- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2016

A recount of the 2016 election is a dream come true for journalists distraught over President-elect Donald Trump’s victory. Consider that broadcasters essentially ignored Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein as she campaigned around the nation for months on end. That all changed the moment she challenged the final election results, advising followers, “Don’t mourn, organize.” The effort also created a convenient vehicle for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which joined the fray.

Significant coverage instantly materialized. NBC, ABC and CBS, in fact, have given Ms. Stein’s demand for a recount 12 times the coverage they granted for her entire campaign, says Mike Ciandella, an analyst with Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog. Ms. Stein garnered a paltry 36 seconds of airtime during the 17 months she was in the running.

“As soon as she launched a campaign to contest the presidential election and demand a recount of ballots in several key states, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find 7 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage for her in just four days,” says Mr. Ciandella.

Cable networks, plus print and online news organizations are also all over the phenomenon, providing analysis, fancy graphics and recount primers — though hard facts appear to be few.

“Despite this drastic uptick in coverage, Stein admitted that her team was working without proof,” Mr. Ciandella observes, noting that Ms. Stein herself told CBS, “We do not have evidence of fraud. We do not have smoking guns. What we do have is an election that was surrounded by hacking.”

A NOTICE OF NOTE

The Southern Poverty Law Center will be at the National Press Club on Tuesday to publicly call on President-elect Donald Trump “to immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry and to call on Americans to stop all acts of hate.”

The Alabama-based nonprofit says it will release information on some 800 “hateful incidents” they say have occurred in the nation since Election Day. Also on the agenda: results of a teachers survey “detailing the negative effect the election has had on school climates plus “the white nationalist (alt-right) influence on Trump’s campaign and incoming administration, and the implications of Trump’s recent appointments.”

C-SPAN will be there, beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST.

PARSING ‘ALT-RIGHT’

The Associated Press has issued formal guidelines for the proper use of the term “alt-right” by journalists.

“Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist,” says John Daniszewski, vice president for standards at the news organization.

“Whenever “alt-right” is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: ‘an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,’ or, more simply, ‘a white nationalist movement,’” said Mr. Daniszewski, adding, “We should not limit ourselves to letting such groups define themselves, and instead should report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“USA 45”

— New motto now embroidered on President-elect Donald Trump’s signature baseball cap, replacing the phrase “Make America great again.” Mr. Trump debuted the bright-red hat with white-stitched lettering on Sunday upon returning to New York City following a Thanksgiving jaunt to his estate in Florida.

MOVING FORWARD

“Although President-elect Donald Trump will take office with his party in firm control of Congress, a majority of Americans (58 percent) are optimistic that he will make a sincere effort to work with Democrats to find solutions to the nation’s problems. The same majority also believe that Democrats in Congress will sincerely try to work with Trump,” says Gallup poll director Frank Newport.

“Although a record number of Americans believe the nation is divided after this election, Trump will enter office with fairly positive expectations that he will cooperate with Democrats in Congress and that Democrats will cooperate with him,” Mr. Newport notes.

AUTHENTIC ‘CHANGE TO BELIEVE IN’

“In early November, much of the public discussion was hand-wringing over how divided Republicans would have to rebuild their shattered party after the crushing disaster of Donald Trump’s almost-certain Nov. 8 defeat,” writes McClatchy political columnist Andrew McCarthy. “Turns out, at the end of November, the reconstruction recriminations, struggles and talking points are on the other party’s teleprompter. It’s the GOP’s time for change to believe in.

“In addition to the White House and both houses of Congress, the GOP will soon control 34 governorships and more state legislative seats than in its entire 162-year history. Not to mention the all-important presidential bully pulpit, which Trump is already using eight weeks before his inauguration,” continues Mr. McCarthy.

“So far Trump’s skilled arrangement of meetings and choreographed leaks present the image of a thoughtful chief executive reaching out to unite his party, to build strong ties to Congress and to assemble a smart administration in the short two months available to him. We should hear much more of his appointments before the holidays,” the columnist says.

“Will Trump remain disciplined under Oval Office pressures? Will Washington’s Republicans deliver sufficient change soon enough to assuage angry voters who gave them full control after six years of government gridlock? And will this enable the historically minority party of Lincoln to construct a new, enduring coalition of conservatives, independents and deserting Democrats? That’s the key to watch these next two years.”

POLL DU JOUR

87 percent of Americans say they don’t want a “holiday” that tells them when to give to charity.

75 percent are unaware that Tuesday is “Giving Tuesday,” a designated day to promote global charity.

57 percent say their charitable donations have remained at the same level in the past year.

46 percent say charitable giving should be “an option, not a responsibility.”

39 percent say they will likely donate to a charity “in celebration of Giving Tuesday.”

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,049 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 18-22.

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