- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The era of fake news, relentless 24/7 coverage and shrill social media has taken a toll on Americans. Many have become wary of the news itself, and very selective about whom they believe. Amazingly, the old-school reporter tops the list of those the public still trusts as a news source. But not by much.

“As much as the media has been called into question of late, reporters still top the list as credible sources of news (39 percent) — but are followed closely by the self. Nearly a third (32 percent) says they trust nobody, only their own instincts. The next response is friends, family members or peers (27 percent), revealing a propensity to turn inward or to one’s tribe for truth when outside authorities are no longer seen as reliable,” states a comprehensive new analysis from the Barna Group, a private research organization that polled some 8,000 Americans on their gut feelings when facing a “post-truth” world.

Who is next on the list of trusted sources? Another 22 percent said they trusted “a famous academic,” 14 percent cited their local pastor while 12 percent looked to a teacher they knew personally. At the bottom of the list: 7 percent cited politicians, 6 percent a “famous” pastor and 6 percent a celebrity.

“The term ‘post-truth’ is now often used to describe the current political climate in the United States, in which reality is relative and even the facts are open to interpretation,” the researchers noted.

NETWORKS GO WILD FOR WOLFF

The “Big Three” networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — are very much in love with “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the new book by Michael Wolff, which is rife with criticism of President Trump and his administration.

“The networks engaged in a feeding frenzy over Wolff’s gossip-filled book, as they ate up the salacious details,” writes Geoffrey Dickens in a study for the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog.

“From January 3 through January 9, the networks stuffed their evening and morning programs with over two hours of coverage of the Wolff book. But other big news, like the FBI re-opening the investigation into the Clinton Foundation scandal only drew 11 minutes, 10 seconds,” says Mr. Dickens. “The historic moment when Dow Jones cracked the 25,000 mark only got 5 minutes.”

The final total for the Wolff book coverage on the three networks was two hours, 20 minutes and five seconds — all promoting “unsubstantiated allegations against Trump,” notes Mr. Dickens.

LAWMAKERS AND THE MARCH FOR LIFE

The 45th annual March for Life is just eight days away, set to draw a huge, devoted crowd to the National Mall for the world’s largest pro-life demonstration. Organizers expect at least 100,000 people — including Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan.

“He has been an unwavering champion for the pro-life cause since taking office, and continues to utilize his post to promote the inherent dignity of the human person at all stages of life,” says Jeanne Mancini, president of the march itself. “We are grateful for the significant strides U.S. Congress made in the last year to protect and defend the most innocent among us, and are confident that 2018 will see even more pro-life progress with Speaker Ryan leading the charge.”

Also appearing: Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington and Chris Smith of New Jersey, plus Rep. Dan Lipinski, Illinois Democrat; Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James, former NFL player Matt Birk and wife Adrianna Birk, and Pam Tebow — mother of NFL star Tim Tebow.

“This demonstration seeks to stand against the greatest human rights violation of our time — abortion-on-demand. The theme of this year’s March for Life is ‘Love Saves Lives’, embodying the true spirit and mission of the pro-life movement by enlisting the power of love to empower others to choose life,” observes Ms. Mancini.

CONSERVATIVES TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Conservatives will be at the White House on Thursday for intense policy discussions on criminal justice reform. Among those attending: Brooke Rollins, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime — an organization supporting conservative solutions for reducing crime which has the support of 60 high-profile conservatives, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Jim DeMint. Also attending: Republican Govs. Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Nathan Deal of Georgia who have implemented successful reforms in their states.

Right on Crime itself supports the Trump administration; both agree on prison reform which “increases public safety by punishing those who pose serious danger to the community,” while seeking productive ways to help former prisoners re-enter society.

“Over 95 percent of people incarcerated will be released from prison at some point regardless of their crime. Americans are safer and communities stronger when individuals come out of prison better than they went in. Rehabilitation programs give them a second chance at self-reliance and personal responsibility so they can lead productive and law-abiding lives,” observes Mr. DeMint.

FOXIFIED

Fox News Channel continues to top its cable news competition according to Nielsen Media Research, outpacing rivals CNN and MSNBC in prime time and throughout the day. Fox drew over 2 million viewers in prime time, compared to MSNBC with 1.5 million and CNN with 823,000. Fox Business Network also bested rival CNBC, according to Nielsen numbers. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” was the No. 1-rated program in business television for the 72nd consecutive week with 357,000 total viewers.

POLL DU JOUR

• 42 percent of Americans are unsure if Mitt Romney should run for the Senate; 31 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 41 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Romney; 31 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

• 37 percent overall say if he were elected, he would oppose President Trump; 38 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

• 30 percent overall would prefer he not run for the Senate; 32 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

• 28 percent would like to see Mr. Romney run; 37 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 8-9.

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