- The Washington Times
Monday, March 27, 2017

Distrust of the news media starts early. A new survey finds that only a quarter of American children say they actually trust the news media. Another 44 percent said they knew know how to spot fake news while a mere 31 percent agreed that they “trust the government to do what is right.” The meticulous poll reveals a wary young population.

“Children are skeptical news consumers. Only one in four children (25 percent) puts a lot of trust in the information they receive from news organizations, just a little more than the percent who put a lot of trust in the information they get from their friends. Children are very trusting of the information they receive from their families and less so of information from teachers and other adults,” reports Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit that conducted the survey of American kids ages 10-18.


“Comparatively, adults do not show greater trust in news organizations than children do,” the organization noted.

Also of note: 56 percent of the children felt they have “a good understanding of what’s gong on in the world” and 48 percent said they were interested in politics while almost two thirds — 63 percent — revealed that news of current events makes them afraid, angry, sad or depressed. Seven of 10 said that “most news media have no idea what the lives of people my age are really like.” Another 70 percent, however, also said that reading the headlines made them feel “smart and knowledgeable.”

Those findings may sound familiar.

“In a decentralized news environment with so many ways to get and share news, the ability to evaluate the quality, credibility, and validity of different sources will be increasingly valuable and necessary. What appears legitimate on social media may or may not be reflective of the real world. Children need help to filter out misinformation and to understand whether, when, and how news is biased. Multiple stakeholders, including parents, educators, policy makers, researchers, and news organizations, share the responsibility of aiding children in developing digital-literacy skills,” the pollsters conclude. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

A TAXING SITUATION

New numbers from the Tax Foundation, an independent policy think tank: It takes American taxpayers 6.1 billion hours every year to comply with the federal tax code. All that paperwork and number crunching has a price tag. The organization also figured out that the endeavor costs taxpayers an annual $234 billion, both in preparation costs and lost productivity.

“It’s going to get worse,” predicts Pete Sepp, president of the group, which staged a “Talking Tax Reform” panel on Capitol Hill on Monday.

REPUBLICANS SEEK TO RIGHT THE RECORD

The National Republican Congressional Committee is borrowing a page out of President Trump’s playbook. During the endless 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Mr. Trump countered the constant buzz of negative public opinion polls by conducting his own surveys. He released a half dozen over the months which featured 30 questions on both policy and cultural forces

The aforementioned GOP committee — a political committee intent on increasing the Republican majority in the House — has cited the headline “President Trump approval ratings hit new low” — which frequently appears in one form or another with regularity in the mainstream press.

“That’s what the liberal media wants you to believe,” the group advises, posing their own question: “Do you approve of President Trump’s job? Yes or No? The liberal media has been doing everything possible to convince you that President Trump is doing a terrible job. We need to show them that his supporters still believe in him.”

ON THE JOB

“I look forward to helping her communicate her unifying message of kindness and empowerment.”

Stephanie Grisham, upon being appointed director of communications for first lady Melania Trump on Monday.

A SAVAGE VICTORY, AN EIGHT-YEAR ‘WAR’

One of the nation’s most outspoken conservative talk radio kingpins is now leading The New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction. “Trump’s War: His Battle for America” by Michael Savage is now at the top of the heap, besting new offerings from both former President George W. Bush and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. This is the author’s 26th book; the new list was revealed Monday.

Mr. Savage spent much of 2016 explaining President Trump’s campaign to his 10 million listeners and motivating undecided voters to back Mr. Trump — a frequent guest on the show. The author still has questions.

“The Mexico border wall, taxes, tariffs, deportations, Obamacare, guns, military strength, schools, abortion, religion — what will the new president do?” he asks. “Electoral victory was only the beginning. Trump and the patriots who elected him are going to have to fight their own eight-year war. The question is, what will that war look like? How is Donald Trump going to make good on all his promises?”

Mr. Savage writes that Mr. Trump is a powerful voice “counteracting the deafening din of left-wing noise,” advising readers that “the establishment uses a corrupt media and an insidious network of agitators to wage a psychological war instead of a military one. Instead of shelling your town, they seek to imprison your mind with political correctness, envy politics and intimidation.”

The book is published by Center Street, the conservative imprint of Hachette Book Group.

“Donald Trump is a patriot. He is a nationalist. He is trying to give the Americans who voted for him what they asked for. It’s really our battle for America, isn’t it?” Mr. Savage recently told Newsmax TV. “He’s congenial, he’s honest, he’s authentic. And the important thing to remember is this: Let’s say we only get 30 or 40 percent of his promises on the campaign trail. Let’s say it’s 30 percent. That’s 130 percent more than we would have gotten with Hillary Clinton.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 70 percent of U.S. children attempt to personally verify a news story they think may be wrong.

• 66 percent say their most trusted “news source” is their own family.

• 50 percent say following the news makes them feel more involved in their community.

• 48 percent say following the news is personally important to them.

• 31 percent have shared a “fake news” story online.

• 25 percent actually trust news organizations.

Source: A Common Sense Media poll of 853 U.S. children ages 10-18 conducted Jan. 10-22 an released Friday.

Squawks, complaints and factoids to jharper@washingtontimes.com.


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