- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2018

Is there media bias against the first lady of the United States? James Woods — a veteran actor who is no stranger to the workings of Hollywood, media, politics and publicity — summed it all up in 21 words.

“If the Trumps were Democrats, Melania would be on every cover of every chic women’s magazine in the world every month,” Mr. Woods wrote in a recent tweet which was subsequently retweeted over 20,000 times by those who agree with him.

It is ironic, since Mrs. Trump is a mother, businesswoman and former high fashion model who has been nothing but poised and gracious on the global stage in the past 15 months. The White House itself candidly lists the first lady’s previous credits, noting: “She has graced the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, British GQ, Ocean Drive, Avenue, In Style, and New York Magazine. Her major layouts include the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Allure, Vogue, Self, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Elle.”

Media skittishness these days has perplexed more than one journalist.

NBC News media analyst Claire Atkinson investigated the trend in February noting that there was “a clear reluctance among editors to put themselves in the cross-hairs of the culture wars” by featuring the wife of President Trump — despite her stature as a versatile and engaged public figure who speaks five languages and has consistently higher favorability ratings than anyone in the White House.

“There’s also a sense that editors could be taking a political stand,” the NBC analysis said, quoting one editor who claimed it was a “moral issue.”

Now there are some numbers. New York Post media analyst Alexandra Steigrad has parsed coverage of the first lady since Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and here is what she found.

“During her tenure as first lady, Melania has only graced one magazine cover — Vanity Fair Mexico — in February 2017. At the time, the cover caused a commotion due to the president’s insistence that Mexico pay for a border wall, something that has yet to come to fruition,” Ms. Steigrad writes.

“Regardless, not one American magazine has put the former model on its cover, although rumors did swirl in December 2016 when Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, paid a visit to Trump Tower,” she continues, noting that there was nothing to the chatter.

“But Wintour, an Obama fundraiser, did pull out all the stops for Michelle Obama when she served as first lady from 2009 to 2017. During Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency, Michelle appeared on at least 30 U.S. magazine covers, three of which were Vogue. She also appeared twice on the covers of Essence magazine, Time magazine, More magazine and Glamour magazine. Other covers included Redbook, InStyle, and Radar,” Ms. Steigrad said.

COMEYPALOOZA: THE AUTHOR’S SCHEDULE

Yes, former FBI director James B. Comey’s 304-page book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership” will be published Tuesday; it reached No. 1 status on Amazon some time ago, a feat so promising that publisher Macmillan has ordered an initial printing of 850,000 books.

CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter helpfully points out that the initial printing of Michael Wollf’s recent book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — which also created a frenzy in press and public — was 150,000 copies.

And now, the big day is almost here. It is a jubilant holiday for some, a call-to-battle for others. Mr. Comey has already made a debut appearance as an author through early-release clips of an exclusive interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos which aired in entirety Sunday night.

Let the din begin, though. Here’s a few other media stops this week. Mr. Comey will also sit down with Bret Baier on Fox News, Judy Woodruff on PBS, Jake Tapper on CNN, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Stephen Colbert on CBS and the ladies’ of the “The View” on ABC. Mr. Comey also appears in a one-hour town hall on CNN with Anderson Cooper before a live audience April 25 at William & Mary, the author’s alma mater.

But wait, there’s more. In the middle of all this is the 10-city national book tour, which begins in New York on Wednesday.

ACE IS THE PLACE

Fox News prime time host Laura Ingraham lost over 20 advertisers following her public disagreement with anti-gun violence activist David Hogg, who called for a national boycott of her show.

One of those advertisers has returned.

Ace Hardware has reversed its decision to stop advertising on Laura Ingraham’s show, exactly one week after it announced it would part ways with the Fox News host,” reports The Wrap News, a news organization which tracks entertainment and media.

“Advertising on any network or show, is in no way an endorsement from Ace of the content contained or spoken within that program. We appreciate the different points of view from our customers, and believe people should be treated with respect and civility,” the national hardware chain said in a statement.

HALEY’S COMMENT

Recaps are always helpful as the week begins, particularly when it comes to the evolving situation in Syria following a three-nation bombing mission to suppress the nation’s chemical weapons program.

“We went after their massive research facility which was the heart of their chemical weapons program and we went after their production facility. So this was very strong attack on the chemical weapons program. We were not looking for war. That’s the last thing the president wanted was war. We were not looking to kill people. That was not something that in our American values we would want to do,” U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS’ Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“We wanted to send a strong message that they needed to stop the chemical weapons program. We wanted with the political and diplomatic actions that we’re taking now. We wanted their friends Iran and Russia to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well. But our goal was not to start a war and our goal was not to kill people,” Mrs. Haley noted.

POLL DU JOUR

80 percent of Facebook users are concerned their personal information was sold to, and used by outside organizations.

74 percent are concerned about “invasion of privacy” on Facebook.

66 percent are concerned about internet viruses; 64 percent fear receiving unsolicited spam.

30 percent are concerned they spend too much time on Facebook; 28 percent fear being “shamed.”

20 percent feel upset or bad about themselves after reading what others post.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,509 U.S. adults conducted April 2-8.

Ballyhoo and balderdash to [email protected]


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