Perhaps a better measure (or in his supporters' eyes, cause) of Ron Paul's failure to gain traction in the Republican primary isn't the news media's blackout on him. There are fewer people talking about him on Twitter and Facebook, too. That's the traditional-media-vs.-social-media comparison M. Alex Johnson is making today at MSNBC.com. He took data from ForSight, a consultancy that culls posts on social networks, and counted the number of Facebook and Twitter posts stating opinions about each of the four remaining GOP candidates in 2012. Ron Paul's 560,000 posts came in last, topped by Mitt Romney's 2.1 million, Newt Gingrich's 1.2 million, and Rick Santorum's 1.1 million.
The social media mentions (sensibly) make for a rough correlation with how the candidates polled thus far into 2012, in which Romney leads, Gingrich and Santorum fight for second, and Paul trails them all. Of course Paul supporters can find faults with this assessment. The data measured above -- the counts on posting making judgements on the candidates -- doesn't show what's being said about Paul, positive or negative. And more importantly: the news media ignoring Ron Paul could help explain why ordinary Twitter and Facebook don't know enough of the candidate to post about him. There is, after all, evidence that that blackout did exist before and after the media briefly treated Paul as a serious candidate in December, until his racist newsletters were publicly scrutinized.