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News that Republican outsider and libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul is picking up steam in Iowa and breaking out of his base of hardcore backers is surprising, if only because Paul is up against an obstacle that even Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann don’t face: the political press doesn’t take him seriously and dismisses his candidacy at every turn.

If Paul does pull off an upset or even a strong second place showing in the caucuses in January, as looks plausible, it will be interesting to see whether the press corps finally starts talking about his candidacy with something other than scornful laughter.

Because even though voters choose the candidates they like best in American electoral politics, the oxygen in our media space is determined by editors and writers at a few hundred media outlets — and if they’ve decided three-time candidate Paul is not “serious,” then he isn’t, if only because he can’t amplify his message except via paid media and events sponsored by activists who already back his campaign.

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Two organizations tracking anti-immigrant advertising say they’ve documented more than 700 such ads leading into the 2022 midterms, including attacks against the Biden administration over a so-called “border crisis” and content designed to undermine a vastly popular pathway to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented communities.

The former is particularly shameless considering two of the previous administration’s worst policies largely shutting down the U.S. asylum system, Remain in Mexico and the debunked Title 42 public health order, are still in effect today. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from lying. And as we get closer to Election Day, we already know it’ll only get worse.

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