- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 14, 2018

Yes, the pace and tone of news coverage of political matters appears to have escalated into a chaotic rush of shrill, confusing information — often supporting specific buzz words and hostile narratives, and void of decorum. This is not necessarily helpful in an age when the worried public craves clarity and candor from press and politicians alike. Yeah, well. That’s the marketplace at the moment. It could get better or get worse; there is a perfect storm of random factors driving this intense coverage — including political bias among journalists, worry over the 2018 midterms and panic over where the next viewer, listener or reader will come from. Meanwhile, one analysis recaps the past few days.

“Democrats seem to live outrage to outrage in the Trump era, but even they admit it hasn’t been a very effective political strategy. Only 10 percent of Democrats believe efforts by national Democrats to oppose the president have been a success so far. They aren’t overly confident that their legislators in Congress will be able to stop Trump’s agenda in the future either,” reports a weekly overview of a dozen surveys conducted by Rasmussen Reports in the last week, the analysis released Sunday.

“At the same time, voters across the political spectrum continue to believe that the Republican president has only just begun to undo the achievements of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama. Desperate for someone with firepower to challenge Trump in 2020, Democrats and their media allies have now seized on TV personality Oprah Winfrey following her impassioned speech against sexual harassment at last weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony. Oprah edges the president in a hypothetical election matchup,” the analysis continues.

“Generally speaking, however, just 12 percent of Americans think most Hollywood celebrities are good role models. Voters are closely divided, though, when asked if any of the major power players in Washington, D.C. — the president, the Republican Party or the Democratic Party — have a plan for where they want to take the country,” Rasmussen notes. “Meanwhile, with the unemployment rate falling and the economy booming, Trump ends the week with a 46 percent job approval rating, comparable to where Obama was at this stage of his presidency.”


Some analysts have pondered how many celebrities vowed to leave the U.S. following the election of President Trump, but so far remain stateside. Now RedState.com analyst Carl Arbogast is tracking the famous folks who are now blaming Mr. Trump for events that are, uh, actually very much out of his control.

He points out that actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted that the recent Hawaii missile scare was Mr. Trump’s fault, reasoning that it was connected to his “arrogance, hubris, narcissism” and other factors. Fellow performers Chelsea Handler and Jennifer Lawrence also blamed the president for California wildfires and hurricanes, respectively.

“This kind of buffoonery only emboldens Trump’s locked-in base voters, and makes other Republicans who may otherwise criticize him, express some sympathy and defend him over such allegations,” Mr. Arbogast writes. “The people who might be willing to listen to valid criticism will get driven away by the unhinged nonsense. And people in the entertainment industry are leading the way.”


President Trump recently signed into law legislation redesignating the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site to Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park — which expands and protects it as a historic area for future generations. Mr. Trump also publicly issued a proclamation for Monday — Martin Luther King Day — calling the clergyman “a great American hero” who changed the course of history.

“King decided to follow the calling of his father and grandfather to become a Christian pastor. He would later write that it was ‘quite easy for me to think of a God of love, mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central.’ That is what Reverend King preached all his life. Love — love for each other, for neighbors, and for our fellow Americans,” Mr. Trump told a group which had gathered in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for the occasion.

“Dr. King’s faith and his love for humanity led him and so many other heroes to courageously stand up for civil rights of African-Americans. Through his bravery and sacrifice, Dr. King opened the eyes and lifted the conscience of our nation. He stirred the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul,” the president told them.

“We celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God. This April, we will mark a half-century since Reverend King was so cruelly taken from us by an assassin’s bullet. But while Dr. King is no longer with us, his words and his vision only grow stronger through time. Today, we mourn his loss, we celebrate his legacy, and we pledge to fight for his dream of equality, freedom, justice, and peace.”


Each week, BillyGraham.com — the official online voice of evangelist Billy Graham and his organization — posts questions from the public about faith matters, all of them either answered by Mr. Graham in years past, or via other resources.

Now the organization has revealed the five spiritual questions which drew the most interest in 2017, each one accumulating hundreds of thousands of clicks from interested visitors.

One question had the most response. In first place was “Are we living in the last times?” followed by “What is the Rapture?” “What happens the first minute after we die?,” “Is it OK for a Christian’s body to be cremated?” and finally, “Does a Christian have to tithe? (give away 10 percent of their income).”


86 percent of Americans have confidence in the U.S. military; 89 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of independents and 86 percent of Democrats agree.

70 percent overall have confidence in the FBI; 69 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent overall have confidence in the U.S. judicial system; 70 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall have confidence in the media; 19 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

37 percent overall have confidence in U.S. political system; 50 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CBS News poll of 2,164 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 10-12

Calm asides, pertinent remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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