Was Rand Paul Too Scared to 'Meet the Press'?

Rand Paul, right, and his father, Ron Paul (Washington Post)
Rand Paul, right, and his father, Ron Paul (Washington Post)

Rand Paul Cancels Out on "Meet the Press"

Rand Paul, engulfed in controversy over his views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act 24 hours after he won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, has canceled his scheduled appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


His campaign spokesman "said he was exhausted and just doesn't want to rehash the civil rights stuff anymore," Betsy Fischer, executive producer of "Meet the Press," told Journal-isms on Friday.

She said she appealed to the spokesman, Jesse Benton, asking him to contact her or host David Gregory, but as of 5:30 p.m., the candidate had not changed his mind.

Fischer, who became a political researcher for the program in 1992 and had interned there in college, said she could think of only two other such cancellations: Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who canceled in 1995 on the day of the Million Man March, also pleading exhaustion, and Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khalid, Saudi ambassador to Washington, who canceled at 2 a.m. on a Saturday in 2003. Adel al-Jubeir, a Saudi foreign policy adviser, replaced the prince on three programs that Sunday and said Bandar had been sent on an unspecified mission, the Associated Press reported at the time.

As Barb Shelly wrote about Paul for the Kansas City Star, the news media "won't stop talking about his controversial remarks suggesting he wouldn't have supported the Civil Rights Act had he been in Congress at the time, because it represents government intrusion. (Because of the uproar, Rand issued a statement saying that, actually, he would have voted for the legislation, because racism at the time was 'a stain on the South and our history.' "

Rachel Maddow's Wednesday night interview of Paul on MSNBC received more than 500,000 online video views in just 24 hours, Jeremy Gaines, an MSNBC spokesman, confirmed for Journal-isms.

"I thought I was supposed to get a honeymoon," Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "When does my honeymoon start after my victory?'"


Media writer Michael Calderone asked Friday on Yahoo News: "if Paul's view is controversial enough to dominate cable news and the political blogosphere all day Thursday, how come it wasn't an issue in the month leading up to Kentucky's primary?

" 'It's hard to say why the national media didn't pick it up,' said Bennie Ivory, executive editor of the Courier-Journal. 'It was clearly out there — a major editorial on a really highly visible race.'


"Ivory added that, 'it's just interesting how this thing has evolved in the last 24 hours.' "

Benton told David Weigel, who blogs on conservative issues for the Washington Post, "Rand did Good Morning America today, set the record straight, and now we are done talking about it. No more national interviews on the topic."


Kevin Allocca, MediaBistro: Rand Paul Calls Appearing on 'Rachel Maddow' a 'Poor Decision'

Betty Winston Bayé, Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: Why drain the swamp when you can revel in it?


ColorOfChange.org: Tell Fox: "Fire John Stossel"

Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Making the Argument

Wayne Dawkins, politicsincolor.com: Dashed opportunity in Pa. mean GOP has given up on minority voters?


Eric Deggans blog, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: Fox Business anchor John Stossel mainstreams prejudiced views by saying private businesses should be allowed to discriminate

Editorial, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: Libertarian limits

Emil Guillermo blog: Two Radicals: Times Square suspect Faisal Shahzad and Tea Party victor Rand Paul from Kentucky


Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: How race haunts both Ron and Rand Paul

Media Matters for America: Stossel calls for repeal of public accommodations section of Civil Rights Act


Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Tea party winner stuck on race questions

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Tea partiers taking pages from New Left

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: GOP's Tea Party invite might still be in the mail


Jay Smooth, Ill Doctrine: Atlas Ducked: Rand Paul & the Crouching Weasel Technique (video)

David Swerdlick, theRoot.com: Rand Paul Probably Isn't Racist — Or Libertarian

Edward Wyckoff Williams, theGrio.com: Rand Paul proves Tea Party isn't ready for prime-time


Writer Concedes "Treme" Has "Thin Line" on Language

The new David Simon series on HBO, "Treme," about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, has a lot going for it: The music is one of the stars of the show, it educates viewers about the human dimension of Katrina's tragedy. It has a stellar ensemble cast, and it should provide a smooth career transition for journalist Lolis Eric Elie, a native of the city who took a buyout in December from the Times-Picayune.


It also cusses up a storm. There is no PG version, and while Simon's previous HBO show "The Wire," was set in tough Baltimore neighborhoods where one might argue that profanity was a part of life, Treme features ordinary working people. Episode 6, which aired last week, featured some 36 cases of characters unloading the F-bomb, the S-bomb or some other gratuitous bomb, an average of once every two minutes in the hour-long show.

Journal-isms asked Elie about his work on the show and the language issue.

"I wrote episode 5 and a few scenes in Episode 10, the final one for this season. I'll be back on the job next fall, brainstorming in the writers room and writing another script," Elie replied by e-mail.


"That's the great part about this, the writers room. It reminds me of sitting around with the editors talking about how to cover a big event, or do a series. It's exciting discussing the possibilities. At the end of the day, writing is writing, and it's a lonely business. But collaborating is energizing.

"As for the language issue, I've heard the concern that there is too much cursing from several people, including my father. I'd agree with you that the casual use of foul language coarsens our culture more broadly. It can be too readily acceptable to curse, even in front of older people and authority figures — the very people we used to put on our best behavior for. The show walks a thin line between chronicling reality and also creating an atmosphere where language and action are just a little more clever and exciting that you might encounter on a daily basis. So our language reflects this world that we have created out of the world we live in. It's not our ambition to offend. But hearing this from you will have me checking out the dialog with more sensitive ears."


Cindy Barnes-Thomas, theLoop21: HBO's 'Treme' tackles race, politics and conspiracy after Katrina

Stuart Elliott, New York Times: Bleep or No Bleep, Bolder Words Blow In

Matthew Fleischer, MediaBistro: HBO to Bring David Simon's "Treme" Back for a Second Season


The Onion: New David Simon Project To Investigate Happy, Upper-Middle-Class Streets Of Wilmette, IL (satire)

Clare O'Connor, Columbia Journalism Review: Rhymes with ‘Truck’: Profanity in the press: Why is it such a big fucking deal?