- The Washington Times
Monday, July 4, 2022

NEWS AND OPINION:

A former White House press secretary has written a new book, and the title alone articulates how many people feel about the news media. And here it is: “Suppression, Deception, Snobbery and Bias: Why the Press Gets So Much Wrong — And Just Doesn’t Care.”

The author is Ari Fleischer, who wrangled journalists on behalf of the White House from 2001 to 2003 for President George W. Bush. He is now a Fox News contributor and founder of a thriving communications company.


“Half the country is keenly aware that they are routinely mocked and looked down upon by much of the media. How the media think this is good for America is beyond me. The disdain shown by too many reporters for too many Americans is a major reason our nation is polarized and divided. It’s not just politicians who are at fault,” Mr. Fleischer writes.

“The mainstream media’s small-minded approach to its job and routine dismissal of conservative or populist thought is an important contributor to our nation’s divisions. This snobbery and lack of respect and understanding of conservatives and populists breeds resentment and increased polarization. The media play a significant role in dividing American people apart,” he said.

The book itself includes chapters titled “Reporters Have Lost Their Minds” and “The Way It Was.” Other chapters are devoted exclusively to The New York Times and CNN, while a final chapter suggests the nation’s clique of biased journalists actually enjoys looking down on everyday folks.

“The rehabilitation of journalism is a heavy lift, one requiring the dedication and commitment of journalism school admission officers, reporters and media executives,” Mr. Fleischer wrote.

“Virtually all Americans — regardless of whether their ideals and beliefs match up with those of liberal newsrooms — deserve respect. They also deserve a media which speaks to them, not at them,” said the author, who also interviewed former President Donald Trump as part of the research.

“Do you think you as president would do something different in your second term about how you handle the press?” Mr. Fleischer asked him.

“I don’t think it would matter. I think they would treat me the same,” Mr. Trump replied.

The book arrives on July 12 from Broadside Books — a conservative imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

CROSSOVER APPEAL

Fox News has a certain unexpected appeal to liberals and Democrats. Consider that California first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom appeared on “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” on Sunday.

The wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom was there to talk about a new documentary film titled “Fair Play,” which she directed. The movie explores ways to balance work and family life.

But wait. It’s also of note that the governor himself recently purchased campaign ads to air on Fox News, typically described as a “right-leaning” news organization by media analysts. The couple are, in contrast, high profile Democrats.

The network’s appeal to the Newsoms, however, rests in surprise audience demographics. Fox News continues to dominate cable news rivals CNN and MSNBC in the general ratings race. What is perhaps lesser known is that Fox News attracts the most Democrats and liberals, a phenomenon discovered by Nielsen/MRI-Simmons Fusion, an industry source which released the findings in February.

Those findings revealed that Fox News is actually “the preferred cable news channel among Democrats in the key 25-54 age demographic.” In addition, Fox News earns the “largest share” of liberal viewers compared to both CNN and MSNBC. Such a factor could explain why a Democratic governor and his wife would choose Fox News for an important message.

IVY COVERED HALLS

“The University of Tennessee is working to launch an Institute of American Civics to teach about the founding principles of America and promote civil discourse and constructive debate. As part of his ‘America at its Best’ agenda, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee allocated $6 million to establish the institute,” reports Charlotte McKinley, a contributor to the Campus Fix, a student-written news organization.

Mr. Lee hopes to counter the tendency on many campuses to become “centers of anti-American thought,” resulting in students who don’t know the basics about their own nation.

“In 2019, Annenberg Center’s annual survey reported that only 39% of Americans could identify the judicial, executive and legislative branches as the three branches of government. In 2021, that percentage jumped to 56%,” Ms. McKinley noted.

“Though over half of those polled can name the three branches accurately, the surveys found there is a lack of understanding of America’s founding structures, principles and philosophies,” she said.

PRESIDENT LIZ?

Does a certain Wyoming Republican have her eye on the White House? That would be Rep. Liz Cheney — who did not confirm or deny that possibility during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I haven’t made a decision about that yet. I’m obviously very focused on my reelection. I’m very focused on the Jan. 6 committee. I’m very focused on my obligations to do the job that I have now,” Ms. Cheney told host Jonathan Karl.

The lawmaker, however, has long been a critic of former President Donald Trump — a factor which could come into play.

“Should Cheney run for president, her candidacy would test whether or not Republican voters would be willing to vote for a Trump critic, as the former president remains popular with GOP voters, according to recent polls,” wrote Andrew Stanton, a Newsweek analyst.

“She faces a tough primary election against Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming where Donald Trump remains deeply popular. Wyoming is among the most conservative states, where Trump won about 70% of the vote. Cheney has found herself at odds with many constituents over her staunch criticism of the former president,” he said.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59% of U.S. adults say they “definitely will vote” in the 2022 congressional elections in November.

• 10% say they “probably will vote” in the elections.

• 8% say they “maybe will vote.”

• 7% say they “probably will not vote.”

• 7% say they “definitely will not vote.”

• 9% say they “don’t know” whether they will vote.

SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 25-28.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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


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