- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2016

When Donald Trump claims the news media is against him, there are clear numbers to back him up — and the evidence stretches back decades. It is an entrenched phenomenon. Consider that veteran media researcher Robert Lichter examined the voting records of what he termed the “media elite” to find that 81 percent to 94 percent of the nation’s journalists voted Democratic in presidential elections from 1964 to 1976. Mr. Lichter released this research in 1986.

There’s lots more evidence. Research from U.S. News & World Report, the Los Angeles Times, the Freedom Forum and other organizations tracked the liberal or Democratic leanings of the press with similar findings; one report found that 90 percent of the White House press corps voted Democratic. And according to a meticulous and ongoing analysis of polling data by Indiana University, only 7 percent of journalists now say they are Republicans.

This documented liberal bias has morphed into a behemoth presence in America thanks to the 24/7 presence of the news media and its endless permutations across social media. So Mr. Trump has a case when he cites the media as a driving force behind an election he feels is “rigged” and unfair.

“What do you think Trump is talking about when he says the election is rigged? What is he talking about?” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh asked his vast audience Monday. “He’s talking about the media. He’s talking about the fact that 95 percent of the media is stacked against him. He’s talking about all the dirty tricks the media are playing. He’s talking about that.”

It’s a complicated force. The bias affects what gets reported — as well as what gets left out. It is difficult for skilled researchers to track it all, as the analysts at the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog, will attest. It is near impossible, however, for the voting public to determine the truth, or even a reasonable facsimile thereof.

JOURNALISTS’ SOCIETY CONDEMNS DONATIONS

In a significant report released Monday, the Center for Public Integrity parsed journalists’ donations to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. This year, it amounted to almost $400,000. The organization found that 96 percent went to Mrs. Clinton. Other news organizations have found similar patterns, however. MSNBC, for example, found that out of 143 journalists who made political contributions in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, 125 gave only to Democrats, 16 only to Republicans, and two donated to both.

This may not sit well with the Society of Professional Journalists, which has taken a stand on whether journalists should engage in political activity.

“The simplest answer is ‘No.’ Don’t do it. Don’t get involved. Don’t contribute money, don’t work in a campaign, don’t lobby, and especially, don’t run for office yourself,” the group notes in an official ethics statement.

ON THE MENU

While hubbub continues over the election, it’s business as usual at the White House. President Obama and Michelle Obama host a big meal on Tuesday, the 13th and last state dinner they will host before Mr. Obama leaves office. The event honors Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; 500 guests are expected and will dine al fresco in a tent on the White House lawn, done up with chandeliers and mirrored tables.

The supervising cook here? That would be none other than celebrity chef Mario Batalio, who arrived Monday with four assistants to get the meal rolling.

The menu includes an appetizer of sweet potato agnolotti with butter and sage, followed by warm butternut squash salad with “pecorino di New York,” beef braciola with broccoli rabe — and, for dessert, green apple crostatata “with thyme caramel and buttermilk gelato,” plus five kinds of petit fours. Pop chanteuse Gwen Stefani will entertain the throng; C-SPAN covers the fancy doings live, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

TRUMP‘S BIG BUSINESS BACKERS

A Manta survey released in September found that 60 percent of small business owners around the nation back Donald Trump. The candidate also has the support of some big business folk. RawStory.com political writer Travis Gettys has established a list of “10 business leaders who are risking their reputations to endorse Trump.” And here they are:

Pete Coors (chairman of MillerCoors); Jenny Craig, co-founder of the weight-loss company; Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes; Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR; David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby; David Kushner, co-owner of Kushner Properties (his son Jared is the candidate’s son-in-law); Bernard Marcus, co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot; Terry Neese, founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services and the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women; Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship; and Steve Wynn, the casino magnate and CEO of Wynn Resorts unlimited.

ONE FOR ARNOLD

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be in Donald Trump’s home turf for a while Tuesday. The action film icon will journey to the ultraswank Rainbow Room in New York City to receive an Adweek award for “Brand Visionary of the Year.” Well, OK. The industry publication notes that the movie star/politician/bodybuilder has a “career’s worth of achievement in creating a world-renowned brand” and praises his “personal reinvention.”

For those curious about Mr. Schwarzenegger these days, he has lent his name to the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, has vowed he will not support Donald Trump and was recently spotted at an Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany — accompanied by Heather Milligan, his girlfriend of four years.

POLL DU JOUR

68 percent of Americans like it when a stranger starts a conversation with them; 77 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 73 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent of Americans describe themselves as “introverts”; 46 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent overall say they are “extroverts”; 36 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree,

25 percent overall are not sure which they are; 18 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 6-10.

• Indignant squawks, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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