NEWS AND OPINION:
There are those who believe Fox News has been methodically targeted by critics who would like to see the end of the network’s ratings reign and influence. Fox News has been the No. 1 news channel for 15 years and is currently first in the entire cable realm, according to Nielsen Media Research. Yet recent dramatic developments draw much attention, including the departures of prime time hosts Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly, harassment lawsuits from former employees, the unexpected death of Fox News founder Roger Ailes — and now, a new episode. Veteran host Sean Hannity is temporarily off the air after featuring a conspiracy-related story, which the network ultimately retracted. Five advertisers have pulled their commercials from the show.
Some see a greater pattern here, and a dangerous one.
Phil Valentine, a Westwood One talk radio host, now warns that the “radical left has mobilized against Hannity,” and he challenges his fellow broadcasters to take a stand for free speech, not just “acceptable” speech.
“The radical left loves to call conservatives fascists, yet there is nothing more fascist than shutting down people who dare utter something counter to your world view,” Mr. Valentine writes in an op-ed for Talkers.com, an industry publication.
“They’re coming for Hannity today. If they succeed, you may very well be next,” he warns his on-air peers.
“The attack on Sean Hannity is a part of the liberal strategy to re-establish their monopoly over television news. They want only one voice on the air: their own. All others must be silenced,” declares Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog.
“We now see elements of corporate America joining in the liberal cause and advancing the liberal strategy. These corporations are not serving the interests of their customers. Sponsoring a free, meaningful dialogue based on mutual respect reflects what happens among consumers in everyday life. When corporations withdraw from that debate, it does not serve the interests of their country, it merely makes them servants of the politically correct,” Mr. Bozell concludes.
FOR THE LEXICON
— New Twitter hashtag from the Tea Party Patriots to support Fox News host Sean Hannity, who refuses, the grass roots group says, “to join the mainstream media pack singularly focused on tearing down President Trump.”
TRUMP BUDGET GETS CONSERVATIVE BLESSING
The liberal narrative opposing President Trump’s 2018 budget request frames his proposals as heartless toward vulnerable populations. The American Conservative Union begs to differ, however, citing several aspects of the proposal that “conservatives should celebrate” — including reduced spending, attention to border security and veteran’s benefits, plus income tax reform.
“The president’s budget is a solid and sound starting point to begin the process of arriving at an eventual agreement. It’s a brave and honest effort to scrutinize everything,” says Matt Schlapp, chairman of the organization. “This budget proposal will serve as an effective road map that will shape the direction of the budgetary process toward an eventual agreement and spur the economy toward a more robust rate of annual growth.”
‘SOMETHING THEY COULD LIVE WITH’
A new Rand Corporation report offers insight into the reunification of North Korea and South Korea. It recommends that officials in the South attempt “to help North Korean elites feel more positive about, or at least less resistant to, unification” — typically depicted as “disastrous” in the northern nation’s propaganda.
“There are five conditions that would likely help North Korean elites feel that unification could be good for them,” says report author Bruce Bennett. “These include ensuring their individual safety and security, maintaining their positions, maintaining their wealth, ensuring their family’s safety and privileges, and being able to do something meaningful for their country.”
The report says conditions for unification could emerge at any time, and advises the South Korean government to develop a set of protocols. Like now. The report also suggests that South Korea could plan “to continue the role of many elites in the combined Korean government and/or the combined Korean economy” — and address the potential need to extend amnesty to millions of North Koreans.
A peaceful transition is ideal. Unification, however, could follow conflict or a North Korean government collapse, the report said, noting that much hinges on “convincing Northern elites that unification would be something they could live with, and not something unacceptably bad.”
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POLL DU JOUR
• 62 percent of U.S. voters believe “America’s best days are ahead”; 76 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats agree.
• 60 percent of voters overall agree that “even if people are offended, Americans should speak frankly about controversial issues and problems in the country.”
• 79 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.
• 36 percent of voters overall say that “it’s important to avoid language that is hurtful and offensive to some Americans.”
• 18 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,011 registered U.S. voters conducted May 21-23.
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