- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2017

News coverage often seems like a skittish, random collection of outrage, commentary, fleeting news, stray facts, speculation, conflicting information, whining and suggestive headlines these days. The public — along with politicians and even journalists themselves — are hard pressed to navigate the technology-fueled tumble of information, a trend that is flourishing during a time when Americans crave and deserve clarity, solutions and wisdom.

Perhaps some pine for the simple days of yore. Just as the Iraq War began in 2003, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once pointed out the value of the old World War II newsreels — those 20-minute weekly films focused on clear issues and pivotal news. The public could grasp the gist of important things in summary, rather than witnessing it “every second,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. The reports helped keep citizens stay united and informed in a particularly dangerous time.

Meanwhile, intrepid Americans race to stay up on the news, the fake news, the social media news, the blog news, the news packaged as entertainment. They also understand what President Trump is up against when it comes to the unsettled media. They get it. Here come the numbers: A new Rasmussen Report survey finds that almost half of Americans — 48 percent — agree that “it is not possible” for Mr. Trump to say or do anything that wins media approval. Among Republicans, 63 percent agree he can never appease the press, along with 50 percent of independents and a third of Democrats. Among respondents who strongly support the president, the number is 84 percent.

The trillion-dollar question is: So what? Does Mr. Trump need media “approval” to succeed, say, in policy projects? If broad gains in the economy and job creation are any indicator, Mr. Trump is on a roll, whether the press likes it or not. He also remains center stage; industry studies already prove that news coverage of the president guarantees an audience for news organizations — and with that, an increase in ad revenue.

THEY STILL ADMIRE AMERICA

Amid political turmoil, President Trump might be pleased to know that 75 million global travelers prefer vacationing in the U.S. every year, and they contribute $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, according to a new analysis by 24/7 Wall Street.

Some like America more than others, particularly our immediate neighbors. Canada is our No. 1 customer; 19 million Canadians visited the U.S. last year. Mexico is in second place with 18 million travelers, followed by Britain (4.5 million), Japan (3.5 million), China (2.9 million), Germany (2 million), South Korea (1.9 million), Brazil (1.4 million), France (1.6 million) and Australia (1.3 million) — to round out the top 10.

EVERY STATE CONSTITUTION MENTIONS ‘GOD’

There is always talk about separation of church and state, the presence of faith in public places and other complex matters. But one thing is for sure. The U.S. Constitution does not mention God or the divine presence. This does not hold true across America, however. God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, this according to a meticulous new Pew Research Center analysis.

With a dozen references to God in its constitution, the state of Massachusetts has the most references to the Creator, followed by North Carolina with 10, Vermont with nine, Maryland with eight, Maine and Texas with seven each, and a large group has a half-dozen references to God in their constitutions. They are: Rhode Island, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Delaware and Mississippi. A half-dozen states only have a single reference to the divine.

Pew analyst Aleksandra Sandstrom has winnowed out the creative specifics of the language. Overall all, there are 116 mentions of God, she says.

“There are also 14 mentions of a Supreme or Sovereign Being, seven mentions of the ‘Creator,’ three mentions of ‘providence,’ four mentions of ‘divine’ and 46 instances of the word ‘almighty.’ While there are 32 mentions of the word ‘Lord,’ all but one refer to ‘the year of our Lord’ and so are not direct references to God,” Ms. Sandstrom writes. “Indeed, the U.S. Constitution also makes reference to ‘the year of our Lord.’ There also are seven mentions of the word ‘Christian.’”

KELLI WARD ARRIVES

Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward, who has decided to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake in the Grand Canyon State, will likely be a presence onstage when President Trump stages one of his signature jumbo rallies in Phoenix next week. Dr. Ward — an emergency room physician and married mother of three — is succinct about her views.

“Kelli Ward is a conservative champion who will stand with President Trump and fight to make Arizona great again,” heralds her campaign site, also emphasizing her support for traditional values, border security, personal responsibility, a robust military and the Second Amendment — and other matters.

Also among her other beliefs, again according to her campaign site: “Kelli agrees with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s view that ‘The Constitution is not a living organism. It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.’ Even more importantly, Kelli believes that our rights are granted by God, not government.”

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POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of Americans think President Trump “says what he believes”; 81 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent say Mr. Trump is conservative; 60 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent “like Mr. Trump as a person”; 77 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent are “not sure” what ideology Mr. Trump favors; 9 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

8 percent say Mr. Trump is liberal; 6 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 13-15.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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