- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

President Trump has transformed his personal tweets into strategic political weapons which launch his messages off to the public, right past the hostile news media, and often over their heads. It’s a skill and an art, really. The canny Mr. Trump arms his tweets with content sure to get a rise from the indignant press.

Now there is a study which confirms that cause-and-effect.

“Stories that included his tweets stood out from those that did not. They were more likely to have a negative assessment of the administration’s words and actions and to include a challenge by the journalist to something Trump or a member of his administration said,” write Elizabeth Grieco and Jeffrey Gottfried, senior analysts with the Pew Research Center who pored through 3,000 news stories on Mr. Trump produced by 24 media outlets.

They found that 1-in-6 of the stories included a Trump tweet, and 54 percent of those tweet-laden stories were negative in tone and content. In addition, 1-in-5 of the tweet stories also contained a “direct refutation” by the reporter about Mr. Trump and his administration.

“Amid these differences between stories with and without the president’s tweets, there was one notable similarity: A large majority of both those with a tweet and those without one structured their coverage around character and leadership rather than policy. However, those with a tweet were even more likely to focus on the president’s leadership and character (85 percent) than those that did not (72 percent),” the analysts said.

AND SPEAKING OF FAKE NEWS

Let’s take one more foray into the dynamic world of President Trump vs. the news media, which typically involves high drama, citizen outrage and occasional comedic relief.

“Nearly half of voters, 46 percent, believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Trump and his administration. Just 37 percent of voters think the media do not fabricate stories, while the remaining 17 percent are undecided,” writes Steven Shepard, chief polling analyst for none other than Politico, which has a poll to share.

The new Politico/Morning Consult survey reveals that 76 percent of Republican voters agree that the press invents stories about Mr. Trump; 44 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats — that’s 1-out-of-5 — agree. Meanwhile, a mere 11 percent of the Republicans think the news media is innocent in the matter, compared to 31 percent of independents and 65 percent of the Democrats.

MILLION KABILLION TRILLION

Mega Millions, the lottery game available in 44 states and Washington, D.C. — plans to offer larger jackpots and “create more millionaires,” officials say, explaining that starting jackpots will increase from $15 million to $40 million, and jackpots will “grow faster” overall. Ticket sales for the updated game begin Oct. 28. There will be higher secondary prizes and better chances to win $1 million prizes. To support the new prize structure, the ticket price will change from $1 to $2 per play.

“Mega Millions players are motivated by large jackpots, which is what these changes are designed to deliver,” says Pennsylvania Lottery executive director Drew Svitko.

In the updated game, players will select five numbers from 1 to 70, and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. Players will have a 1 in 24 overall chance of winning any prize, and a 1 in 302,575,350 chance for the jumbo jackpot. The largest Mega Millions jackpot on record, incidentally, was $656 million in 2012.

POINTS OF LIGHT SHINES

The Points of Light Foundation — founded in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush to encourage the volunteer spirit among Americans — hosts a “Changing Lives Through Service” tribute and awards gala Thursday in the nation’s capital, staged at a splendid embassy.

To be honored: Arnold Schwarzenegger, for his state and global policy work at the University of Southern California; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Coty Sensabaugh and his wife, Dominique Jordan, founders of the Sensabaugh Mission Moon, a nonprofit charity; Jack Hanna and his wife, Suzi Egli, both active in wildlife conservation; and attorney, former U.S. ambassador and special envoy C. Boyden Gray.

The event is hosted by Neil M. Bush, France’s ambassador to the U.S. Grard Araud, and Mr. Gray. The master of ceremonies is CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer. And on the menu: chestnut soup with little choux pastry, tomato confit and savory Parmesan crackers; duck prosciutto; surf and turf — actually branzino with beef tenderloin and Bordelaise sauce — with fresh green beans Provencal and pomme chateau (little potatoes slow-roasted with butter and parsley).

IGNORING THE RUSSIA BOMBSHELL

“New revelations that the FBI uncovered a Russian bribery plot before the Obama administration approved a nuclear deal with Moscow, that involved millions of kickback money to the Clinton Foundation, have been utterly ignored by ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows since the story broke early Tuesday. In fact, the network evening shows have only spent only 3 minutes and 1 second on the Clinton Foundation scandal in more than two years,” writes Geoffrey Dickens, deputy research center for the conservative Media Research Center.

He notes that John Solomon and Alison Spann, the correspondents for The Hill who broke the story Tuesday, did get a cordial welcome from Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of Americans say “women have it easier” than men in the U.S.; 68 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of men and 54 percent of women agree.

35 percent of Americans overall say “men have it easier” than women; 19 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Democrats, 28 percent of men and 41 percent of women agree.

50 percent overall say the U.S. “hasn’t gone far enough” in giving women equal rights with men; 26 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats, 42 percent of men and 57 percent of women agree.

39 percent overall say the nation’s efforts have been “about right”; 54 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of men and 33 percent of women agree.

10 percent overall say the nation’s efforts have “gone too far”; 18 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women agree.

Source: Pew Research Center American Trend polls of 4,573 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 8-21 and Sept. 14-28 and released Wednesday.

Cheers, churlish remarks to [email protected]

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