Is Ron Paul a Bigot?

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James Kirchick has the Paulites in a fuss. The onetime Marty Peretz assistant (and, some say, political doppelganger) is now a newly-minted TNR assistant editor, and his latest effort is a revealing investigation into Ron Paul’s past.

The basic story, according to Kirchick, is that a bunch of un-bylined newsletters published under Paul’s name (e.g., “The Ron Paul Political Report”) since the late 70s are filled with homophobic, racist, antisemitic, and otherwise distasteful invective; paranoia; conspiracy theorizing; and personal attacks.

(Mother Jones‘ own Josh Harkinson wrote a feature of Dr. Paul that we published online in December. Read it here.)

Dr. Paul, to his credit, quickly issued a response accepting “moral responsibility” for the newsletters but denying he wrote them:

The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts….

…This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

So Paul denies actually writing the newsletters. “A lot of [the newsletters] he did not see,” a spokesman told Kirchick. “Most of the incendiary stuff, no.” That seems awfully convenient, and the argument that there are no bylines and the quotes don’t “sound like” Paul sounds like wishful thinking. After all, the newsletters have names like “Paul’s Freedom Report,” “Ron Paul Political Report,” and “The Ron Paul Survival Report,” and a lot of them are written in the first person, which, as Kirchick points out, implies authorship. Kirchick’s best point is that, whatever the source, the publications “seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him–and reflected his views.”

I’m not sure what to think. It is of course quite possible that the newsletters were, in fact, being published without Dr. Paul’s knowledge or oversight. But even that less-horrifying scenario is enough to makes me seriously question Dr. Paul’s judgment. Combined with the stories about Ron Paul’s connections to neo-nazis, it makes for a pretty scary narrative. Anyway, Kirchick was on MSNBC yesterday to make his case to Tucker Carlson that the Paul campaign’s denials don’t hold water:

Were you convinced?

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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