Ron Paul NOT excluded from Fox debate

One of the hazards of instant mass communication is that incorrect stories can get distributed immediately. A particular hazard during holiday vacations.

There is NO NH DEBATE on January 6th. Ron Paul was NOT EXCLUDED. That event was canceled three weeks ago.

Ron WILL participate in the January 5th ABC/WMUR GOP debate in New Hampshire.

So, what happened?

Months ago, NH GOP chairman Fergus Cullen had been in touch with FoxNews about a possible forum on January 6th. He had even contacted all the GOP candidates to see whether they were available. However, plans for the ABC debate were finalized with all candidates early in December and Cullen “threw in the towel.” See “OUTFOXED” in the NH Union Leader of December 16th.

At that time, Cullen had not received a response from Ron Paul, who had committed to a conflicting luncheon at the NH Liberty Forum at the same time.

Skip ahead to December 27th, when the Union Leader reported that all candidates had agreed to the ABC/WMUR debate and reporter Garry Rayno added a confusing paragraph about Giuliani finally agreeing to the (canceled) January 6th forum, which had already been converted into a simple state GOP brunch.

Due to the timing of this article, there was no way to confirm who will or won’t attend the brunch, but it is not a broadcast debate and has nothing to do with FoxNews. Nevertheless, a blog in Washington picked up the story, scrambled it and their “BHDC Staff” reported a list of the candidates who would be attending, which did not include Ron Paul (he hadn’t officially confirmed, due to the conflict).
That story was picked up by the AP Newswire, which added some information that it had from a month earlier about the format being discussed.

Finally, the AP article was picked up by Lew Rockwell and passed along to, with all the errors intact. Of course, a firestorm ensued on all the Ron Paul nets before the information could be verified. Immediately, thousands of messages went to FoxNews and the NH GOP protesting the exclusion.

Unfortunately, the Ron Paul campaign didn’t sort out the facts before sending out a news release blasting Fox for their “outrageous” conduct, even if they did note that the information had not been confirmed. From there, the report spread into dozens of blogs and news commentaries.

An unfortunate false alarm. Lesson: Fast news is sometimes “bad” news. Faux News is worthy of criticism for what they have done, not for what they haven’t done. Look before you leap.