- The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

NEWS AND OPINION:

The countdown is on. President Biden will deliver a major prime-time speech Thursday with all the trimmings from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. According to the White House, Mr. Biden is poised to “protect our democracy” and ready to address what ails the “soul of the nation” at this juncture.

The latter phrase has particularly charmed the news media. Major news organizations which deployed the melodramatic phrase “soul of the nation” in their headlines in the last 24 hours include CNN, CBS News, NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, and Politico.


Election Central editor-in-chief Nate Ashworth predicts that the speech itself is “likely to be heavy with emotion and light on facts or policy.”

In a preliminary analysis of the big doings, Mr. Ashworth also wrote that the president will accuse “half the population of wanting to ‘destroy the country’ — but then asks for everyone to come together and, um, vote for Democrats.”

But Mr. Ashworth is not quite done.

“All of this follows the unprecedented FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s private residence at Mar-a-Lago, a raid which the Justice Department still hasn’t provided worthwhile justification for yet. Anyhow, President Biden’s Thursday speech should be a snooze fest,” he concluded.

BAGTOPIA

In a perfect world, plastic grocery bags would not be considered an ecological threat. But that is not the case in New Jersey, home to some serious grocery bag restrictions.

But there are, uh, consequences. A local headline says all.

“New Jersey banned plastic bags. So, people are stealing grocery store shopping baskets” reported the Asbury Park Press, which has revealed that such popular statewide supermarket chains as ShopRite, Stop & Shop and Super Foodtown are having a serious issue.

“Grocery store customers are walking off with those plastic hand baskets you find in the supermarket, an apparent consequence to New Jersey’s plastic bag ban that went into effect this past spring,” the news organization said Tuesday.

Stop & Shop confirmed to the newspaper in a statement that “like other retailers across the state, we have experienced theft of our hand-held shopping baskets — an unintended consequence of the ban on plastic and paper bags.”

How strict are the New Jersey regulations?

In May, the state outlawed plastic bags of any thickness in the stores with the exception of plastic bags used for fresh vegetables, deli meats and baked goods. Paper bags are banned as well.

“We are aware of random reports that grocers are experiencing the loss of these hand baskets to varying degrees. We view this as a short unintended consequence of the new state law,” Linda Doherty, president and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council, told the Asbury Park Press.

NIGHTSTAND READING

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists — AAPLOG — have launched a new campaign to combat what they say is “media misinformation and fear mongering” within the medical debate about abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“The Left is successfully running a coordinated messaging campaign rooted in misinformation to cause fear and chaos post-Roe. In response, AAPLOG launched their own effort to correct the record by equipping its vast membership of nearly 7,000 medical  professionals with information and tools to address the media misinformation,” the organization said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.

Curious? Find the organization at AAPLOG.org, and find their analysis — “Myth vs. Fact: Correcting misinformation on maternal medical care” — under the “Latest News” section of the website.

SPICED UP MEDIA

Pumpkin spice mania has arrived. The nation’s restaurants, coffee shops, manufacturers and retailers are rolling out this year’s array of pumpkin spice flavored or scented items by the dozen.

This has become such a phenomenon that media analysts are now tracking the trajectory of pumpkin spice through news coverage. Media monitor NewsWhip reports that pumpkin spice is a leading topic on the nation’s media menu.

Here are the stats from Aug. 23-30: The number of news articles published about the flavor is up by 3,766% compared to last week at this time. NewsWhip determined that 1,400 articles on pumpkin spice appeared during the seven-day period, including the 800 news stories which appeared on Monday alone. Pumpkin spice, meanwhile, is driving serious social media activities.

NewsWhip also reports that total pumpkin spice social media interactions are up by 2,320% in the past week, reaching a grand total of 63,500 tweets and posts. The number also peaked Monday when there were some 50,000 pumpkin spice-centric interactions.

Meanwhile, here are just a few familiar items now in a “limited edition” pumpkin spice version: Pumpkin Spice Goldfish (Pepperidge Farm), Pumpkin Spice Irish Cream Liqueur (Kavanaugh); Pumpkin Pie Cologne (Demeter); Pumpkin Spice Cheerios (General Mills); Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal (Quaker), Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener (Glade); and Pumpkin Spice Dog Biscuits (Milk Bone).

And who knows? Maybe one of the political parties will offer pumpkin-spice scented “I Voted” stickers when the midterms arrive.

FOXIFIED

Fox News Channel finished August 2022 as the third most-watched network in the entire television kingdom — outpacing ABC and trailing only CBS and NBC, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Fox News is also marking the 19th month in a row that it has bested cable news rivals MSNBC and CNN, also airing 96 of the top 100 cable news telecasts for the month.

And those ratings numbers: Fox News drew 2.4 million average nightly prime-time viewers, compared to MSNBC with 1.3 million and CNN with 733,000. In addition, late night host Greg Gutfeld has become the most-watched late night guy of all, drawing an audience of 2.2 million viewers.

POLL DU JOUR

• 3% of registered U.S. voters say their political identity is the “most important” thing in their life when thinking about their personal identity.

• 25% say their political identity is “very important” when thinking about their personal identity.

• 38% say their political identity is “somewhat important” to their personal identity.

• 19% say their political identity is “not too important.”

• 15% say it is “not at all important.”

SOURCE: An NBC News poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 12-16 and released Sunday.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.


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