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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

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Should Ron Paul be allowed at Sunday's debate?

There seems to be a debate going on between Fox News and New Hampshire Republicans over precisely who will participate in this weekend's presidential debate.

Rumor has it that online fundraising sensation and Texas congressman Ron Paul and San Diego congressman Duncan Hunter will be excluded because their N.H. poll numbers are not in double digits, although Paul's fourth quarter fundraising numbers were way into double digits, nearing $20 million, according to his website. In the first 240 minutes of the new year, nearly $11,000 more came in.

Over the weekend a Fox News spokeswoman told Top of the Ticket that the New Hampshire Republican Party was making the choice of candidates to participate in the televised GOP presidential debate on Jan. 6 with Chris Wallace moderating. She even provided the chairman's e-mail: to confirm that. Alas, the chairman never responded to us.

Then, on Monday, that state party chair, Fergus Cullen, issued a statement saying that limiting candidates was not in the party's tradition, suggesting the media should not be in the ....

business of excluding serious candidates and talks were continuing with Fox.

So whose decision is it?

Understandably, neither side apparently wants to incur the online wrath of Paul's passionate parishioners, who scour the Internet around the clock and descend like locusts on any opportunity to praise Paul or right perceived wrongs on any website or blog they can find. If word got out that Fox/News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch's e-mail was, his mailbox would be full in a flash.

Paul's supporters have set up a special protest website to marshal support, as well as urge his fervent followers as follows:

"We need to send a message to Fox's Rupert Murdoch & his fellow Neocon buddies that he is not Musharraf and the U.S. is not Pakistan, yet!  Fox News cannot just stifle public opinion, debate and impact a primary election by excluding Ron Paul just because they don't like his message of freedom and liberty. Cover them up with e-mails and they will just say it was a mistake or miscommunication.  Be respectful as all of the e-mail addresses below are just employees trying to keep their jobs with the world's largest media monopoly."

The mainstream media -- or msm -- are a particular target of Paul's vociferous followers, an eclectic mix of libertarians and disaffected Republicans, Democrats and, until now, non-voters. Outspoken to say the least, they disregard stories like this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one. They believe that major newspapers and broadcast networks have conspired to pay insufficient attention to Dr. Paul, a 72-year-old ob-gyn and 10-term House member, citing his low numbers in polls, which Paulites believe are self-fulfilling frauds designed to cause voters to invest their votes in more traditional candidates with a seemingly more realistic chance of winning.

Only when these followers, led by a mysterious amateur musician and fundraiser, began making their average $100 campaign donations by the thousands last fall, setting a new one-day online record in excess of $6 million and making Paul the only Republican candidate to increase his donations every quarter in 2007, did the media begin paying attention. But no amount of attention seems sufficient for Paulites, who complain when there is no coverage and then complain again about any coverage they do get. Watch the comments section below.

They gather in chatrooms and more than 1,200 meet-up groups across the country to paint signs, write letters, organize marches and protests, support each other and otherwise promote the Ron Paul Revolution, which they believe will arrive when primary voting starts.

Some 300 young Paul supporters have been in caucus-training camps in Iowa in recent days and are shooting for maybe a stunning third-place there ahead of more famous fellows like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. And they hope to possibly do even better in New Hampshire where the state slogan "Live Free or Die" would seem to lend itself to their cause.

But first fights first. Iowa this Thursday. The Fox forum on Sunday. Then on to New Hampshire and beyond, carrying Dr. Paul's antiabortion, antiwar, strict constitutionalist banner.

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (465)

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A very happy New Year to all of you.

Ron Paul only wants to free America of the Nazi mentality of a tiny minority who will still continue to be rich anyway. "Near Elite", don't tell yourself that you are afraid of that...

Thank You Fox!

Think Ron Paul can't win? To quote Gandhi "FIRST THEY IGNORE YOU, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"! Thanks to the Fox decision to exclude Ron Paul from the Jan 6th "debate" he is gaining priceless publicity and support from people who see the Fox tactic for what it is. The days of creating enemies faster than we can kill the will end when Ron Paul is elected President!

