Two factors distinguished Ron Paul’s coverage this year: its scarcity and its positive nature.
For much of 2012, the tone of Paul’s coverage was more positive than negative. But the glaring lack of attention in the news coverage reflected a media consensus that despite a loyal following and some respectable primary showings, the libertarian-leaning candidate could not capture the Republican nomination.
From Jan. 2-April 15, Paul was a significant figure in only 7% of the campaign stories. That represented about one-eighth of Romney’s coverage and roughly one-quarter of the amount devoted to Santorum and Gingrich.
In only two weeks in 2012 did Paul register in more than 10% of the campaign stories. They were the first two weeks of the year—at 20% and 15%—when he had a solid third-place showing in Iowa (only 3 points behind Santorum) and a second-place finish behind Romney in New Hampshire.