- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 19, 2016

After a recent investigative story revealed that Facebook was biased against conservatives, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met with 16 high-profile conservatives. The American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp opted out, however, saying Facebook credibility problems can’t be solved by a “photo-op” — and that he refused to be “Facebook’s PR pawn.”

He’s not done yet. Mr. Schlapp has launched a formally worded public petition against Facebook, which is already gathering momentum. It reads:

“Whereas, 41 percent of Americans get their news from Facebook, giving it enormous influence over what Americans read and think; and, Whereas, Facebook and its Speech Police have abused their power, censoring the American Conservative Union, CPAC, and other conservative voices in its news feed; and, Whereas, Facebook’s continued blacklisting of conservative voices hurts the ACU’s and conservatives’ ability to engage in a free and fair debate, skews public opinion, and violates the spirit of a free society; Therefore, I demand that Facebook immediately and without delay cease and desist from censoring, blacklisting or otherwise rigging its news feed against conservatives.”

TRUMP STEADILY ON THE RISE

“As a number of Republican Party leaders express dissatisfaction with Donald Trump being their party’s presumptive nominee, rank-and-file Republicans have become more positive about the billionaire businessman. Over the last seven days, Mr. Trump’s favorable rating among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents has reached 66 percent, the highest since Gallup began tracking him nine months ago,” writes Gallup poll director Frank Newport, who says the candidate enjoys the most support among conservatives, those over 55 and male voters.

Still, it’s a lower rating than Mr. Trump’s Republican predecessors. Mitt Romney garnered 82 percent at this point in his 2012 campaign; Sen. John McCain had 84 percent at a similar time in 2008.

“The fact that Trump has a significantly more negative image than has been the norm for his party’s nominees at this point in recent campaigns could partially reflect the time frame of the nomination process. Trump’s battle against his competitors has gone on much longer,” Mr. Newport said, noting that during their quests for the White House, Mr. McCain had his nomination by February, Mr. Romney by April.

NRA MEETING: HUGE, AND RIGHT ON TARGET

The four-day National Rifle Association’s annual meeting now underway in Louisville hosts the likes of Donald Trump, Sens. Rand Paul and Jeff Sessions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Trey Gowdy and Govs. Mike Pence and Matt Bevin. The event also draws 80,000 very attentive attendees, who will roam through 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and gaze at 800 displays from the nation’s gun manufacturers.

The meeting has been named the fastest-growing trade show in the nation by the Trade Show News Network. The industry group Biz Bash ranked it third-best “political event” in the nation. The secret? The protector of the Second Amendment knows its audience.

“NRA is delivering an event that is constantly evolving to meet the growing needs and expectations of our members and supporters,” notes Jeffrey Poole, who manages the organization’s many shows and exhibits.

 

WEINER, THE MOVIE

It will surely enter the political narrative. “Weiner,” an award-winning new documentary about the travails of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, hits the nation’s theaters this weekend. He is married to Huma Abedin, close adviser to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“What on one hand feels like a cleverly voyeuristic documentary, on the other suggests a man seemingly begging for his dirty laundry to be aired in public,” noted the Sundance Foundation, which awarded the film its Grand Jury Prize for a documentary at its festival in January.

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Yes, there is still stuff to track about the presidential hopefuls. Sen. Bernard Sanders will be in Northern California for the weekend for rallies in National City and Vista. Hillary Clinton is in fundraising mode. She personally appears at two events in Chicago, two in Dallas and a third in Austin, Texas — and one more in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, with tickets that cost as much as $27,000. Former President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, appears at rallies in North Dakota and South Dakota this weekend.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has eased out of his nonstop campaign appearances for now. He staged one rally in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, on Thursday; his next formal campaign outreach is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Main Street Mansion, built in 1880 in Richmond, Indiana. Intricate brick exterior with slate roof, balcony and side porch, wrought iron fencing. Three bedrooms, two baths, 2,320 square feet; original interior woodworking, carved staircases, pocket doors, floors and stained glass windows. Two fireplaces and multiple built-ins, dining and living rooms, upgraded kitchen and baths. Priced at $155,000 through Lingle.com; enter 10026852 in search function.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of voters overall have an unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton; 92 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

56 percent overall have an unfavorable impression of Donald Trump; 25 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 89 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall say they would vote for Mr. Trump if the election were today; 82 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall say they would vote for Mrs. Clinton if the election were today; 7 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,021 registered U.S. voters conducted May 14-17.

• Murmurs and asides to [email protected]


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