I am amazed that so many supporters of Ron Paul are so upset that an private organization has decided upon criteria to choose who, considering this organization's limited resources, should be included in it's debate. I am also amazed at the calls for government involvement be brought to investigate the decision.

As a former Libertarian Party National Committee member, a former LP State Chair, and a Ron Paul supporter I fully support any private organization to make any decision it deems necessary with our government interference If you study the poll used to make the decision, see at, you will see that 67% of respondents don't have enough information to respond favorably or unfavorably to Dr. Paul's candidacy

In my humble opinion, we, Dr. Paul's supporters, must take some responsibility for this lack of information amongst the general public. We've done a great job on the web but how many people take the effort to become informed.

May I suggest that instead of appealing to the 'power brokers' we just ignore them and reach out to the individual voter. Get literature in their hands. Hold events to promote his candidacy Create an environment where the press will be attracted and will want to cover our events.

I'm sorry to say this but we just need to stop whining and just get busy! Fox has done us a favor - let's wake up and make sure every one we know knows how much we love the man and want him to be our President!

As a Ron Paul supporter, I think his being banned by Fox News at exactly this time could be great!

Fox News stacks their audiences with people who cheer at war wongering and boo Paul's correct responses anyway. With Ron Paul surging in the polls in Iowa and NH, I'm really looking forward to Friday morning seeing all the news stations reporting on his 3rd-place finish in Iowa ahead of McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson. Then at the debate, Fox News will show it's standard five candidates, but all the other networks will be focused on the throng of Ron Paul supporters protesting outside of the studio, and will point out the hypocrisy of Fox News inviting three people who just got beat by Ron Paul!

I love Ron Paul and hate FOX news. I kind of hope he is excluded and then the Liberty Forum gains more attention. My question is Why did the NH Liberty Alliance and Free State Project not invite any of the other presidential candidates? Ro Paul is the only one welcome at that event. FOX just will just ignore Ron any way or try to marginalize his views and denies his support. So who cares who the Entertainment news network thinks should be included., Ron just needs to get NH people to come hear him speak and get another network to cover him. That is how free markets work and I do not think Dr. Paul thinks he is entitled to be on their show. He just knows that they are a fraud if they do not include him the rest of the world need to see this news source as the fraud that it is too.
Nice article good fair news reporting.

I hope the Times posts the email link of one of their beloved gone astray, even when it goes against their (Times) political machinations.

Don't hold your breath.

(FYI, each writer's e-mail is published with their story in the LA Times.)

America hasn't been waiting for Dr.Paul - Dr.Paul has been waiting for America.

It's now or never.

You know, I was outraged when Ralph Nader was forcibly excluded from a debate in California in 2004 -- even though he had a ticket to attend. Not only did the organizers not want him to speak, *they didn't even want him in the audience.* How much more evidence do you need that the Dems and the GOP are simply one face with different names, completely united against idealogies they can't control. They have literally taken away our democracy by allowing media monopolies to flourish. The press used to have an obligation to the people to be a watchdog for their freedom and for ours. No more. Now they are simply a lapdog for the rich cartels who run the US. Fox News is only the worst of the goosestepping bullhorns. Don't be surprised that they're trying to exclude Ron Paul now.

I wonder what would have happened if more of you were outraged at the treatment of Nader back in 2004? "I may not like what you have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" -- a basic American value, no?

" They believe that major newspapers and broadcast networks have conspired to pay insufficient attention to Dr. Paul, a 72-year-old ob-gyn and 10-term House member, citing his low numbers in polls, which Paulites believe are self-fulfilling frauds designed to cause voters to invest their votes in more traditional candidates with a seemingly more realistic chance of winning. "

Not for nuttin' Andrew,
but I could cite an obvious ( to a Paul supporter that is) example of this from as recently as Sunday Morning.
On Meet The Press, Tim Russert announced the latest poll numbers from Iowa, using what he called the "McClatchy" poll (which I believe is also associated with MSNBC).
He had the top 5 listed, with Guiliani at the bottom with 5 percent.
So I went online to look up that poll, and sure enough everything was just as Russert had said - with one exception - Ron Paul ALSO had 5 percent, but for some reason this was unworthy of mention.
It's little things like this attempt to suppress name recognition that is part of what Paul's supporters are complaining about.

