He's no slick TV anchorman. Ron Paul is the first to point that out, just as he prepares to launch the Ron Paul Channel, an online news network that goes live Monday, featuring all original content and audience-driven interactive technology.
"I am aware of my shortcomings. I won't be presenting the case perfectly," Mr. Paul said in an interview with The Washington Times. "I can't be a typical TV host — I get by because of my enthusiasm. You have to be a true believer yourself, and that makes you enthusiastic. I am convinced that our message of liberty will be of intense interest to our audience, and that my own conviction will carry me, rather than technique or delivery."
The former Texas congressman and Libertarian and Republican presidential hopeful, who will turn 78 later this month, says he doesn't miss political life. "The issues interest me more than being in office," he said.
Mr. Paul said that 200,000 people expressed interest in his namesake channel within hours of a publicity announcement Wednesday, drawn by his personal guarantee they would not confront censors, or the "games and lies" of traditional broadcast and cable channels.
"We believe there's a fertile market out there for what we want to do. We're not going to be sensational. We know people are turned off because they're not getting real information from the major media, they're getting repeat information. It's not serious," Mr. Paul said.
Political discourse itself is in trouble, unproductive and fraught with anger on both sides of the aisle, he continued, and he does not anticipate any immediate remedies. Mr. Paul blames the national economy for the endless partisan argument: funding is spare for projects dear to Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals.
"We can't afford to hear both sides of the argument anymore. Now politicians have to worry that the gross domestic product is the same size as the national debt. Who's going to divvy up the loot when there's no loot left?" he asked. "The politicians instinctively know the money is going. They know there's a limit. And they get angry."
The new channel will be streamed live online, available via computer, tablet, smartphone and any Internet-connected TV, priced at $10 a month.
"It will give me an opportunity to talk about the issues I've been talking about for 30 years. But it's in a different format. I won't be cut off from my subscribers because we plan to take their questions through email, interview individuals and go in-depth," Mr. Paul said.
He is particularly interested in the attention of a hybrid audience of restless younger viewers who typically get their information from smartphone or computer.
"They're inheriting a mess in this nation, and they need some clear answers," he said.
There's market potential there. A new Harris Poll finds that one-third of Americans now watch TV programming on an electronic device; that number rises to 57 percent among those younger than 34.
"The numbers are skyrocketing for younger people who a use hand-held device," Mr. Paul observed. "This looks like a perfect match for me."
The channel itself has already honed its message.
"Turn off the TV. Turn on the truth. No advertisers, no corporate agenda," proclaims an introduction at the website. "The future of the media is in our hands. The next revolution is coming."
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