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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Politics and the media 1 - The United States of America

Freddie Cohen at the end of the last election criticised the biased coverage of the election by the Jersey Evening Post, joining a long list of political figures in Jersey to have done so, for example Guy de Faye three years earlier.
Freddie Cohen finished 6th in the 2011 Jersey Senator Election
The allegation has been made, by a source I will not disclose, that the JEP like to see one 'establishment' candidate ousted each election to perpetuate the illusion of change for the people of Jersey, whilst the power remains firmly in the hands of the same interests.


Indeed when I volunteered for the National Trust for Jersey black butter making, I took the opportunity to speak to some people who had voted for Sir Phillip because I honestly do not know anyone who did. They told me that they felt they had no choice because, 'We needed change'. I agree with them but I do not think that Sir Phillip is likely to bring about any real change. In Jersey politics we know that what is said during an election is unlikely to come to pass and Sir Phillip has shown a remarkable reluctance to accept any change either to the position of Bailiff or to Crown Officers.


I agree there is no need to personalise any criticism, debates should be won by strength of argument and on the basis of available evidence, but people have to be free to point out errors in the way the system works. 


The 'establishment' is not right simply because they are the establishment. I fear that Sir Phillip's definition of change is simply to see less people arguing against the policies of the government in public.


In a subsequent blog I will examine the role of the Jersey Evening Post and consider whether it constitutes a basis for a declaration of incompatibility with Convention rights, but first I want to look at the role of media in other countries.


There has been much debate with regard to the candidacy of 70 year old Ron Paul for the presidential nomination for the Republican Party in the United States and the constant attempts of the US media to sideline his candidacy.
Dr Ron Paul, GOP Candidate for Presidential Nomination 2012


Ron Paul is the standard bearer of the modern Libertarian movement who advocates small government, low taxes and civil liberty or as it is more accurately described freedom from government.


Ron Paul started life as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and practised what he preached; his practice would not participate in any federal health programs, which meant, that they saw all Medicare and Medicaid patients free of charge, and they will be treated just like all of our other patients, but they weren't charged and the practise did not accept federal funds.


"Some of the people would bring chickens, or they would bring vegetables from their garden if they couldn't afford to pay for their obstetrical fee," recalls Richard Hardoin, a pediatrician who used to care for the babies Paul delivered.



A long time interest in economics, particularly the Austrian School, convinced Dr Paul to set up a numismatic company buying and selling gold and silver coins in 1971 when the US cancelled the Bretton Woods agreement (which guaranteed every $35 with one troy ounce of fine gold). He recognised then that this would lead to uncontrolled spending and unlimited inflation - and put his money where his mouth was.


In 1976 he was one of only six representatives to back the candidacy of Ronald Reagan although backed off supporting Reagan once he was elected because he moved away from the position on which he was elected.
Ron Paul does not change his mind. He tells you in advance what to expect and what he says has support throughout the USA.


A close examination of the presidential nomination race identifies that there are two candidates - Mitt Romney a middle of the road guy and Ron Paul. But to read to the media the race has always been Mitt Romney and A.N.Other. First it was Michelle Bachmann who topped the Iowa straw poll just eight votes ahead of Paul but her star waned and Rick Perry became the centre of media attention. Perry himself is now fading fast and so Herman Cain has become the media darling. Cain upon closer scrutiny also is beginning to lose ground and so Newt Gingrich is beginning to be bought in as a replacement. Each wave of media hype brings a candidate to the fore only to see them wane when they are subjected to debate.


Through it all Paul remains consistent across the nation, his support is particularly strong amongst past and present US servicemen and younger voters. His support is consistent and unwavering and most importantly he consistently beats Obama in head to head opinion polls, whereas Romney does not.


You would think that the Republican party would be keen to nominate him, but the media who are funded by Corporate America through advertising revenues, know that he will not be bought and paid for by special interests and lobbyists and thus is a threat to their future revenues. The future of the US media lies in the status quo and so they seek a big government, high spending candidate to oppose the big government, high spending Obama.