Instead of wasting time watching the non-debate, use the time to call your friends and tell them why you support Ron Paul.

btw - this debacle shows the Democrats made the right call when they refused to participate in a Fox News debate. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch have their own agenda, and it has nothing to do with informing American voters.

You forgot to mention that Ron Paul supporters also have a fun sense of humor. Enjoyed your article.

(You're right, many do. P.S. Some don't. Same as any other group.)


Ron Paul is a man of integrity. Ron Paul has been my choice but I was swayed by the mainstream media into believing he could never win, so I changed my mind. Well, I changed my mind back and I fully support Ron Paul for President!

Here in TN Ron Paul has had over 100 people apply to be GOP delegates. Thompson has had the 2nd-most, with 70-something and he is a former Senator of this State!

I did not like that you last line simply said that Paul was antiabortion. Many will mistakingly believe that Ron Paul wants to pass a Federal ban on abortion-which as you know is not the case. It would of been more fair and accurate to not just label him as antiabortion. He believes that abortion is a state issue and should handled at the local level. As president, he would not endorse any laws for or against abortion.

I am disappointed :-(

Referencing other Ron Paul stories in the L.A. Times is not a good indication of fair mainstream media coverage. For one, the L.A. Times is not a mainstream TV network. Secondly, the L.A. Times is not a major political newspaper.

Do a Google News search for Ron Paul and anybody can see a big difference in the types of news organizations covering Ron Paul stories, as opposed to the ones covering the "chosen" candidates.

(What are you talking about? This is news to you that the L.A. Times newspaper is not a TV network? I'm not making ANY argument for mainstream media. Could care less about that. I'm about just this blog. It ain't mainstream media. And you can come. Or you can not come. Either way, can't stop you. We're here around the clock. Welcome and thanks for reading.)

There's always one crackpot candidate, usually libertarian. If 10% is the cutoff, then so be it, spend some of that money to get your numbers up RP.

Go Ron Paul!

Win, lose or draw, he's the only one that has ever inspired me to be interested in politics. That's worth its weight in GOLD.

Truthfully, nothing Andrew says in this article is untrue. He definitely has a tenor about his writing, but people (and I mean us Paul supporters) - THIS IS A BLOG! It's akin to a form of entertainment.

I enjoy reading Andrew's take on us and can certainly absorb his gentle ribbing of us Ron Paul supporters. We should chill out a little and act like we live in the real world, not some journalistic utopia where we feel everyone should kiss Ron Paul's ass. We are, after all, champions of the First Amendment.

If Fox excludes us, they exclude us. They'll suffer the consequences, and it would behoove another big media outlet to take steps to counter their decision, i.e. a Paul-only town forum type of hour a la Phil Donahue.

Is this a free society ? Is the freedom of speech or freedom of opinion DEAD ?
It is an Unamerican not to let Mr. Paul perticipate. Shame on the organizers. They are nothing but hypocrate. Fox noise claim them fair and balanced. Fox noise is unfair and totally unbalanced. No wonder it is a noise channel, instead of news channel

Dearest Fox News,

Fox News (Faux News) showed their true colors once again. I have now made it a steadfast goal to withdraw all funds invested in every stock, company or fund that has any affiliation with FOX. Of course this will not hurt your mega monopoly over information. You cannot stop what is happening here. No matter how hard you try, no matter how aggressive you are. The truth presses on in the hearts of all free men and women. FOX news, this will surely destroy your already tarnished credibility. Your channel is merely a speaker box for the Bush administrations regime, just as Goebbels was the speaker for Hitler. You spin the news, tell the lies and focus on everything un-important. I thank you for this however. You have given more fuel to an already raging fire of passion among the freedom loving Ron Paul supporters. We are now motivated more than ever to spread this message of which you are so desperately afraid. Our image and message is being vindicated by your obvious bias and overt censorship of truth. You can silence Ron Paul, but you will never silence his message. The message of liberty, freedom, and justice lives on and will live on Por Aeternum in the hearts and minds of all who come after us. This movement is a change in the seasons of America. We have chosen to throw off the yoke of tyranny and oppression brought on to us by the corporate elites and the military industrial complex. We have chosen our path and it is freedom NOT slavery. You cannot have our dollars, our time, our land or our lives. You are a mere pox on this nation, a laughing stock of what free press really is.

