- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Let’s make a quick trip to Nov. 5, 2008, the day after the presidential election that year. Here’s what America heard about President George W. Bush from CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid: “He is now not only deeply unpopular, he’s a full-fledged lame duck.”

And what of President Obama? Is he a lame duck too? Apparently not. Nearly 60 days after the 2016 election, the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC haven’t used the term “lame duck” even once, according to Mike Ciandella, an analyst for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watch dog.

“By avoiding this phrasing, the networks are giving post-election Obama a legitimacy they denied post-election Bush,” says Mr. Ciandella, who pored over old coverage and found a marked contrast in tone and content.

“Not only did the networks repeatedly call Bush a lame duck, they openly wished that the country would inaugurate Obama early,” he says, citing commentary from, among others, former CBS newsman Dan Rather, who suggested the nation couldn’t afford to “waste an hour” before the incoming Obama administration took its place in the White House.

“If I had my druthers right now, we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day,” noted New York Times columnist Tom Friedman at the time.

“To date, no network journalists have openly wished that Donald Trump was already in office,” observes Mr. Ciandella.

REFRESHING: A CELEBRITY-FREE INAUGURATION

It is ironic that President-elect Donald Trump, a genuine celebrity in his own right, is shunned by many famous folk who refuse to be civil as Inauguration Day approaches. Yeah, well. Who the heck cares? So asks Roger L. Simon, founder of PJ Media and a Hollywood screenplay writer, who thinks the lack of celebrities is a “great thing,” and points out that Hillary Clinton lost the election despite Tinseltown’s best efforts.

“I’d like to see the inaugural completely celebrity-free. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? No endless parade of Kardashians or housewives, real or imagined. No supposedly funny parodies by Alec Baldwin. No endless yadda-yadda from Stephen Colbert. No words of wisdom from BarbraStreisand. Just a few patriotic tunes from a Marine Corps band and a man swearing on, yes, a Bible,” says Mr. Simon.

“It won’t happen entirely, this celebrity-free zone — but it could be close, and we should be thankful,” he adds. “On the positive side too, Trump has apparently decided to write his own speech and, more importantly, keep it short.”

SAME OLD ANTI-TRUMP MEDIA

Press honeymoon? What press honeymoon? The news media appears reluctant to give President-elect Donald Trump even a nanosecond of fair coverage — and Americans know it.

“Voters remain critical of the news coverage of Donald Trump and think the media is still showing the same bias against him that it displayed during the presidential campaign,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey, which finds that half of all voters believe journalists are biased against Mr. Trump; only 12 percent say the press is in his corner. Three-fourths of Republicans and even 26 percent of Democrats agree. The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Jan. 2.

THE NEXT MEGYN

Speculation is rampant about who will replace outgoing Fox News prime-time host Megyn Kelly, whose departure from the No. 1 cable network for NBC is imminent. She leaves on Friday.

“According to insiders I spoke with today, the consensus seems to be that the leading internal contenders include Trish Regan, Shannon Bream, Sandra Smith, and Martha MacCallum. Two sources said Kimberly Guilfoyle is lobbying for the job,” writes New York Magazine columnist Gabriel Sherman, who says her “insiders” hail from Fox News.

“The one thing Fox insiders are in agreement on is that whoever replaces Kelly will be a pro-Trump conservative,” Ms. Sherman adds.

GO AHEAD AND PULL THE PLUG

“Our republic and the liberties we hold dear, at this time, are threatened by bureaucracies subject to no authority but their own will. They cannot be controlled by the people and are increasingly unrestrained by the people’s representatives. This is not a partisan concern. Congress has a duty to act as a united body in defense of our Article I powers because, unlike the bureaucracy, we are accountable to the people,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told his peers in his first speech before the 115th Congress.

“That is why I have scheduled this House to tackle this problem starting today on a two-step approach. First, as I have long said, structure dictates behavior. We need to fix the structure in Washington that deprives the people of their power. Second, we will repeal specific regulations that are harmful to the American people, costing us time, money and, most importantly, jobs,” Mr. McCarthy continued.

“This process won’t be completed quickly, but as we remove harmful regulations and change the structure of Washington, draining the bureaucratic swamp that undermines the will of the people, we can rebuild trust between the people and their government again,” he added.

AND FROM THE MURKY BOTTOM

So how many new regulations did federal agencies issue in 2016? From Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, comes the final tally: 3,853. Yes, that is 3,853 new regulations, 443 more than the previous year. Congress, incidentally, only managed to pass 211 laws during the same time period.

POLL DU JOUR

36 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative.

63 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats call themselves conservatives.

34 percent of Americans overall say they are moderate.

30 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats call themselves moderates.

25 percent of Americans overall say they are liberal.

7 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats call themselves liberals.

Source: A Gallup analysis of 17 polls conducted in 2016 surveying a total of 17,055 people

Accolades, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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