- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Talk radio kingpin Michael Savage says he has a week to make up his mind about a big career change. Should he run for the U.S. Senate seat in California, to oppose Sen. Dianne Feinstein, now seeking her fifth term in office?

His 7 million listeners are behind the idea, Mr. Savage says, and his policy agenda for the Golden State is already clear. Sealing the porous southwestern border is at the top of his list, along with ending illegal immigration, lowering taxes, managing the “homeless epidemic” and establishing English as the only language on government documents, including voter ballots.

“I have been the voice of the forgotten in California as radical leftists have devastated my home state. After being approached by a number of people, I am now openly considering the race for the U.S. Senate,” says Mr. Savage.

His potential candidacy has received much news coverage in recent days, though his two biggest home-state newspapers ­— The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle ­— instantly characterized Mr. Savage as “far right.” He believes the political marketplace has changed.

“The electorate is moving away from the establishment candidates in favor of the grassroots hopefuls. Across America, voters have abandoned the traditional candidates for those with more diverse backgrounds and those not afraid to speak outside of the party line. I am the embodiment of a populist candidate, speaking for American values and dedicating my life to the advancement of our environment,” observes Mr. Savage.

“I have until March 8 to make my ultimate decision: whether or not I will throw my hat in the race. For the time being, I will be carefully considering the advice and opinions offered by those who have supported me in the past.”

Of note: Zazzle — a graphics manufacturer which offers decorative and cause-themed clothing, office supplies and other fare­ — already has “Michael Savage for President” bumper stickers in stock, but none for his Senate campaign. Well, not yet, anyway.

NOT SO KEEN ON THE BOYCOTT

A Morning Consult survey released Wednesday reveals that companies that have severed their ties with the National Rifle Association after the Florida student shootings now risk “a backlash” in public opinion.

“MetLife Inc., the insurance giant that ended a discount for NRA members last week, had a 45 percent favorable rating, compared to a 12 percent unfavorable rating, before survey participants were informed of that move. After learning of it, respondents with an unfavorable view of the company doubled to 24 percent, while its favorability rating was unchanged,” the pollster said, noting that the findings were similar when respondents were asked their opinion of Alamo and National car-rental companies and other firms.

Branding experts are now gauging how consumers react to political involvement among retailers and other commercial concerns. It can be a tricky business. Some people love the idea that a company is candid about its political or civic calling, others reject the combination.

Meanwhile, who do voters blame for mass shootings in general? See the numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

CHANGE: PBS ACKNOWLEDGES CONSERVATISM

For some viewers, it’s a start. Next month, PBS will launch “In Principle,” a half-hour conservative talk show series hosted by Washington Post columnist and broadcast commentator Michael Gerson and Amy Holmes — a familiar host and contributor to MSNBC and The Blaze who was also a political columnist at The Washington Times and co-host of a syndicated morning radio show once associated with The Times.

PBS says the new series will include guests from across the ideological spectrum. Both co-hosts, meanwhile, appear to have a clear intent in mind.

“We need a place where we can have thoughtful, reasonable, in-depth conversations about politics, policy, culture — you name it — where we’re really talking to each other instead of shouting at each other. It’s not about shouting, it’s about talking and listening and learning. I want our viewers to feel it was always time well spent, that they come away saying, ‘I learned something that I didn’t know before,’” says Ms. Holmes, who describes herself as a “conservative independent” in her Twitter profile.

“This is a time when big, fundamental issues — about identity, about citizenship, about how we define our country — are being debated in American life,” says Mr. Gerson. “We need serious dialogue that stands in contrast to the degraded discourse so common in American politics right now.”

FOXIFIED

The network still dominates the field. Fox News Channel continues to dominate all of basic cable offerings, besting such non-news rivals as USA Network, HGTV and NBC Sports according to Nielsen Media Research.

As it has done for 16 years, Fox also topped MSNBC and CNN, drawing 2.9 million viewers, compared to 1.7 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN. The debut of “Life, Liberty and Levin” with Mark Levin drew the largest audience for its 10 p.m. time slot with 1.4 million viewers, compared to 266,000 who tuned into MSNBC and 792,000 for CNN.

There is also happy news for Fox Business Network, which marks its ninth consecutive month as the leader in business news, according to Nielsen numbers. Fox Business coverage saw a 16 percent advantage over rival CNBC for February, averaging 246,000 viewers compared to 212,000 for CNBC. Additionally, Fox Business also scored the top-three rated business news programs among its rivals.

POLL DU JOUR

• 82 percent of U.S. voters blame “mental illness” for mass shootings in the U.S.; 87 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

• 77 percent overall say “lack of access to treatment for mental illness” is to blame; 79 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree,

• 45 percent of voters overall blame the National Rifle Association; 25 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

• 41 percent of voters overall blame Republicans in Congress; 21 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

• 36 percent of voters overall blame President Trump; 16 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

• 36 percent of voters overall blame Democrats in Congress; 46 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,992 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 22-26.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.


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