- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

JON STEWART‘S MISINFORMATION

Pundit, newsman, comedian, nervous female? Jon Stewart’s media identity is at stake following his appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” Moderator Chris Wallace advised the Comedy Central host to get in touch with his inner journalist while fellow Fox anchor Bret Baier theorized that Mr. Stewart pines to be a political force but “when something goes wrong, he punts to ‘I’m a comedian.’ ” Mr. Stewart, in turn, now accuses the network of editing his appearance, making him appear like a “woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”

He also says that Fox News viewers are “consistently” misinformed, a claim that attracted the watchdog site PolitiFact. Fact checkers pored over media studies from the Pew Research Center and other sources to ultimately disprove Mr. Stewart’s notion; see the bodacious report at www.politifact.com.

“We have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets - network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks - often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows - ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ and Sean Hannity’s show - actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.”

The report concludes, “The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are ‘consistently’ misinformed - a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that ‘every poll’ shows that result. So we rate his claim false.”

MATERNITY TOURISM

“Some pregnant foreigners arrange trips to the U.S., specifically timed so that they give birth during their stay, making any child born an automatic U.S. citizen. Do you think the U.S. Constitution should be changed to no longer allow for this?” asks a new Harris Poll. Sixty seven percent of the 2,100 respondents approve such a change, as do 81 percent of tea party supporters, 79 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of conservatives and 52 percent of liberals.

HUNTSMAN’S AMERICA

“I want you to know that I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the president of the United States. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president; not who’s the better American.”

- Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman Jr., announcing his White House run Tuesday.

THE DEMOCRAT’S HUNTSMAN

“Jon Huntsman: When one direction for America just isn’t good enough.”

- New bumper sticker from the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

CAMPAIGNING PROWESS

The campaign trail: It’s not all limousines and swank ballrooms. For Republican presidential hopefuls, it’s also small towns, temporary podiums, hecklers. There is some relief, though - like the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour, now under way, and set to end with a huge rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 2. The bus, which also provides local grass-roots training from town to town, is friendly territory. But the experience is not fancy.

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