- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2018

President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will be covered by at least 15 cable and broadcast networks — and there could be a substantial audience. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 52 percent of Americans plan to watch the address; that includes 76 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats. The networks, meanwhile, have already pounced on the speech even before the president has delivered it. Media Research Center senior analyst Kyle Drennen tracked commentary leading up to the address and discovered that many broadcasters appeared to be reading from the same script and following the same strategic talking points.

“They tried to preempt President Trump’s State of the Union address with dour coverage of controversies looming over the speech and the president’s record-low approval rating. The broadcasts also touted how deeply divided the nation was on the eve of Trump’s remarks,” Mr. Drennan points out. “If this is the tone of the coverage before the speech has even happened, just imagine what analysis will be like after the president finishes speaking Tuesday night.”

Yes, imagine.

Those who dread such fare should consider watching C-SPAN, which provides unembellished, unvarnished coverage of the “SOTU” address without commentary and minus the whirling graphics and partisan anecdotes.

THE PRESIDENT’S INTENT ON TUESDAY

Speculation about President Trump’s address Tuesday has percolated for weeks. Rush Limbaugh advised the president to avoid trying to appear “presidential,” keep his comments short and succinct, then high-five Republican leaders on the way out. Others say the speech is a vital opportunity for Mr. Trump to appear as a reliable, traditional leader.

And Mr. Trump’s personal intentions?

“While it’s my honor to speak, please remember that I will only be echoing the people’s voice as your president. Since taking office, I’ve never stopped fighting for the incredible men and women who stood by my side when the establishment, media, and all of the ‘brilliant’ reporters laughed in our faces. But together we tuned them out to fix our economy, strengthen our borders and rebuild America. Now it’s time to discuss our progress before all of America,” Mr. Trump said in a public statement released by Trump Make America Great Again, an outgrowth of his 2016 presidential campaign.

CHARTING THE COUNTER-ADDRESSES

There will be alternative fare as well. Like the Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party will offer official rebuttals to Mr. Trump’s address. Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, will deliver her own speech on BET News following the president’s speech.

Meanwhile, there are untold numbers of “SOTU” watch parties afoot at bars, on college campuses and among the citizenry. Yes, there are special drink specials involved with names like “Covfefe Cocktail,” “Fire and Fury” and “Mueller Cooler.” There are so many alternate events scheduled that it is impossible to list them all. But we can peek at a few examples.

Almost 50 assorted interest groups are backing “The State of Our Union” at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital to highlight “Trump’s white supremacist, anti-women, anti-worker agenda,” organizers say. Outgoing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards is among the speakers. Journalist Roland Martin and NAACP President Derrick Johnson will host a “Real State of the Union” event at a church, also in Washington. Organizing for Action and its affiliate organizations will stage 24 rallies and community dinners in eight states, while 14 immigrant activist groups in Cleveland, Ohio, plan a “SOTU Rally for Dignity.”

ANOTHER BOOK BOMB ON THE WAY?

Without much fanfare, Harper Books released the cover of an upcoming book by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, the author behind “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” released in 2015.

Mr. Schweizer’s new book is titled “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends,” to be published March 20. The publisher appears confident that just a glance at the cover is enough to get some buzz percolating. Among others, the portraits of former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are crowded into the picture. There could be something to that. The book is already No. 1 on Amazon in the state political category, No. 3 in “corruption and misconduct” topics and No. 6 in national politics.

HOMEBODIES SAVE ENERGY

A new way to save energy: stay home and shop online, stream video or work. Despite increasing the amount of residential energy demand, the decrease in travel and use of non-residential spaces was responsible for “a net 1,700 trillion BTU in energy savings for the United States” in 2012 — which is a respectable 1.8 percent of the national savings total. The analysis was published Monday in Joule, an academic journal.

Based on the most recent federal time-use statistics, sustainability researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology found that Americans spent, on average, an extra eight days at home in 2012 compared to 2003, one day less traveling and one week less in non-residential buildings. The greatest lifestyle change was seen in people 18 to 24 years old, who spent 70 percent more time at home than the general population.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of U.S. voters say it is “very important” that President Trump discuss “improving the health care system” during his State of the Union address; 62 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent say it’s very important that he discuss “improving the economy and creating jobs”; 62 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent say it’s very important that he discuss “providing direction and leadership”; 61 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent say it’s very important that he discuss “fighting terrorism”; 68 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent say it’s very important that he discuss “combatting climate change”; 18 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,194 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 18-20.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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