- The Washington Times - Monday, August 18, 2014

From President Obama to news officials, everyone agrees that freedom of the press is essential in Ferguson, Missouri — particularly after journalists were arrested, prompting American Society of News Editors President David Boardman to predict, “For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak.”

Yes, well. That they have. Close to 19,000 news accounts — and counting — have been filed on the matter according to a Google News count. The New York Times alone sent five reporters to Ferguson — just to tweet what they saw. And speaking of tweets, Twitter reports that 8 million tweets have been sent with a #ferguson hashtag so far.

ABC, CBS and NBC have all set up camp in the town of 21,000 just northwest of St. Louis. NBC anchorman Brian Williams, in fact, anchored the national news from Ferguson on Monday night, as did Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. CNN has sent Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper and Don Lemon; MSNBC has sent at least three major correspondents. Support crews are substantial. Satellite trucks are many. The coverage has gone global, and interest is particularly keen in China, Russia and the Middle East. But it’s complicated.

“The media presume America, and especially law enforcement, are still very racist and so the events in Ferguson have fit perfectly into that narrative. So, many journalists, especially on CNN and MSNBC, are all too eager to advance the cause of the most radical in the St. Louis suburb who want to use the incident to advance their left-wing political agenda,” Brent Baker, vice president for research at the conservative Media Research Center, tells Inside the Beltway.

Meanwhile, Alexandrea Boguhn, an analyst for the progressive Media Matters for America, noted in a blog Monday, “Right-wing media emphasized the supposed prevalence of ‘black-on-black’ violence in response to the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson. But such emphasis takes the crime statistics out of context in order to hype the racial aspect.”

“We’d all like to see things calm down in this Missouri town. I hope the big media presence there isn’t making that more difficult,” wrote Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz in a Monday column.


SEE ALSO: Obama appeals for calm from protesters, law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri


WHY VOTERS HATE CONGRESS

As the summer plods to an end, the ever-present Gallup pollsters have found that only 19 percent of Americans say their local representative “deserves” to be elected in the midterm election, now just 11 weeks off. The findings are a cautionary tale for Congress; Gallup also asked respondents to describe in their own words the biggest reasons why their lawmakers were not worth a vote.

In first place, it was “not doing his or her job” that most irked voters. Running a close second were lawmakers who had “been there too long,” followed by these succinct criticisms: “does not work for or represent the people,” “not followed through on promises,” “only votes with his or her party,” “does not share my values,” “does not listen/out of touch,” “supports Obama/Obamacare,” “not dealing with the economy,” “not fiscally responsible,” and “dishonest.” Finally, just being “a politician” did not much appeal to voters either.

WHY CONGRESS HATES CONGRESS

Look out, now, there’s a change in script. Cue the drama in Congress, and brace for impact.

“The budget cease-fire is about to end. Halfway through a two-year agreement that eased the pain of sequester cuts and gave hope that a divided Washington could work together again. A new spending plan is needed by October 1,” predicts a Kiplinger forecast released Monday.

“That will come together with relative ease in the form of another short-term continuing resolution to fund government programs at their current levels. Neither side wants fireworks just before the elections, so the funding will run until late November or early December. Then the real brawling gets under way,” the forecast says, advising that the din could last until 2016.

“More raised voices and unsettled investors. More angst about shutdowns and fiscal cliffs, both bitter reminders of the nonstop drama of 2013, when nonessential services came to a halt for 16 days. And more fighting over raising the debt limit. For now, we expect a calmer resolution. No government shutdown this time around, though some tea partyers will no doubt call for one. And little chance of a debt ceiling stalemate. Still, both sides smolder from the last fight, just one spark from erupting,” Kiplinger concludes.

GOVERNOR PERRY: BUSINESS AS USUAL

True to his word, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is forging ahead despite his indictment for abuse of power which has mesmerized the news media. He will, in fact, be in the nation’s capital this very Thursday.

Mr. Perry will appear at the Heritage Foundation discussing the topic, “The border crisis and the new politics of immigration.” He will be joined by National Review editor Rich Lowry, among others. Yes, you can watch the proceedings online beginning at 11 a.m. ET at Heritage.org.

The governor then moves on to the Granite State for a Saturday “victory rally” with the New Hampshire Republican Party in a small town near the Atlantic seacoast. It is truly grass roots. “Coffee and donuts provided,” the organization advises.

EMPATHY AMONG GOVERNORS

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has stepped up to support the aforementioned Rick Perry during his legal challenge. It has given a former Alaska governor great pause. Sarah Palin can relate to Mr. Perry

“I can value my own experience as a conservative governor dealing with left-wing activists who would stop at nothing to take out a successful Republican. I was riddled with countless frivolous ethics complaints and lawsuits after being nominated as the GOP vice presidential candidate, all in an attempt to derail my governorship and personally bankrupt my family,” Mrs. Palin recalls in a Fox News editorial.

“One by one these complaints were tossed out on the basis of their frivolity, but the activists got what they wanted via the complicit liberal media’s consistent headline: ‘Palin Charged With Ethic Complaints!’ It didn’t matter that the ‘complaint’ was for something as absurd as wearing an old snow machine jacket with my husband’s logo on it, or answering reporters’ questions inside my state office, or giving a pro bono speech for a pro-life charity,” Mrs. Palin writes.

“The media breathlessly reported on every one of the liberal’s complaints with bold font, front page coverage. But when each one was overturned, most times we never even saw one mention about our vindication,” she adds. “I have no doubt that Rick Perry will weather this storm because he’s better prepared for this kind of B.S. than we were up here in Texas’s big sister state, when the politics of personal destruction ramped up to unimaginable levels,” she says.

POLL DU JOUR

45 percent of Americans have confidence in the investigations of the Michael Brown shooting; 18 percent of blacks and 52 percent of whites agree.

41 percent overall say they do not have confidence in the investigations; 76 percent of blacks and 33 percent of whites agree.

44 percent say the Ferguson riots and the shooting of a black teen raises “important issues about race”; 80 percent of blacks and 37 percent of whites agree.

40 percent overall say race is getting too much attention in the matter; 18 percent of blacks and 47 percent of whites agree.

27 percent of Americans are following the Ferguson story “very closely”; 54 percent of blacks and 25 percent of whites agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 14-17.

Glum predictions and churlish remarks to jharper@washington times.com.

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