Ron Paul has the audacity to suggest Americans grow up and deal with the world in an adult manner, which of course makes him a radical.

Best to just stick with the candidates our Corporate Masters have already chosen for us.

Sleep America, sleep.

This seems to be unconscionable for FOX to do at this early stage.

As has been mentioned, the last USA/Gallup poll conducted on December 19th it showed Ron Paul at 9% tied for 4th with Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson was in last with 4%. Giuliani was at 11%, Paul was within the margin of the error at that being at 9%.

So even the polls that underestimate the young support of Ron Paul is accurate, Ron Paul could finish 3rd in New Hampshire. This is a New Hampshire debate, but Huckabee, Giuliani, and Thompson are invited.

As succinctly stated on Ron Paul's website . . .

"Given Ron Paul’s support in New Hampshire and his recent historic fundraising success, it is outrageous that Dr. Paul would be excluded [....] . “Dr. Paul has consistently polled higher in New Hampshire than some of the other candidates who have been invited [to the upcoming FOX debate]"

Looking forward to vote Ron Paul in 2008-!

I saw the other candidates having a snowball fight with George Bush. It was like they were all buddies or something? Check it out at the URL above:

Live Free or Die!!! Vote Ron Paul!!!

I am a middle-aged life long republican, fiscal conservative -- and all else follows from that-- and I am a Ron Paul supporter. Yes, i occasionally am monitoring the dino media for their treatment or lack of it for Ron Paul. Thank you for the article and exposure of the fox-denial. We will win, Vote Ron Paul!

I don't think any candidate forum before the first primaries should exclude any major candidates, but if they do, they should have objective criteria in place beforehand. ABC did this for their debate, but Fox is leaving the rules murky.

How can they include Fred Thompson, when he is polling below Ron Paul in New Hampshire? How can they include Rudy Giuliani, when he is polling below Ron Paul in Iowa? Obviously they are using national polls, but voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have been paying a lot more attention.

All of the polls are clearly suspect, though. Ron Paul has raised over $19.5 million from over 150,000 supporters in the past three months. He has more volunteers on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire than anyone. Clearly he is running a major campaign, with plenty of active support, regardless of what the polls say.

Hello, Let me say too all TRUTH will win out DR. Ron Paul is the light in the end. Faux bias. Let me ask ? Who is NOT a member of CFR and then the ? will be answered Peace Out

I don't agree with Dr Paul on his position on the tax code, but on most of the other issues I am in lock step with him. If, in fact, Fox does not give a place in this weekends debate it will be llike cutting off your nose to spite your face. It will definetly backfire on them fairly and unbalanced.

For the record, I always say thank you when a reporter is fair on Ron Paul's views. The problem is that many aren't. Many mis-inform the public in the smallest ways, most likely untentionally... It matters to me because I fear if we don't get a honest politician in office NOW we'll be looking much worse than many third world countries.

Please understand, we are fanatical because we are worried and are holding on to our last grasp of hope.

Thank you.

The fact of the matter is general media coverage has been co-opted; either directly or by corporate decision on "bottom-line". No serious debate will ever be seen on TV or heard on radio, but when they do Ron Paul and if qualified, Duncan Hunter deserve to be included. If that means more air time has to be spent to provide adequate time for responses, etc., then so be it.

Bottom line for me, however, means It is up to the voters to let others know their candidate's qualities and positions. It is up to the voters to spread the word and not rely on "The Press" which has "its own agenda" as one writer above wrote. For me, it is Ron Paul, and I will take that to the limit - meaning I will be campaigning by email, phone, in person to anyone available to me and encouraging their vote for him EVEN TO THE ACT OF WRITE-IN FOR PRESIDENT! This is no holds barred. Corporate interests run the media and most of the Gov't. Individual action is the only way around it.

There's little doubt that the current configuration of the GOP is neither big tent nor conservative. Supporters like the Fox Network have clearly shown they are neither fair nor balanced. This is all quite bad for Republicans because they desperately need to break away from the neocon mob and move back towards a Reaganesque Conservatism.

