Much like in 2008, a lot has been made of the lack of media coverage surrounding the 2012 bid of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) despite his second-place showing in the Ames Straw Poll. So Bill O’Reilly wondered Wednesday why Paul won’t come on his show.
“Congressman Ron Paul recently told Megyn Kelly that he’s being ignored by the media. Since Ms. Kelly is part of the media, that was a … pretty interesting statement,” said the Fox News host. “When we heard it though, we immediately invited Ron Paul on the Factor. We don’t want anyone to be ignored. So far he has not accepted our very kind invitation.”
Later on his show O’Reilly asked Fox News analyst Dick Morris, “Wouldn’t you agree that it’s a three-person race right now?” O’Reilly left out Paul: He was referring to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Morris said he didn’t want to count anyone out. O’Reilly later turned the subject back to Paul’s alleged snub.
“He’s whining to Megyn, and then we invited him on and he doesn’t show up?” O’Reilly said.
Paul’s campaign chairman Jesse Benton said a schedule conflict prevented an appearance by the candidate on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“Mr. O’Reilly’s producers invited Dr. Paul last week, but we were campaigning in New Hampshire and it did not fit our schedule. Mr. O’Reilly has a wonderful audience and Dr. Paul has appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” several times over the years. We would be very happy to entertain offers in the future,” Benton wrote in an email to POLITICO.
Paul’s campaign site displays among its media clips the Aug. 16 interview with Kelly that O’Reilly referenced. During that appearance Paul said the press would rather “concentrate on establishment-type politicians” than on him. Incidentally, Paul made an appearance on Fox Business on the same night O’Reilly was calling him out.
A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism helped reinforce the perception that Paul’s media coverage lags. Pew found that Paul received less TV mentions in the post-straw poll coverage and that noncandidates Sarah Palin and Donald Trump have received a greater share of media attention than Paul.