- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The big three broadcast networks still appear intently interested in President-elect Donald Trump, and not in a good way: “The broadcast networks treat accusations of Russian hacking very differently when they can use it as an angle to bash Trump,” says Mike Ciandella, an analyst for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.

He discovered a major discrepancy. When Russian cybercriminals were accused by intelligence agencies of hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 58 minutes, 47 seconds to these allegations from Dec. 12 through Tuesday.

“When Russian hackers were accused of hacking into the White House in 2014, it went largely ignored,” says Mr. Ciandella, noting that the three networks only spent a total of 4 minutes, 51 seconds on the White House intrusion that entire year.

“Part of the reason for this seems apparent. A breach of White House security in 2014 would have reflected poorly on President Obama. On the other hand, journalists can use stories on Russian interference in 2016 to bash Trump for failing to criticize Vladimir Putin, or for remaining skeptical of U.S. intelligence reports,” Mr. Ciandella says. “Some reporters even used this story to imply that Trump would have never won the 2016 election without Russia’s help.”

AND THE REALITY CHECK



The national broadcasting efforts to compromise Donald Trump‘s reputation may be all for naught, however. The nation does not appear to be buying this scenario in the first place.

“Just one-third of Americans say they believe Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election,” reports a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday.

THE COST OF IGNORING THE HEARTLAND

“Democrats may see Donald Trump as a horrific freak of nature, but the fact remains that he received 63 million votes — 2 million more than Mitt Romney in 2012 and 3 million more than John McCain in 2008,” veteran political analyst Charlie Cook says in an essay for National Journal, adding that Republicans also beat Democrats in the House popular vote, 49.1 percent to 48 percent.

“Increasingly Democrats are becoming a party of urban areas, college towns, minority voters and the East and West Coasts. The heartland, often derided by Democrats as ‘flyover country,’ is now becoming a no-fly zone for the party,” Mr. Cook continues.

“Simply put, Democrats need to expand their sensitivity-training courses to include people who live in small-town and rural America — middle-class white voters, people who live paycheck to paycheck and whites who attend church at least once a week. Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal coalition of voters is now officially dead. Democrats were losing these voters before Donald Trump came along and will continue to do so beyond his presidency unless they show genuine concern for these constituencies,” says Mr. Cook.

HASTA LA VISTA, BABY

By now, most of American knows that movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger will take President-elect Donald Trump‘s place as host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” which will be renamed “The Celebrity Apprentice” and debuts Jan. 2. But Mr. Schwarzenegger will not close the show with “You’re fired,” the signature Trump farewell.

“We narrowed it down to, like, eight of my sayings from the movies and one other option, but even I don’t know yet,” Mr. Schwarzenegger told The Hollywood Reporter this week.

Yes, well. It could be “I’ll be back” from “The Terminator,” a 1984 sci-fi classic. More likely, it could be “Hasta la vista, baby,” from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” released in 1991.

Mr. Schwarzegger’s advice: “I hope everyone chills.”

GETTING SPAMMED

During President Obama‘s vacation in Hawaii, news can be scarce for the White House pool reporters as they wait in some neutral holding area while Mr. Obama golfs, dines or bikes. The “poolers” must be resourceful. Such was the case Tuesday for Gardiner Harris, White House correspondent for The New York Times, sent to cover Mr. Obama’s morning workout at a gym on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

“Pool is holding at a nearby McDonalds, whose localized breakfast menu includes a deluxe breakfast that includes Spam,” wrote Mr. Harris. “Your pooler believes strongly in being sensitive to local culture and its offerings. But there are some traditions that are unequivocally wrong (slavery and child labor spring to mind), and braised spam with scrambled eggs falls into that unfortunate category of unacceptable localized abominations. If Scrapple had been on the menu, this judgment would quite obviously be different.”

THE STATE OF THE STATES

The fastest-growing state in the nation is Utah — this according to new Census Bureau numbers. Utah’s population reached 3.1 million in the last year, an increase of 2 percent, deemed the largest percentage increase in America.

“States in the South and West continued to lead in population growth. In 2016 37.9 percent of the nation’s population lived in the South and 23.7 percent lived in the West,” says Ben Bolender, chief of the population estimates branch.

Nevada, followed by Idaho, Florida and Washington, were the runners-up for fastest-growing states. North Dakota, which had been the fastest-growing state for the previous four years, fell out of the top 10 in growth “due to a net outflow of migrants to other parts of the country,” the bureau noted.

Nationally, the U.S. population grew by 0.7 percent to 323.1 million in the last year; the most populous state is California, with more than 39 million residents. Eight states lost population, including Pennsylvania, New York and Wyoming. Illinois lost more people than any other state, down by 37,508 residents.

POLL DU JOUR

53 percent of Americans say President-elect Donald Trump‘s victory will mean “minor changes” or “no changes” in what the Republican Party stands for; 52 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent of Americans say Mr. Trump’s victory will mean “major changes” for the party; 46 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent of this group says the changes are “good” for the GOP; 83 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent say the changes are “bad” for the party; 16 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 4,183 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 12.

• Petty annoyances, cranky outcry to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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