NEWS AND OPINION:
PJ Media columnist Jim Treacher once summarized the news media in just 19 words: “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.” Mr. Treacher tweeted that over four years ago.
The sentiment has since been revisited by both “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds and Gail L. Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor and author of a new academic paper titled “Perceptions of newsworthiness are contaminated by a political usefulness bias.” A story which is useful to the preferred political cause wins approval and attention from the public, and from the press as well.
“Formulaic rules of journalism, while important, do not provide any effective resistance to biases that arise earlier, in the process of deciding which stories are newsworthy enough to deserve coverage in the first place. The current results suggest that biases in this phase might be strong and insidious,” the paper said.
This “usefulness” factor has come into the full flower during the Trump administration. For the second year in a row, an intense Media Research Center study of broadcast news which aired throughout 2018 revealed that 90 percent was “incessantly hostile” toward President Trump. Lots of “usefulness” going on there.
But supposing the press favors the subject in question? Let us cite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often gets very kind coverage indeed. Fox News prime-time host Laura Ingraham, in fact, recently offered a lengthy montage of such accolades — which praised Mrs. Pelosi for being “in charge” and a “political genius” for battling Mr. Trump over the southern border wall and other matters.
In the meantime, some select headlines centered on the speaker which more or less speak for themselves: “Nancy Pelosi is winning in her battle with Trump. Here’s why” (The Los Angeles Times); “Nancy Pelosi steals the spotlight” (The Washington Post); “Nancy Pelosi is winning” (The Atlantic); “Only with Nancy: How Schumer and Pelosi stuck together on the shutdown” (Politico); “Nancy’s political flex” (The New York Times); and “Nancy Pelosi jabbed the president right in his tender ego” (Esquire).
BUSINESSES OPT FOR OPTIMISM
The aforementioned broadcast news study also pointed out President Trump‘s approval ratings actually rose in 2018 despite the best efforts of the hostile press. Now comes an indicator that the business community may not be much affected either.
A new Zogby Analytics poll of 408 business owners and top executives around the nation found that 79 percent say they will add positions in 2019 while 55 percent do not expect to lay off any workers this year. Another 47 percent say Mr. Trump’s tax cuts will help their bottom line.
“Business leaders are optimistic about hiring in 2019, which could point to optimism about the economy, even though there are domestic issues, such as the partial government shutdown and a stock market entering bear territory,” the poll analysis said.
THE MARYLAND SOCIALISTS
The Maryland Board of Election has certified a new socialist party in the state. That would be the Bread and Roses Party, founded by Jerome Segal, who ran as a socialist in the 2018 Maryland primaries but lost to Democrat incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin. Mr. Segal submitted the 10,000 voters signatures to carry the certification through — and named his party after the motto of a strike by women textile workers in 1912, in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Mr. Segal, however, appears wary of a “socialist” label.
“The term ‘socialist’ carries with it so much baggage that we are leaving it behind, that the term ‘Socialistic’ seemed to work better. But if people wish to refer to us as a ‘socialist’ party that is fine. However, we are open to members who do not use that word to describe themselves,” notes the new party’s mission statement, which also rejects the description that it could be considered “socialism lite.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP HONORS MLK DAY
“As we pause to mark the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we recommit ourselves to the advancement of equality and justice for all Americans, and to the full realization of his worthy dream. In the United States of America, every citizen should have the opportunity to build a better and brighter future, and, as President, I am committed to expanding opportunity for all Americans. We have added more than 5 million new jobs to the economy over the past two years and unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Americans without a high school degree have reached record lows,” President Trump says in his proclamation recognizing Martin Luther King Day on Monday.
“Importantly, we have also worked tirelessly to reform our nation’s criminal justice system, so that those who have been incarcerated and paid their debt to society are given a second chance at life. Last year, I was proud to sign into law the First Step Act, which will prepare inmates to successfully rejoin society and effect commonsense reforms to make our justice system fairer for all Americans,” Mr. Trump said.
“We have also made great strides as a nation, but we acknowledge that more work must be done for, in the words of Dr. King, ‘justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ United as one American family, we will not rest — and we will never be satisfied — until the promise of this great nation is accessible to each American in each new generation.”
Hispanics are increasingly rallying for President Trump, according a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, which finds that 50 percent of Hispanics surveyed now approve of the job President Trump is doing, up 19 percentage points since December, according to a Fox News analysis.
“This is very important. Latinos are waking up to the sham that is the message Democratic message has had towards this community,” GOP strategist Gus Portela told the network. “This president has made historic strides to help the Latino community.”
POLL DU JOUR
•71 percent of Americans say Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech is still relevant; 78 percent of blacks, 63 percent of Hispanics and 70 percent of whites agree.
•46 percent overall say race relations have improved since the 1960s; 32 percent of blacks, 38 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of whites agree.
•39 percent overall say “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of King’s dream of racial equality has been achieved; 37 percent of blacks, 18 percent of Hispanics and 41 percent of whites agree.
•35 percent overall say “some” of the dream has been realized; 32 percent of blacks, 36 percent of Hispanics and 36 percent of whites agree.
•16 percent overall say “very little” or “not much at all” has been realized; 24 percent of blacks, 15 percent of Hispanics and 14 percent of whites agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 12-15.
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