Never let a good agenda go to waste. In a predictable frenzy, news organizations are blaming the extremely cold temperatures in parts of the nation on climate change. The coverage has been ramped up with melodrama, scientific language and a certain amount of sensationalism; noting that Chicago is colder than Alaska and Antarctica has been a favorite aside. Meanwhile, news stories about the polar vortex and tutorials about climate change itself have piled up like a heavy snow across the nation. The hashtag #PolarVortex2019, in fact, has ranked in the top 10 national trending topics on Twitter.
President Trump took notice.
“People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!” Mr. Trump tweeted, which triggered an avalanche of protest all on its own.
“Trump always dismisses climate change when it’s cold. Not so fast experts say,” countered The Washington Post.
“NOAA posts cartoon which appears to challenge Trump’s climate change skepticism,” noted CBS News.
“Trump mocked for global warming tweet by Hollywood stars,” said Yahoo News.
“Here’s your answer when someone asks ‘How can it be so cold if there’s global warming?’” proclaimed CNN, which had its own explanations about the weather. Sort of.
“The coldest air in a generation is spilling out across the U.S. thanks to a breakdown in the polar vortex. But is it a side effect of global warming? This is a hotly researched topic. In short, yes, it could be. It seems counter intuitive that global warming could cause significant cold snaps like this one, but some research shows that it could,” wrote CNN reporters Judson Jones and Brandon Miller.
All that aside, credit goes to the many news organizations that offered no-frills advice on safety, frostbite, hypothermia, how to keep pipes from freezing, checking in on elderly folks, efforts to rescue homeless people and advisories about outdoor pets.
GET THE POPCORN READY
At last count, there could be up to 40 Democrats running for president, and they are not all on the same policy page. Some, in fact, embrace some very progressive ideas indeed, and are full of the youthful exuberance of a new generation. Or something like that.
Some Republicans advise getting nice and comfortable, because a mighty big show is just about to start.
“Voters are going to have a front-row seat to the brewing civil war within the Democratic Party. By the time the Democratic presidential primary is over, every House Democrat will have to own the radical policies being embraced by their candidates,”notes Michael McAdams, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“Everyone is running as Bernie. This is a party that is actually moving left at an astonishing rate,” author and columnist Mark Steyn told Fox News, referring, of course, to Sen. Bernard Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist of Vermont.
THE PROGRESSIVES HAVE A SAY
There’s concern afoot as 2020 looms.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a million-member grass-roots group, tells Inside the Beltway that they have launched a new website called SchultzHelpsTrump.com — and have organized a petition to persuade the former Starbucks kingpin Howard Schultz not to run for president. They believe his effort will benefit President Trump.
“If Howard Schultz wants to defeat Trump, running as an independent is as politically out of touch as his attacking Elizabeth Warren for wanting to tax his wealth to provide health care and education to millions of Americans,” says the organization’s spokesperson Marissa Barrow, who is also a former Starbucks barista.
“If Schultz wants to run and lose in the Democratic primary, that’s fine — but our petition tells him he better not dare re-elect Trump by running as an Independent and siphoning off the anti-Trump vote,” she advises.
A MAJOR VICTORY FOR FOX NEWS
It is an uncommon phenomenon in the news media, a field often marked by constant change and shifting business models. Fox News Channel, however, has defied the odds, emerging as the No. 1 rated cable news network for 17 consecutive years, this according to rating numbers released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
“We are thrilled to kick off 2019 with a major milestone in marking 17 consecutive years as the number one cable news network due in no small part to our incredibly loyal audience. Our premiere team of journalists and opinion hosts continue to dominate the competition, proving once again they are the best in the business,” said Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and Fox News president Jay Wallace in a joint statement.
Basic numbers reveal all: Fox News averaged 1.3 million viewers during the day, compared to 1.1 million for MSNBC and 821,000 for CNN. In the all-important prime-time, Fox News drew 2.2. million, MSNBC 1.9 million and CNN 1.2 million. Evening favorite Sean Hannity remains a heavy draw with 3 million viewers, followed by Tucker Carson with 2.8 million.
The network has done very well in major political programming as well. Consider that the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 5, 2016, was hosted by a Fox News team which included then-anchor Megyn Kelly. It drew an unprecedented 24 million viewers — emerging as the highest rated cable news program in history. Fox News also won in the 2018 midterm elections, besting all competition with 7.8. million viewers. NBC came in second with 5.7 million viewers, followed by ABC (5.2 million), CNN (5 million) and MSNBC (4.7 million). CBS landed in last place with 3.9 million viewers.
In addition, Fox News also marks 31 consecutive months as the most watched network in the entire cable realm throughout the day, beating such heavyweight favorites as HGTV and the Hallmark Channel.
POLL DU JOUR
• 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way “Congress as a whole” is handling its job; 74 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent overall approve of the job Congress is doing; 22 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.
• 43 percent overall approve of the job their own representative in Congress is doing; 48 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.
• 39 percent overall disapprove of the job their representative is doing; 41 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Reuters/IPSOS poll of 2,274 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 16-22.
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