Ron Paul is a legitimate candidate and his followers all part of the Republican movement. By obstructing this candidacy and these supporters, there is a denail of service being perpetrated in the GOP itself. It can only serve to help the Democrats.

But if the Ron Paul supporters are right, this is no longer a left vs. right battle. This is about sustaining the corporate good-old-boy network in Washington and for that, Hillary is as good as McCain, Giulianni or Huckabee.

GREAT ARTICLE!! I is going to get an email from me!!

I've already heard a lot of buzz going around that RP supporters going to very LOUDLY boycott FOX advertisers and their products for supporting this fascist news network

I am a Democrat who will probably vote for Obama, but I like Ron Paul and believe that the mainstream media is just starting to understand his message. First the debt is unconscionable and we are all responsible to future generations if we don't do our part to not only balance the budget, but to pay off the debt. Ron Paul is the only one saying things that every politician should be saying. It is easy for some to dismiss Ron Paul, because he has views far to both the left and right of the other candidates. I have watched him under scrutiny and put on the spot and he responds like only an honest man with a consistent record can respond. He doesn't say things for political expediency like Romney. The problem is that Ron Paul scares a lot of people, but if we don't start moving quickly towards what he is saying, our country will continue to suffer. I've spent hours reviewing what he says, most of it makes sense. I don't agree with all of it, but I know he means it and he believes it and he is the type of person this country needs. While his campaign, like any other has it's share of nuts, his campaign is the first real grassroots campaign to utilize the internet effectively. While at 56 he scare me a little, for the sake of my children (two in the military and two not) I hope he either wins or receives enough support that the country wakes up. I do believe his chances at being president are higher than any other Republican. To exclude him from the debate would be an affront to the American people. Last poll I saw he had 10% in Iowa. I'm betting it is higher. My wife got together with a half dozen friends of hers she hadn't seen in a year. Every one supported Obama for the Democrats and Paul for the Republicans.

Ron Paul's mission -- ostensibly the mission of any candidate -- is not to earn a badge of legitimacy from the media, mainstream or otherwise. It's to run on his message and win voters to it. So when mainstream media deign to give him column inches or airtime A) it really deserves no extra credit for covering a legitimate candidate as such and B) the extra credit shouldn't be forthcoming from the candidate, anyway, a guy who has better things to do than pay compliments to the horse-race handicappers. So you've given legit coverage to Paul. Clap clap clap clap for doing your job.

I am not a Ron Paul supporter. Although he does well in some of his attempts to stick to a strict constitutionalist view point he would be the demise of the US. Too harsh you say? Those who promote an isolationist view or who say if we just leave the Middle East they won’t have a reason to attack us are entirely ignorant to the core beliefs of those we are fighting against. They have also forgotten history and the attacks on our merchant ships as a young country when we had no army to 'nation build'. Perhaps looking at bombings in France and protests in the (Ron Paul reasoning) tolerant EU in which people carry signs saying 'We will kill you, your time is coming'. Search Google if you want to see it.

It is arrogant to think we are invincible at home.

So, now you have an idea of the level of disdain I have for someone who I believe could go away without fanfare and we would all be better off. That being said if the rational for not inviting him to the debate is IA polls then it is WRONG that he does not get invited.

However, this is for the Presidency not NH governorship. If one were to view it in that light and consider his national standing then leaving him out makes sense and is the RIGHT thing to do. This also explains Thompson still being included.

RP people... open your eyes. You are right on when talking about so many things but you need to open your eyes ALL the way. RP is NOT the best choice and will kill us internationally.

What will you do when the polls are right?

The Realist.

All my friends and family here in Pennsylvania are die hard Ron Paul supporters. People are sick of the Neocons, we want our party back from the bible thumping, war mongers.

Go Ron Paul!

You grossly under-estimate the support for Ron Paul, if you think he will come in behind Giuliani. A cross-dressing adulterer and pro-abortionist isn't going to play well in Iowa. I frankly doubt Mitt Romney can beat Paul in Iowa either, since he wears magic underwear and plans to rule a planet as god one day -- not very friendly to the Christian values of most Iowans.

(Nobody here said anything about rankings. A TV poll I saw today had RP way ahead of Giuliani in Iowa.)

