- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2018

President Trump frequently takes on both the hostile news media and persistent negative coverage. That we know. What’s new is this: there could be emerging public sympathy for Mr. Trump’s side. Half of all Americans — 49 percent — say they do not approve of “the job the media has done handling Donald Trump”; that includes 77 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and even 28 percent of Democrats.

So says a new Economist/YouGov poll, which also found that 41 percent of Americans overall say the media treats Mr. Trump unfairly; 83 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree with this. A third overall approve of the way the news media treats the president, and about a third say the press has treated him fairly. Three-out-of-10 respondents say journalists have been both fair and unfair to Mr. Trump. And interesting: 70 percent said they could spot “fake news.”

The results suggest that the American public has mixed feelings about the war between the White House and the media; they are not overlooking the way the press “handles” the president. More Americans now say he has been treated unfairly than fairly, while positive reviews of the press coverage are, well, so-so. The take away message: The public is watching. They may be weary of Trump-bashing, and ready for some credible news about the upcoming midterms, the economy and the role of the U.S. on a global stage.

The president, meanwhile, is also watching, firing off a series of tweets about the news media to his 54 million followers Sunday afternoon — advising that “the failing New York Times and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements — and they will never change!”

Mr. Trump’s inner mettle has been building for a while. Here’s what he said on June 16, 2015, — upon announcing his intention to run for the White House:

“So a reporter said to me the other day, but, Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person. How can you get people to vote for you? I said, I don’t know. I said, I think that No. 1, I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things. I think I’m actually a very nice person. But, I said, this is going to be an election that’s based on competence, because people are tired of these nice people. And they’re tired of being ripped off by everybody in the world.”

GAUGING THAT VOTER ENTHUSIASM

Incredibly enough, the midterm elections are now less than 100 days off. How are the voters? A CBS New poll finds that 50 percent of Americans say they “definitely will vote” in the 2018 midterm elections; that number includes 63 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats. The findings have nuance, though. For those who like to read the proverbial tea leaves, see more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

LINDA TRIPP HAS A SAY

Monday is officially National Whistleblower Day — a date formally adopted by the Senate in late June by unanimous resolution — which recognizes the very first whistle-blowers law enacted by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778. The day will be marked on Capitol Hill by the National Whistleblower Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization founded in 1998 which works on behalf of those willing to reveal what they know.

Linda Tripp, a former U.S. civil servant who blew the whistle on a sitting president, will speak this year at the National Whistleblower Day celebration. This is the first public address Tripp will be making since 2000,” the organizers noted in a statement, adding a reminder of past events.

“Linda Tripp made disclosures to the Office of the Independent Counsel that President Bill Clinton had lied under oath in a sexual harassment lawsuit. Her testimony contributed to the House of Representatives voting to impeach the president, and resulted in a sitting president being found in contempt of court and losing his law license. Tripp was also a victim of retaliation. After blowing the whistle, the Department of Defense retaliated by illegally leaking defamatory information from Ms. Tripp’s highly confidential security clearance file,” the statement continued.

“Linda Tripp was before her time when she blew the whistle on sexual harassment in the workplace. Tripp was an early pioneer of the #MeToo movement, and we are looking forward to what she has to say on Monday,” says Michael Kohn, a partner with Kohn Kohn & Colapinto — which represented Ms. Tripp.

Also among the 15 speakers on hand for the event: Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and founder and chairman of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Caucus and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice; Dan Meyer, former Director for Whistleblowing and Transparency in the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General; Daniel Ashe, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Aaron Westrick — “whose allegations of unsafe body armor saved hundreds of lives and recalled thousands of vests off the market,” the organizers said.

Curious? C-SPAN will cover the gathering beginning at 11 a.m. EDT; it also will be live-streamed through the National Whistleblower Center’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

‘HOUSE OF CARDS’ FADES TO GRAY

Netflix has addressed the impending end of “House of Cards,” a popular and meticulously produced political drama that debuted in 2013. After five seasons, production ceased after principal star Kevin Spacey — who played fictional President Frank Underwood — was let go following allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017. Cindy Holland, who oversees development of original series for Netflix, told the Television Critics Association on Sunday that the finale looms.

“We always planned for Season 6 to be the final season, and we are proud of the work the cast and crew have done,” she told the critics.

Meanwhile, Netflix still has an impending supply of politically themed content. In May, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama signed a multiyear “storytelling” contract to produce original programming for the online video giant, which now has over 125 million subscribers in 190 countries.

POLL DU JOUR

• 50 percent of Americans say they “definitely will vote” in the 2018 midterm elections; 63 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

• 16 percent overall say they “definitely will not vote” in the elections; 5 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

• 15 percent overall say they “maybe will vote” in the elections; 13 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

• 11 percent overall say they “probably will vote” in the elections; 12 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent overall say they “probably will not vote” in the elections; 7 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CBS News poll of 2,420 U.S. adults conducted July 26-28.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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