Inside the Beltway: Ron Paul, media mogul

In characteristic folksy but aggressive style, Ron Paul has become a media mogul of sorts. The former Texas lawmaker and Libertarian presidential hopeful already has drawn the help of one Hollywood celebrity in his zeal to launch the Ron Paul Channel, a high-definition news network available online by subscription — a business model proved viable by Glenn Beck, who left his perch on Fox News two years ago to “keep my soul intact,” he said, before founding The Blaze, his own online network and news site.

Mr. Paul, like Mr. Beck, is tapping into the vast audience disenchanted by news coverage tainted with partisan bias and tabloid flourishes.

“Turn off your TV, turn on the truth,” Mr. Paul advises potential subscribers, while advance marketing frames the new outreach as “an innovative interactive channel from America’s visionary voice of liberty,” promising programming that “takes the fight from Washington and brings it to you from the powerful world of digital media.”

Breaking news, extensive reporting, interviews with big shots and direct viewer encounters with Mr. Paul himself are planned; a summertime launch date is promised. The channel has picked up a famous “founding subscriber,” though.

That would be actor Vince Vaughn, who happily attended a Lone Star-style barbecue on Mr. Paul’s lakefront Texas property in late June. And it’s complicated, in an intriguing way: earlier this year, Mr. Vaughn’s production company collaborated with Mr. Beck, seeking to finance the work of a documentary filmmaker for a project titled “The Pursuit of the Truth.”

ENDLESS APOLOGY TOUR

It’s a good week to say “sorry” and make an apology tour of New York City, apparently. But the classic mea culpa is a skill every politician must hone these days, inside the Empire State and beyond.

“If you have to eat crow, eat it while it’s hot,” Alben Barkley, vice president to Harry S. Truman, once advised politicians.

“When you dig yourself a hole, you can either lie in it the rest of your life, or do something positive. That’s why I’m running. Everyone, no matter who you are, deserves a fair shot. I’m asking voters to give the same for me,” says an earnest Eliot Spitzer in a new campaign video in his quest to be city comptroller.

The former governor, however, does not have fresh online sex charges to deal with, as does Anthony D. Weiner, in his quest for mayor.

“There is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me,” Mr. Weiner promised Tuesday when new images and messages he once sent under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger” went public. “I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused.”

But wait. The instant media-driven circle of ridiculousness already has gone full course.

“Anthony Weiner’s sexts aren’t depraved. They’re boring,” declares Amanda Hess, a writer for Slate, which for better or worse, has created a “Carlos Danger” name generator at its website, advising readers, “Use our widget to get a name like Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting pseudonym.”

TO THE POINT

“Do we have to pass S.744 to see what’s in it?”

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