletter that talked smack about, oh, black people (“I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [Washington, D.C.] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal”) she was roundly creamed by organized commenters.
And sure enough, we’ve covered that slander before with much glee here at HoT.
But here’s my absolute favorite part of her online screed:
Ron Paul’s politics are a natural fit with the frontiersman ideology that drives longtime users of the Internet—especially the pure-hearted ones, trained in the 1990s, who can code, develop online projects, create and curate user-generated content and start digital initiatives. They also happen to be the ones who don’t expect money for their labors.
Now that’s just straight up bullshit. I love making money.
Amazingly, not once does the article do any-damn-thing beyond scratch the surface of Ron Paul’s online appeal. She does it as some kind of marvelous political angle that amounts to little more than throwing rocks at a hornets nest and watching the angry swarm come forth to defend their territory. I’m sure she’ll act super surprised in a few days over the fake “controversy” her article has spawned.
Well Heffernan, good luck keeping
your job up the high level of quality reader engagement at Yahoo! I am certain they enjoy the massive traffic that vapid shit talkers with a cynical outlook generate. Must be great for advertising.
UPDATE: There’s now over 3,400 comments accumulated over at that post. It includes some real gems like George Price who says, “He is fast becoming just another Ralph Nader! Stay involved in ways you CAN make a difference Ron! (unless you plan WAS to get obama elected!)” and Anreas Deleon who writes “Ron Paul is an old, looney, closeted RACIST who will never win the nomination, let alone the Presidency.” There really ought to be a thumbs down button on facebook for such embarrassments to humanity.
The post has also been “recommended” over 3,000 times… and by “recommended” I believe that means the angry swarm of Ron Paul supporters are letting miss hyperbole get a good dose of outraged action. Heffernan’s editors surely will owe her a traffic performance bonus after this salacious article.
For anyone actually serious about following presidential political action, I recommend always looking at current campaign funding (comparing raw numbers) and actual delegate votes on paper (again, raw numbers but at a convention) before opening one’s mouth about a candidate’s chances this election. Anything less is just sensationalist gossip.
UPDATE II: Heffernan is apparently reveling in the infamy and negative vibes her article has generated, and for some reason took to twitter to say something about being a slut:
Hey, she said it, not me.