- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2018

Americans who lament political bias in the news media are not alone. Everyone else around the planet appears to condemn the practice, according to a jumbo-sized Pew Research Center poll that tallied the opinions of people in 38 nations — spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North and South America. Some 40,000 respondents participated, and many have a pronounced distaste for politicized news coverage.

“Despite differences in news media and political structures, clear majorities in 35 of the 38 nations surveyed agree that it is never acceptable for a news organization to favor one political party over others when reporting the news. Globally, a median of three-quarters (75 percent) say such media bias is never permissible, compared with 20 percent who say it is sometimes acceptable,” the poll analysis said.

The most important word in that analysis is “never.” The many thousands of respondents from Russia to Lebanon to France to Nigeria to the U.S. say media bias is “never” acceptable. As in never. The global news consumers have drawn a clear a red line in the sand.

The findings from Americans are telling. Though the GOP rules both Capitol Hill and the White House, the persistent, hostile coverage of President Trump and his administration has left a mark on his fans. Only 24 percent of Republicans reported they are “mostly satisfied news consumers,” the Pew Research poll found — compared with 58 percent of people who “do not identify with the Republican Party.” That’s a 34-point difference.

The wide-ranging and exhaustive survey also revealed that three fourths of the respondents in all 38 nations approve of the job their assorted news organizations do when covering news of the day, and 6-in-10 say the coverage of general topics is reasonably accurate. Still, three fourths of them condemn media bias, which can take a cultural and psychological toll as well as a political one. People get weary, discouraged and vexed when the press fixates on opinion, discord and spin.

How much biased coverage do we get on these shores? In their own analysis, the Media Research Center has found that 90 percent of the broadcast coverage of Mr. Trump has been negative in content and tone, dating from the moment he took office almost a year ago.

A HAPPY ONE-YEAR COUNTDOWN

There’s a lot of hand-wringing over the upcoming one-year anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration next week. There’s chatter about protests, impeachment and other matters dear to the anti-Trump crowd. But forget all that for now. The president himself has some big joyous plans to mark the moment.

Mr. Trump and his family will host a bodacious “victory dinner” at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20 — complete with a people-minded sweepstakes for Trump fans who would like to win a chance for two seats at the table.

“To celebrate the first anniversary of our historic inauguration, some of my top supporters, close friends and family members will be joining me for dinner — and I’d love for you to join us, friend,” Mr. Trump says in the cordial public notice.

The sweepstakes, offered here by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, is open until Wednesday.

STILL TAKING A KNEE

Wondering what will happen should National Football League players choose to take a knee during Super Bowl LII when it airs on NBC Feb. 4? Expect them to be featured on camera.

In a question-and-answer session at the annual gathering of the Television Critics Association, Fred Gaudelli, NBC’s executive producer for the Big Game, provided insight.

“The Super Bowl is a live event, just like ‘Sunday Night Football.’ When you’re covering a live event, you’re covering what’s happening. So if there are players that choose to kneel, they will be shown live. I would say, probably since Thanksgiving, a lot of that has kind of dissipated and died down. It’s certainly possible it could happen again,” Mr. Gaudelli said.

“Putting a spotlight on anthem protestors during the Super Bowl will presumably irk President Trump, but NBC has plenty of experience agitating the president,” predicts Fox News media analyst Brian Flood. “NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ lampoons Trump on a regular basis, and the network recently blamed a third party for their errant tweet backing Oprah Winfrey to run for president.”

SARAH CLARIFIES THE PROGRAMMING

The daily White House press briefing is often a must-see broadcast event, what with its candid shots of the press corps and the intriguing, forthright but civilized authority of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

On Thursday, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta complained to her during the briefing that President Trump is watching Fox News on official time, particularly when “Fox & Friends” is on the air.

“I’m sure you are disappointed he’s not watching CNN,” Mrs. Sanders responded.

“I think he watches a lot of CNN — if you don’t mind me saying it,” Mr. Acosta replied

“I don’t think that’s true,” the press secretary countered.”Your numbers would be higher.”

Indeed, as far as audience ratings are concerned, CNN remains in third place behind Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen Media Research.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

33 percent of U.S. voters say Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” covering the Trump administration is credible; 23 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent say the book is not credible; 38 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent have no opinion on the book; 21 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent say publication of Mr. Wolff’s book should be “halted”; 18 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

20 percent have not heard of the book; 37 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,988 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 4-5.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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