- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2017

In the age of President Trump, the news media scrambles to control the public narrative of important news events well before these events transpire. This is a daily occurrence in White House coverage. Journalists typically ignore promising news on the economy, job creation, diplomatic gains or authentic legislative accomplishments in favor of mournful reports that suggest all is lost — or soon will be. On Tuesday, it is Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ turn to face the inventive press, which has been hard at work creating an instant negative backdrop for Mr. Sessions long before he appears before the Senate intelligence committee to have his say on the Russia collusion matter, James B. Comey’s status and other issues.

Here’s just a few headlines from the last 24 hours leading up to his appearance.

“Will Trump drag Sessions into his legal quagmire?” (The Washington Post); “The cloud over Jeff Sessions’ head just got darker” (Vanity Fair), “Comey’s words set gauntlet for Sessions confronted by Congress” (Bloomberg News), “Jeff Sessions joins in Donald Trump ring kissing ceremony before testifying to Senate” (Deadline Hollywood), “Jeff Sessions next in scandal spotlight” (Economic Times), “Sessions in the hot seat” (The Hill), “Sessions had one hell of a bad week” (CNN), “Three troubling questions Jeff Sessions will have to answer” (The Nation).

And the actual live broadcast of Mr. Sessions appearance? Fox News begins its coverage at 2 p.m. EDT; the network says its will go “commercial free” when the big doings get going a half-hour later. C-SPAN begins coverage at 2:30 p.m.

COMEY THE ‘SEX SYMBOL’

James Comey is the sex symbol America needs right now,” reads a Daily Beast headline, inspired by the former FBI director’s recent testimony before the Senate intelligence committee.

“He’s handsome, and as with all sex symbols — both the unlikely ones and the obvious ones — he embodies certain qualities in society that we all lust after: integrity, emotional complexity, and quiet but certain confidence,” writes reporter Lizzie Crocker. “That combined with his imposing physical stature gives him the same alluring masculinity as sex symbols like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (particularly Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice).”

Mr. Comey also inspired some curious creativity among some journalists.

“One after the other, left-leaning media outlets featured pieces comparing former FBI director James Comey’s alleged treatment at the hands of President Trump to that of a female victim being sexually harassed by a male superior,” writes Breitbart.com analyst Aaron Klein, who cited examples in USA Today, The New York Times and the New York Daily News.

Talk radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh was incredulous about the coverage.

“This is the kind of thing we used to do parodies of. This is the kind of thing we used to make jokes about,” Mr. Limbaugh told his listeners Monday.

A PASSING MOMENT

“Made in America — but we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath.”

— New public billboard for Smirnoff vodka, which the company explains is “a wink and a nod to current affairs.”

GEARING UP FOR THE BIRTHDAY

President Trump turns 71 on Wednesday, sparking much speculation on his plans for the day. Now that first lady Melania Trump and son Barron have moved into the White House, the event portends to be a heartfelt gathering for those closest to the president. Cordial public greetings are also part of the day.

“This will be the most important birthday of his presidency because it will show him how passionate his supporters really are,” reads an online birthday card organized by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And from the first lady herself comes this request, also for a public greeting card:

“I need your help to make it a birthday my husband will never forget. Our celebrations always include family and close friends. You have certainly proven yourself to be a loyal friend of my husband through your support of his positive vision to Make America Great Again and your unwavering commitment to the Republican Party. Donald will be glad to hear from friends like you who have meant so much to his and our Party’s success,” Mrs. Trump noted in a recent public outreach.

THE PRESS FROWNS UPON MR. PRIEBUS

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is a veteran political strategist who had a distinct influence on the Republican National Committee during his six-year tenure as chairman. Mr. Priebus coaxed the GOP into realizing the value of tactical quotes and refined the party’s prowess in fundraising, budget management and the all-important grass-roots ground game.

No wonder that the news media wants him out of the White House.

“The media has ‘fired’ Reince Priebus at least 14 times since election day,” writes Aidan McLaughlin, an analyst for Mediate.com.

“If rumors that Priebus is next on the chopping block seem familiar, it’s because they’ve circulated almost weekly since Trump took office and a few even predate the president’s inauguration,” Mr. McLaughlin continues, noting these repeat reports typically use anonymous sources who claim “the knives are out” or that Mr. Priebus is on “thin ice.”

The analyst traces these stories back to Dec. 14, 2016, when Vanity Fair wondered if Mr. Priebus had “already overplayed his hand” and claiming the proverbial knives were in evidence. Meanwhile, journalists continue to insist Mr. Priebus is leaving the White House: The claims appeared in news accounts twice in February, twice in March and April, five times in May and three times already in the month of June.

POLL DU JOUR

14 percent of the world’s adults — 710 million people — say they would “move to another country if they had the opportunity.”

21 percent of this group — an estimated 149 million people — want to migrate to the U.S.

6 percent of this group wants to migrate to Germany.

5 percent each prefers Canada, the United Kingdom or France; 4 percent prefer Australia.

3 percent each prefer Saudi Arabia or Spain; 2 percent each cite Italy, Switzerland, Japan or United Arab Emirates.

1 percent each prefers Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Russia, New Zealand, China, Netherlands, Brazil, Turkey or South Korea.

Source: a Gallup World Poll of 586,806 adults in 156 countries, conducted from 2013 to 2016 and released June 8.

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