Forget about providing fair, conscientious coverage of important topics. Even after all this time, it’s still all-Russia all the time for the nation’s biggest broadcasters. Significant news stories are being ignored in favor of a never-ending parade of speculative reports about President Trump‘s relationship with Russia, say Nicholas Fondacaro and Rich Noyes, both analysts for NewsBusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
ABC, CBS and NBC are instead delivering an “Iron Curtain of Russia news” which mutes the big stories, to the detriment of viewers, the two analysts say.
“The broadcast networks’ obsession with all things Russia continues,” they declare, this after poring over coverage during a 10-day study period that ended Tuesday — revealing that evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC devoted nearly two hours (114 minutes) to the ongoing probe of potential 2016 collusion.
Everything else got short shrift.
In the course of those 10 days, the “Big Three” networks spent just 42 minutes on the Senate health care bill, even as that legislation collapsed due to a lack of support from a handful of Republican senators.
Stories which had positive or promising news were scarce indeed. The long-awaited defeat of Islamic State forces in Mosul warranted a mere 13 minutes. The record-breaking soar of the stock market got no coverage — as in zero. The elimination of Islamic State leader Abu Sayed in Afghanistan got no coverage. The firing of top officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs to foster better care for the nation’s vets also got no mention.
Important coverage, the analysts said, was simply “crowded out.”
WESTERN CONSERVATIVES READY TO RUMBLE
It has been a troubling week in the political and media realms for many reasons — and there will likely be a repeat performance next week. All that aside, let us dwell instead on the Western Conservative Summit, which begins Friday and features a host of accomplished, optimistic speakers who are poised to remind conservatives that their mission and legacy go on — or words to that effect.
Organized by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University and staged in Denver, the three-day event is expected to draw 4,000 attendees and is billed as “the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C.”
So that’s an automatic plus. The theme is “making goodness fashionable,” with a concentration on faith, freedom and family.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke leads a stellar lineup of speakers, and is hailed because, well, he gets it.
“Secretary Zinke is a patriot and true leader of the West. He understands the values and views of Western conservatives,” says Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute and chairman of the summit itself.
Also on the roster: Sens. Tim Scott and Cory Gardner, Rep. Ken Buck, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, John R. Bolton, Bill Bennett, Jay Sekulow, James Dobson, Cal Thomas, Katie Pavlich, Frank Gaffney, Jim DeMint and none other than Charles Hurt — opinion editor for The Washington Times. Find the summit here
THOSE SENSITIVE DEMOCRATS
“A majority of the public finds talking with people who have a different opinion from their own about President Trump to be a stressful and frustrating experience: About six-in-10 (59 percent) say it is stressful and frustrating, while about a third (35 percent) say it is interesting and informative,” reports a new Pew Research Center survey.
“Democrats feel more negatively about talking politics with people who have a different opinion of the president than do Republicans,” the pollster says, revealing that 68 percent of the Dems gets cranky over Trump talk — compared to 52 percent of the Republicans.
“Most of the public says learning that a friend voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would not have any effect on their friendships. About one-in-five (19 percent) say that knowing a friend had voted for Trump would put a strain on their friendship; 7 percent say knowing a friend had voted for Clinton would strain their friendship,” the survey said.
It found that 35 percent of Democrats agreed that if a friend voted for Trump, it would strain the friendship; just 13 percent of the Republicans would feel that way if a pal voted for Mrs. Clinton.
A MIGHTY, MIGHTY CARRIER
The Navy will commission its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford, on Saturday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the lead ship of the new Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carrier, the first new class in more than 40 years. This is a big deal. Suffice it to say that President Trump will be there for the occasion.
This $13 billion vessel is 1,100 feet long, has a crew of 2,600 and brings the U.S. Navy’s carrier fleet up to 11. Mr. Trump has his eye on an even dozen.
“The nation’s going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford,” says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. “I am incredibly thankful for the shipyard workers and sailors who worked amazingly hard to bring this mighty ship to life.”
On his bragging list: The carrier features a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, electromagnetic aircraft launch system, advanced aircraft arresting gear, dual band radar and integrated warfare systems. Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers have more than 23 new or modified systems.
See the ceremony streamed live at 10 a.m. Saturday at Navylive.dodlive.mil.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 88 percent of Americans who voted for President Trump in the 2016 election would still vote for him today.
• 7 percent of them are unsure who they would vote for; 4 percent would vote for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or Hillary Clinton.
• 1 percent would not vote.
• 86 percent of U.S. voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election would still vote for her today.
• 8 percent of them are unsure who they would vote for; 3 percent would vote for President Trump.
• 3 percent would not vote or vote “for others.”
Source: A Reuters/IPSOS poll of 1,296 U.S. adults conducted July 11-12.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin