- The Washington Times
Thursday, October 1, 2020

A significant new survey reveals that the public has grown weary of the news media, and that its negative sentiments have been amplified in complicated times.

“At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media,” reports a new Gallup poll.


“Americans’ confidence in the media to report the news fairly, accurately and fully has been persistently low for over a decade and shows no signs of improving, as Republicans’ and Democrats’ trust moves in opposite directions. The political polarization that grips the country is reflected in partisans’ views of the media, which are now the most divergent in Gallup’s history,” the pollster said.

And the numbers: Currently, 10% of Republicans trust the media a great deal or a fair amount. Among Democrats, it’s 73%; among independents it’s 36%. Among all U.S. adults, 40% overall trust the press.

“In 2016, a steep decline in Republicans’ trust in the media led to the lowest reading on record (32%). Republicans’ trust has not recovered since then, while Democrats’ has risen sharply. In fact, Democrats’ trust over the past four years has been among the highest Gallup has measured for any party in the past two decades. This year, the result is a record 63-percentage-point gap in trust among the political party groups,” the pollster said.

STORMY WEATHER, POST-DEBATE

Even days later, the first presidential debate continues to rile many Republicans and conservatives. They are troubled by the fact that the event was chaotic and unruly, and that moderator Chris Wallace — a Fox News host — appeared to bait the president.

It’s complicated.

Some people now also suggesting via social media that Steve Scully — who will serve as moderator for the next debate on Oct. 15 and is a longtime C-SPAN host — could be biased against the president. Their reason? Mr. Scully was an intern for then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden for one month in 1978.

But a contentious climate could be part of the normal process.

“The tenor of the Sept. 29 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden has created the predictable uproar. Some felt Trump was rude and loutish. Others thought he was ganged up on two against one, with Fox’s Chris Wallace not even pretending to be a neutral moderator,” writes Roger Simon, founder of PJ Media and a contributor to The Epoch Times.

“Yet again, if you were to believe the mainstream media, the barbarian president has finally destroyed himself, his electoral prospects now somewhere between hopeless and non-existent. Strangely, however, post-debate polling on C-SPAN and Spanish-language Telemundo showed their viewers, by close to 2-to-1, thought Trump had won the debate,” Mr. Simon notes.

As mentioned previously, it’s complicated. More soon.

NIGHTSTAND READING

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and a high-profile list of Republicans who make up the House “China Task Force” have authored a significant policy report on the potential challenges the U.S. faces with that nation.

The new report, Mr. McCarthy says, is a “comprehensive blueprint that would serve as a guide to address the China threat.”

Contributors behind it include Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Michael McCaul of Texas, who serves as China Task Force chairman.

“Previous administrations have implemented a strategy of accommodation to China,” Mr. McCarthy noted Thursday, citing examples enacted by former President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

“Perhaps Democrats are comfortable with bending a knee to China, but Republicans will not gamble with our economy or our national security,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Curious? The GOP lawmakers — who say no Democrat would help them produce the report — are only too happy to share it. Find it at Gop-foreignaffairs.house.gov/blog/china-task-force-report.

BEWARE OF PET DEBT

Forget the national debt. Pet debt has arrived in the U.S., says a new survey finding that 47% of U.S. pet owners have “been in debt for their pet.”

This is no small amount: one-in five pet owners have been in pet debt for $1,000 and up.

Almost two-thirds — 62% — said that they were surprised at how much owning a pet actually costs. Yet 98% spend on their pet “every single month” and 80% say the cost is worth it. Another 34% say their pet-related spending has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Owning a cat isn’t less expensive than owning a dog: Cat owners experience the same financial strain as dog owners,” the analysis advised.

“Baby boomers are far less likely than younger generations to go into debt for their pets — just under a quarter of pet owners of this generation have done so. In contrast, two-thirds of Gen Xers and about half of millennials who own pets have taken out pet-related debt,” the analysis said.

They survey of 1,378 pet owners was conducted by online loan resource Lending Tree throughout the month of September. The survey was released Thursday.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: The Martin and Lilli Foard House, a classic “painted ladies” Victorian home built in 1892 in Astoria, Oregon. Four bedrooms, two baths, living, dining and family rooms; breakfast room, original historic woodworking, floors and windows. Chef’s kitchen, fireplace, luxury baths, covered decks and porches, river views, “carefully restored.” Priced at $595,000 through Paintedladyastoria.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 33% of U.S. adults have no trust or confidence “at all” in the news media; 58% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

• 27% of overall have “not very much” of trust or confidence in the media; 31% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.

• 31% overall have “a fair amount” of trust or confidence in the media; 7% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree.

• 9% have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the media: 3% of Republicans, 6% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of U.S. adults conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 13 and released Wednesday.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter@HarperBulletin.


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