Not only are the elitist corporate witches at fox against ronpaul
so is:
I googled strawpoll08 and Ron Paul and found this interesting page:

My theory is if corporate neocons are so afraid of Ron Paul he must be good for America.
I'm voting for Dr. Paul and encourage all supporters to boycott the sponsors of "Faux" News.

Keith, yeah, but in this campaign there are two crackpots: Judy and Underpants. Then there's an empty suit propped up with hot air called "Thompson". After that we get to the candidates people are willing to vote for.

Outrageous! If the neocons are successful in excluding Ron Paul from their tilted game, they should be prepared for the foundations of their institutions to begin to crumble. As an american and a taxpayer, I think that we can truely begin to say that our government has been hijacked, and the media's response to the people's cry for a democratic system, whose shockwaves are even now, reverberating through the halls of washington's institutions, has been less than adequate. The relationship between the public and the media, if such a decision is made, will be the beginning of the undoing of corporatism. If they take such a stance now, not only will their amazing bias become extremely apparent to even their most loyal followers, they will eventually lose their stranglehold on all aspects of society that they have come to dominate. In a cry for freedom, the attempt to stifle the voice of a revolution will be, on their side, in vain. The momentum will find it's expression elsewhere, and whatever they try now, the terms will never again be such a simple demand. Let Paul participate.

What's so bad about people seeing Fraud News for what it is?

Ah yes, Fox has finally done the American People a favor and removed the facade of legitimacy to reveal that it has more in common with the tactics of Putin than the principles of Jefferson.

This will not be read by anyone, I'm sure but I'll type it anyway.

One of the qualifications given indicates a prerequisite relating to the results of the Iowa Caucus. A nationally televised event, proliferated on the internet worldwide, and overall affecting the outcome of the national election of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world should not be considering how IOWA feels about anyone to filter who's views are and are not disseminated to the rest of the electorate, or the world on Sunday.

I support Ron Paul but this isn't about Ron. It's about dissemination of factual information, which is the MSM's responsibility. Perpetuating the fact that IOWA's results will influence the results of the other primaries shows that no one really wants to support the ideals any of these candidates have to offer, and wish to perpetuate the "Football Pool" voting mentality shared by many Americans. It's unethical to do so by anyone, let alone the media corporation responsible for a majority of televised media available to the US.

I love this article, and would like to wish you a happy new year! As a Ron Paul supporter, I want you to know how much I appreciate the "msm" for their honesty and integrity during this and every election cycle.

The New World Order of a One World Government by the CFR folks -- which controls the media -- is on target to exclude Paul. Note the massive blackout of his name and coverage of his campaign this past week.

The Constitution hangs by a thread; join the Constitution Party. Really good article. Go Fourth Party run by Paul (Bloomberg will be third party).

And it was a top-notch article, Andrew. I'm glad someone understands that they have a job as a journalist.

Although I know you may not support Dr. Paul's positions, I am glad to see your sense of journalistic integrity was affronted by Fox's exclusion of the GOP candidate with the most successful fourth quarter fundraising, the candidate with the best straw poll record and, most importantly, the candidate with point of view of view that differs from the neoconservatives.

What Fox is doing is not journalism - it's pushing an agenda.

Bravo! Well said and fairly done. I'm a Dem but run Paul should have every chance to be our president. And if in the end he's the right man for the job party affiliations be damned.

Another bought and paid for corporate slave. That's a good description of you. You don't seem to get it, so i'm going to point it out to you as if to a child. 1) Ron Paul is not polled most of the time. When he is, he is cast in a negative light. Sort of like your story. 2) The other candidates get vastly far more air time, and you know it, so stop being obtuse. 3) Your ad hominems make you seem uneducated. I suggest a critical thinking class. We could have been regular readers of your column. 4) Labeling people only make you seem safer. You're not. 5) Do a story on how Giuliani arrested firemen when they protested his "scoop and dump" operation of our real heroes. 6) Do a story on how the other candidates don't have any supporters. 7) Without the Constitution, you would be a State slave, and not just a corporate slave. 8) Ron Paul will win by a landslide.

(Well, we'll all see soon enough, Patrick.)

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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