- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It could get noisy. Beginning Wednesday, more than 60 talk radio hosts from around the country will converge on the nation’s capital for the 11th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire,” a broadcast event sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform — or FAIR for short.

The hosts include Lars Larson, Frank Gaffney, Phil Valentine, Mike Siegel, Wayne Dupree, Bruce Elliott, Armstrong Williams, Larry O’Connor, Tom Shattuck, Joyce Kaufman and Rick Hamada — who journeyed all the way from Hawaii to appear. Every one of the hosts will be broadcasting live from a temporary “radio row” site just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, their shows aired through nationwide syndication or from their home stations. Michelle Malkin is among the journalists who will cover the big doings.

Guests include lawmakers, administration and law enforcement officials, policy experts and “people whose lives have been forever changed by our failed and dangerous immigration policies,” organizers say. Border security, vetting protocols, E-Verify and sanctuary policies will all be scrutinized by the hosts and their guests.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is not happy with the event, noting that “emboldened FAIR will flood the talk radio airwaves” during the two-day event.

“The nativist climate in the U.S. is at a fever pitch following an 18-month presidential campaign and six months of nativist polices being enacted by executive decree. FAIR’s victory lap later this week will only add to the cacophony,” the group noted in a statement Tuesday, referring to the host organization as an “anti-immigrant hate group.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“FNN”

— Radio host Rush Limbaugh’s new name for CNN. It stands for “Fake News Network,” he says, suggesting that his old monicker for the news organization — the “Clinton News Network” — is now somewhat passe.

TRUMP-FREE, FOR 24 HOURS

They don’t care much for President Trump, and for a 24-hour period, they did without him. That would be Salon, which declared itself to be “Trump-free” on Tuesday as an experiment in journalism. Or something.

“The entire American media has been caught in an endless feedback loop, and we are not immune. But public fascination with his words, deeds and actions has barely ebbed since Election Day or Inauguration Day, if it has ebbed at all. His name and face remain surefire clickbait, for our site and virtually everyone else’s,” the editors noted in a public message.

“Do Salon’s readers actually want a day without You Know Who? Or a week? Or a lifetime? Or is this the media equivalent of buying three bunches of kale, knowing full well you will let them rot in the veggie drawer?” they noted, inviting the inevitable reader feedback.

BROADCASTERS ‘OBSESSED’ WITH RUSSIA

A new Media Research Center study reveals just how much the broadcast networks are obsessed with President Trump and unproven “Russian collusion.” Senior analyst Rich Noyes reveals that 55 percent of the stories on Mr. Trump airing on ABC, CBS and NBC centered on the Russia probe. That’s 171 out of 364 evening news stories. A third of these stories were anonymously sourced.

The networks concentrated on the Russia matter at the expense of important policy topics. The three networks collectively spent less than five minutes each on economic policy, trade issues and U.S. relations with Cuba.

“The investigation garnered 20 times more attention than the new health care bill, 100 times more attention than the administration’s push to improve the nation’s infrastructure and a stunning 450 times more coverage than the push for comprehensive tax reform,” Mr. Noyes said.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” was most “enraptured” by the Russia story, devoting nearly two-thirds of its Trump news to the subject. On “CBS Evening News” it was 54 percent; on “NBC Nightly News” it was 48 percent.

Mr. Noyes pointed to a new Harvard-Harris Poll that found that the majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to health care, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs. The study was conducted from May 17 to June 20.

BEN’S SUGGESTIONS

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had a word or two to say on the health care vote — Capitol Hill’s latest testy cliffhanger. Will there be a consensus made on this GOP legislation?

“In the end, there will be consensus here, particularly as people begin to understand that this is a work in process. I would offer to the Democrats: Begin to think about how we can make it work, not how it doesn’t work. That’s one of the things that I find here in Washington. More people spend time talking about what can’t be done than what can be done. We’ve got to get back to the can-do attitude that made America great,” Mr. Carson told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday.

Should the government still have a role in our health care system?

“The government is supposed to facilitate life. That has to do with health care, the pursuit of happiness and liberty. I think all of those are important things. So there is a role for the government. But it’s not a predominant role, it’s a facilitating role,” Mr. Carson observed.

FOXIFIED

Continuing its dominance as the top-rated news network, Fox News marked 62 consecutive quarters as the highest-rated cable news channel in total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s over 15 years in first place. Fox also topped basic cable in both prime-time and total daytime viewing, ahead of TNT and Nickelodeon, marking four consecutive quarters as the most-watched basic cable network of all.

The Fox News audience is also up by 27 percent compared to last year; the network also claimed 14 of the top 20 cable news programs.

There is also good news for the FOX Business Network, now the number one rated business network, besting rival CNBC, for three consecutive quarters in “business day viewers.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 71 percent of Americans use emojis, GIFs and other “visual expressions” when they text on phones or mobile messaging apps.

• 69 percent say these expressions make them feel more connected to people.

• 65 percent use the symbols to express their personality or emotions.

• 59 percent are more comfortable expressing emotions with symbols rather then voicing them in a phone conversation.

Source: A Harris/Tenor poll of 2,057 U.S. adults conducted May 24-26 and released Tuesday.

• Sullen comments and curious asides to [email protected]

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