- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vilifying Republicans is a sport for some journalists, who continue to frame the Grand Old Party as a bunch of smug rich guys with a cold hearted agenda. Rep. Paul Ryan was frequently dismissed as a mere “attack dog” following his speech Wednesday, despite his inclusive take-away message — “We can do this” — and the fact that Mr. Ryan took pains on several occasions to acknowledge that, yes, President Obama had some challenges waiting for him when he arrived at the White House. The disconnect between the news coverage and the reality of the Republican National Convention is striking — and someone has quantified it.

“The convention has created large numbers of positive impressions of Mitt Romney but this effect is being somewhat offset by highly negative information elsewhere,” say preliminary findings from WPA Research, a pollster which compared impressions of swing voters in 10 states who actually watched the convention, and those who just watched the nightly news coverage.

Numbers reveal all: Among those who watched the convention, 67 percent gave Mr. Romney a more favorable rating based on what they saw. Among those relying on news, 72 percent came away with a less favorable rating.

“Close observers of the media have seen their devolution into an active partisan interest group. They are not in Tampa to report the events of the convention. They are in Tampa to frame the GOP message for the general public and find disparate items that can be twisted together to paint an explicitly negative impression,” says Mike Flynn, a political columnist with Breitbart.com. “Unfortunately, we now have some numbers to show their attempt is working.”

ROMNEY: ONE WORD

Instant reactions to Mitt Romney are not all that bad these days. When Americans were asked to describe the Republican presidential nominee in one word only, the top most cited word was “honest.” It was followed by business/businessman, rich, good, conservative, Republican, leader/leadership, OK, liar and president or presidential.

The top word cited in a similar poll taken in March was “no,” with the variants “no way” and “nope.” Mr. Romney appears to have come a long way. The Pew Research/Washington Post poll of the 1,010 respondents (272 Republicans, 325 Democrats and 351 independents) was taken Aug. 23 to 26.

THE HISTORIC CAMPAIGN

“I relate to both parties. I eat like an elephant and act like a jackass.”

- (Comedian Rich Little during an appearance on CBS, Aug. 16, 1988.)

‘2016’ ON A ROLL

The compelling new documentary “2016: Obama’s America” has earned $10.6 million at the box office so far, and will expand to 1,800 theaters this weekend, according to Rentrak Corp., which monitors theater box office activities nationwide. Based on Dinesh D’Souza’s book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” the film has grown its cumulative box office by 341 percent since it opened last month in a single Houston theater, the group says.

Where do the most ardent fans live? The five states with the strongest box office receipts are California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Ohio. The best-selling cities so far are Lima, Ohio; San Angelo and Tyler-Longview, Texas; Harrisonburg, Va., and Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.

DOUGH-BAMA

A survey we can all stomach: LaMar’s Donuts begins the “2012 Presidential Donut Poll” on Saturday, pitting the “Dough-Bama” doughnut against the “Mitt Yum-ney” doughnut, all the way through Halloween. The Denver-based chain, which has 27 locations in six states, won global coverage for a similar poll four years ago and also donates a portion of the partisan doughnut sales to charity. They also have some accuracy. In 2008, the poll projected then-Sen. Barack Obama as the winner after the “Dough-Bama” accounted for 52 percent of sales. As it turned out, Mr. Obama ultimately won the real election with a nearly close share of the popular vote: 53.7 percent.

“We’re looking forward to our customers helping us get a sticky finger on the pulse of the electorate,” explains spokeswoman Kayde Pierce.

TRUMP TRUMPS HUFFINGTON

Cheeky journalism can do more than create buzz. It can raise rents. Such is the case of liberal doyenne Arianna Huffington, who recently pined to move into an ultraluxury apartment at Trump Towers on Park Avenue in Manhattan, owned by namesake Donald Trump, who would have none of it. He promptly raised the rent to $100,000 a month to dissuade the founder of the Huffington Post, the much-visited news site bought by AOL for $315 million last year.

“The price wasn’t in her favor, nor did I care, because I didn’t want her in the building,” Mr. Trump told the New York Post. “She is bad news. Only AOL, being so stupid, would have paid money to buy her site. AOL was even dumber than her husband. The trash they write about me is not reporting; there are so many inaccuracies about me on her site. I won’t hold back when I respond about her to my 1.4 million Twitter followers.”

BUMPER PATROL

“We need some R & R: Romney and Ryan.”

- (Bumper sticker spotted in Lewes, Del.)

POLL DU JOUR

• 89 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents have health insurance.

• 76 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents feel safe walking at night.

• 71 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents have visited a dentist in the past year.

• 14 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents have struggled to afford health care or medicine.

• 13 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents do not have enough money for food.

• 6 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of independents do not have enough money for shelter.

Source: A Gallup “Well Being Index” of 405,554 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2 to March 31 and released Thursday.

•  Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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