On March 23, 2015, Ted Cruz declared he was running for president. The next day, March 24, he was on the Today show for a creampuff interview with his wife (until very recently, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a managing director at Goldman Sachs, by the way) and Matt Lauer.
On April 7, 2015, Rand Paul declared he was running for president and he too appeared on the Today show the next day, but it was no creampuff interview. Senator Paul was subjected to a rapid fire attack on his positions, emphasizing apparent inconsistencies in his sound bites over the years. It felt like a set-up and he didn’t like it. I think it was. Watch both videos below and tell me what you think.
I’ve noticed this approach elsewhere in the media on the left and the right – Ted Cruz is treated with respect and Rand Paul is treated with contempt. Did you notice how Matt didn’t talk when Ted’s clip played, while Savannah talked over Rand’s clip, saying: “This is what you need to know about Rand Paul.” Also, Ted was in studio and Rand wasn’t. As Rand pointed out, not being face to face puts you at a great disadvantage because you don’t get “visual cues.” That’s the first thing I noticed about doing radio – it’s so much harder to communicate without visual cues. It’s not an excuse for him, but it did put him at a disadvantage and that might have been intentional. Also curious, the media was apparently laying in wait, launching these gems immediately:
But that’s nothing new, they have been treating him this way for months…Politico: Rand Paul’s Greatest Weakness: It’s Himself. Just seems like they had this new meme in their pockets, ready to go.
The interview was a set-up and there would have been no way for Paul to come out looking great. Either the reporter gets to rattle off everything that could make Paul look bad, putting him on the ropes, or he pushes back and comes off as “prickly.” It’s not the first time this exact thing has happened to Senator Paul. It looked like a set-up last time too: CNBC Tries to Set Up Rand Paul with a Laundry List of Attack Memes – He Fights Back! The scenarios are so similar, it smacks of a deliberate strategy to set-up Paul rather than an observation that he has a “problem” with women in the media.