- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Whether his critics like it or not, President Trump has a knack for creating productive political spectacle that can engage the voting public on a grand scale. Mr. Trump is also a master of media tactics — not surprising, since he was a famous commodity on reality TV for years and is deft at producing buzz-worthy tweets and lasting narratives. Journalists, in act, simply can’t get enough of Mr. Trump, even if he infuriates them. The president is flexible — comfortable on late-night TV, the global stage, a jumbo rally or among the faithful. Mr. Trump, in fact, addressed the 66th Annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

All this multitasking is considered an asset by an increasing number of strategists.

“While conventional wisdom holds that Donald Trump will be a drag on Republican chances of maintaining control of the House, those vying to expand the party’s majority in the Senate are embracing the president as a unique asset in the upcoming campaigns,” writes Caitlin Huey-Burns, a national political reporter for Real Clear Politics.

“Unlike the House map, the Republicans’ path to success in the upper chamber runs through 10 states Trump won in 2016 — five of them by double-digit margins. But beyond those favorable fundamentals, the GOP is looking to the president to lead something of a mass-marketing campaign against well-known Democratic incumbents,” she continues. “Party operatives see the president’s penchant for coining catchy — and pejorative — nicknames, along with his made-for-television campaign rallies, as particularly helpful through the long primary process, helping to define the opposition while Republicans pick their nominees.”


It seems like it’s, say, 1969 all over again. Antiwar activists have joined the outcry against President Trump‘s proposal for a military parade in the nation’s capital. The ANSWER Coalition already has plans to counter the parade, meant as a show of support for U.S. troops. The group, founded three days after the 9/11 attacks, is known for organizing mass protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, among other causes. It has issued its own call to arms, advising followers “to descend on Washington, D.C., to say no to Donald Trump’s War Parade on Veterans Day weekend.”

The organization says it already has filed applications for permits to march along Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues and other areas near the National Mall. It has only criticism for Mr. Trump’s plans.

“This is an obscene glorification of war and a criminal waste of urgently needed money,” said Ben Becker, an organizer. “The United States spends more on the military than the next 10 countries combined. This is an advertisement for spending hundreds of billions more on the Pentagon and to line the pockets of weapons contractors.”


One veteran investigative reporter looks askance at the media landscape. There are still some old school reporters dutifully turning out independent reporting, says investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who hosts a national public affairs show for the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But finding genuine journalism is not easy, she says.

“It’s gotten harder. We have invited some of the propagandists into our newsrooms, and allowed them to dictate the talking points and messages du jour. It is getting more difficult to find down-the-middle, unbiased reporting,” Ms. Attkisson told Fox News. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never in my lifetime seen open-government groups and journalists so uncurious.”


Looks like Hollywood and a pair of well-known Democratic senators have discovered the Lone Star State. It is a worrisome thing for Sen. Ted Cruz, now running for re-election against Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is said to be raising more money than his GOP rival and attracting high-profile attention.

“First, it was Rosie O’Donnell. Then came far-left liberals like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren came to Texas to try and turn it blue. Now, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bravo’s Andy Cohen were in Texas to raise money for Democrats,” says a new outreach message for Mr. Cruz’s campaign.

“These Hollywood liberals do not represent Texas values, and they are working to make sure that Ted’s voice is taken out of Washington. We can’t let that happen. The Democrats are all-in on Texas, and we need to show them we are still going to #KeepTexasRed. Hollywood elites don’t represent Texas values, Don’t let them buy a Senate seat in Texas.”


“Exposure to air pollution, even imagining exposure to air pollution, may lead to unethical behavior,” says new research published by the Association for Psychological Science, which indicates that exposure to air pollution, either physically or mentally, is linked with unethical behavior such as crime and cheating.

“This research reveals that air pollution may have potential ethical costs that go beyond its well-known toll on health and the environment,” says behavioral scientist and lead author Jackson G. Lu of Columbia University’s School of Business, who adds that pollution affects billions of people worldwide.

The psychology association, meanwhile, says previous studies have cited bad air as the culprit — and the new research claims pollution can prompt “criminal activity and unethical behavior” by increasing anxiety levels.

“Our findings suggest that air pollution not only corrupts people’s health, but also can contaminate their morality,” Mr. Lu concludes.


71 percent of U.S. voters have not read “in full” the House Intelligence Committee memo alleging misconduct at the FBI; 68 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 73 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent have read the memo “in part”; 59 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent don’t know if the memo is true or false; 43 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent say the memo is grounds for further investigation of the FBI; 58 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent say the memo is “mostly true”; 46 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent say the memo is “mostly false”; 11 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,993 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 3-4.

Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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