Ron Paul Newsletters: "Reality Check"

The New Yorker is the latest publication to attack Ron Paul for his newsletters. Over a brief period of time in the early 1990s, a handful of Ron Paul’s thousands of newsletters contained offensive passages. It’s highly unfortunate that some short-sighted and opportunistic people sullied Ron Paul’s name this way and it was totally negligent (or similarly opportunistic) of Dr. Paul to let material go out under his name that did not reflect his own views.
Should Dr. Paul be forgiven this transgression? It has been almost twenty years since this misstep and neither before nor after that time have Dr. Paul’s own words or actions shown any sign of the attitude that was presented in these newsletters. As a matter of fact, a video from around the time the controversial newsletters were published clearly shows that Dr. Paul viewed the newsletters as financial and economic in nature with a focus on monetary policy in Washington. The voters must decide the seriousness of the matter and its relevance to Dr. Paul’s candidacy. The media, of course, would like this issue to be a deal-breaker for the Ron Paul campaign–after all, Dr. Paul is not their friend.
The January 27th New Yorker piece by Alex Koppelman, Ron Paul’s Filthy Lucre, claims that Lew Rockwell, “who remains close to Paul,” wrote the offensive articles. Koppelman bases this claim on speculation in a 2008 reason magazine article, Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters? It is hard to believe, however, that Koppelman has not seen the recently revealed photocopies of the main newsletter in question, which clearly shows Lew Rockwell not to be the author. Of the six newsletters that contain offensive statements, one in particular contains most of the incendiary language. This newsletter, though widely cited and reprinted, had always appeared without a “by line,” as if the author were unknown. As early as January 5th, however, the author was revealed: James B. Powell. Although several sites claim this is the same James B. Powell who is a senior editor at Forbes and a fellow at the Cato Institute (and this seems most likely), there is another James B. Powell who is a publisher of investment newsletters even now. I have not found any definitive evidence as to which of these two James B. Powells wrote the newsletters, or if it was a different James B. Powell altogether. In any case, the author is most definitely not Lew Rockwell, nor Ron Paul.
Should Koppelman be forgiven for being negligent or perhaps opportunistic in his article? Perhaps his career should be over. After all, he is a journalist who knowingly or negligently reported something misleading. (I’m going to put a note in my calendar to bring this up again in twenty years, especially if Koppelman keeps his nose clean and turns out to be a good guy, assuming our politics are still different.)
For a more complete version of the Ron Paul Newsletter story, check out the following video, “Ben Swann Reality Check,” which lays out a more complete picture of the Ron Paul Newsletter controversy before the byline was revealed. The second video is a follow up discussing the byline.
And here’s Ben Swann’s follow up after the James Powell byline was revealed.

One comment

  1. Sam says:

    If Ron Paul is such a bigot how has he been so able hide it so well all these years? He has run for reelection numerous times and no other proof of bigotry has been found, why? He is a public servant under the scrutiny of the people and the press and still nothing has been found to substantiate this claim! This country has much greater problems that need immediate addressing, so please show me some proof or move on!

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