- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ever-present social media may seem like a member of the family at times, but that doesn’t mean that people trust it. Almost two-thirds of all likely voters — 63% — say they don’t trust Facebook to treat its users equally, for example. The new poll conducted by the Media Research Center finds that the suspicious sentiment was even higher among self-described conservatives. The survey found that 77% of conservatives distrust Facebook. Twitter also got an iffy review: 53% of likely voters and 63% of conservatives do not trust Twitter to be fair.

None of this is lost on conservatives who are aggressive players in the social media world, and canny veterans of the shadow bans or outright ejections that can occur when posting and commenting at a given site.


None of this is lost on President Trump.

He has called a meeting of the minds on the phenomenon. Social media mavens and president will gather at the White House on Thursday for a “Social Media Summit” that organizers say will “bring together digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.”

In his innovative use of social media as a policy and promotional tool that bypasses news organizations, Mr. Trump has rewritten the protocol and expanded the scope and clout of social media. He reaches his 61 million Twitter followers on a daily basis, his tweets treated like serious news items.

Meanwhile, the White House summit has already drawn either hostile or uneasy press. Vanity Fair calls it a “far right troll convention” while VentureBeat.com proclaimed the summit would be a “carnival of conservative bias victimhood.” A milder Associated Press report said that the president planned to “snub tech titans” while The Washington Post declared that “Trump looks to rally controversial online allies.” The Wall Street Journal advised that “Big Tech is a likely target.”

All that aside, just who is going to be a joyous troll at the troll convention??

Among the crowd: Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe will attend, along with representatives from the Heritage Foundation, Media Research Center, Turning Points USA and Prager U. Vocalist and performer Joy Villa, GOP activist Ali Alexander, podcast host Bill Mitchell and Twitter star CarpeDonktum are on board. And yes, Mr. Trump has not invited representatives from Twitter and Facebook to attend.

“If legendary muckrakers like Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens can partner with Teddy Roosevelt to expose and reform Big Oil, Project Veritas can be synergistic with the Trump administration to pull back the curtain surrounding Big Tech,” says Mr. O’Keefe.

UNEXPECTED HEADLINE

“Here’s why Donald Trump can totally win in 2020.”

That is the headline on a story by CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who cites new numbers from a Washington Post/ABC poll that give President Trump a 44% favorability rating — his best on record, the news organizations said.

Only Joe Biden has a statistical lead over the president in theoretical 2020 match-ups with all the Democratic contenders.

“What the Post-ABC numbers remind us is that Trump won’t be running against an idealized Democratic candidate in 2020. He’ll be running against a flesh-and-blood person with strengths and weaknesses. And judging from the poll numbers, he has a decent chance of beating that eventual nominee,” writes Mr. Cillizza.

WHAT THE VETS SAY

“U.S. military veterans are largely supportive of the way President Trump is leading the nation’s armed forces,” notes a new Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.

A substantial 57% of all veterans approve of the way the president is handling his duties as commander in chief — that includes 92% of Republican vets. Another 48% overall say the Trump administration’s policies have made the military stronger.

Vets are a discerning bunch with distinct expectations, however. The survey also revealed that 45% of vets have the impression that Mr. Trump doesn’t “listen enough to military leaders” when he making national security decisions — though 58% say they trust in him to make the right decisions about the use of military force and the use of nuclear weapons. Sixty percent approve of Mr. Trump’s dealings with North Korea, while 58% give thumbs up to the president’s decision to send troops to the U.S. Mexico border.

BEHAVE OR ELSE

The ideal presidential debate is informative, entertaining and authentic — with sterling moments that can live on forever as video clips or sound bites.

That may be a tall order when there are 24 candidates crowded on one stage, each armed with too many talking points. This factor may be on the mind of CNN, which hosts the next Democratic debate in Detroit at month’s end. The network already has issued the standard edict that candidates have just 60 seconds to respond to a question.

Then there are these written rules:

“Colored lights will be used to help the candidates manage their remaining response times: 15 seconds = yellow; 5 seconds = flashing red; no time remaining = solid red,” CNN advises.

“A candidate attacked by name by another candidate will be given 30 seconds to respond. There will be no show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions. A candidate who consistently interrupts will have his or her time reduced,” the network said.

And last but not least, here’s one for the distracted audience, many already preoccupied with something either their phone or the dog is doing: “Questions posed by the moderators will appear on the bottom of the screen for television viewers,” CNN says.

POLL DU JOUR

12% of Americans say the political viewpoint of the court is “very conservative”; 7% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 18% of Democrats agree.

25% overall say the political viewpoint is conservative; 16% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 40% of Democrats agree.

27% overall say the viewpoint is moderate; 40% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 17% of Democrats agree.

10% overall say the court is liberal; 16% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

4% overall say the court is “very liberal”; 6% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

22% overall are unsure of the court’s ideology; 15% of Republicans, 32% of independents and 15% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 20-July 2.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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