- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2018

The whirlwind of media and politics continues to spin toward uncertain destinations. But one thing appears to remain steady. There are many who continue to pray for President Trump, and the practice goes back a-ways. On the night before Americans went to the polls in the 2016 presidential election, the Rev. Franklin Graham called for the faithful to pray for America, and then go vote. He had a clear comment following Mr. Trump’s victory.

“Did God show up? In watching the news after the election, the secular media keep asking ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What went wrong?’ ‘How did we miss this?’ Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor,” said the Rev. Graham in the immediate aftermath.

He’s publicly called on the nation to pray for the president on several occasions since that night, and continues to do so, including recent prayers for Mr. Trump’s pick for a Supreme Court justice. The Rev. Graham still has the president in his thoughts, and now offers pushback in the cultural arena. Consider that Walmart recently sold T-shirts bearing the phrase “Impeach 45,” much to the delight of Democrats. The evangelist had a reply.

The Rev. Graham is now offering T-shirts bearing the motto “Pray for 45,” emblazoned in red and blue on plain white cotton.

“The Bible says to pray for ‘all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence’ (1 Timothy 2:2). Wear this t-shirt as a reminder to lift up our president in prayer,” the Rev. Graham advises in his outreach for the $16 T-shirt through Billygrahambookstore.org — where all sale proceeds go to evangelical causes.

Needless to say, the shirts sold out within hours and have since inspired a spate of imitators sold on Amazon and eBay, among other outlets.

FOX NEWS, KING OF FACEBOOK

In the ratings wars, Fox News has trounced its cable news rivals for the last 16 years. Now the network claims another significant title. FoxNews.com is the most visited of all news sites on Facebook, besting CNN, NBC, The New York Times and other news organizations, according to a new industry analysis.

Fox News remains on top of the ‘most engaged’ publisher list on Facebook, with over 35 million engagements on the content of its network of sites,” noted NewsWhip, which tracks social media traffic.

In June, 36 million people visited Fox News on Facebook; CNN was close behind with 34 million, their numbers boosted, the analysis said, by the untimely passing of CNN host Anthony Bourdain. In comparison, NBC drew 27 million visitors, BBC 17 million and CBS 14 million. Among print products, The New York Times has 22 million visitors and The Washington Post 16 million.

Keep in mind that these numbers are for Facebook traffic only. FoxNews.com typically draws 1.4 billion page views on its website every month according a comScore, an industry source.

‘PERPETUALLY SKEWED’

Any time there’s significant coverage of the Supreme Court, the news media clings to the conservative tag, and for very strategic reasons.

According to the Media Research Center, ABC, CBS, and NBC used “conservative labels” 5 times more often than “liberal labels” when discussing the past six Supreme Court nominees. Creative variations ranged from “predictably conservative” to “staunch conservative,” the press watchdog found.

This practice yields some very handy spin for journalists seeking to downplay or muddle the appeal of any nominees favored by Republicans. President Trump’s pick for the next justice is a textbook case.

“As with all recent Republican nominees, reporters repeatedly use the label ‘conservative,’ which will nicely reinforce the Democrats’ strategy to paint them as outside the mainstream,” writes senior editor Rich Noyes, who traced the practice back over a decade.

“There’s nothing wrong with calling conservative nominees ‘conservative,’ but when Democratic Presidents announce their Supreme Court nominees, those same reporters can’t find the words to call those choices liberal,” he notes, citing, for example, Justice Elena Kagan, who was only called “liberal” once during network coverage of her nomination eight years ago.

After he was nominated last year, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch was called a conservative 15 times. Expect more of same now and in the future, Mr. Noyes warns.

The liberal media’s coverage of the Supreme Court is “perpetually skewed,” he observes.

MEDIA BIAS, LATIN EDITION

Let’s have one more foray into media high-jinks. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that Hispanic unemployment in the U.S. had reached 4.6 percent, its lowest level in 45 years.

“One would think such a historic achievement would be news that night on the nation’s leading Spanish-language television news programs, but that was not the case. The principal national evening newscasts of Univision and Telemundo (sister network of NBC), along with their lesser-known rivals Azteca America and Estrella TV, all kept silent about the record low, and its significance for the country’s Latino population,” writes Ken Oliver, director of MRC Latino, a branch of the Media Research Center which monitors liberal bias among Spanish-language news organizations.

Mr. Oliver recalled that President Trump pledged to boost job creation on the 2016 campaign trail.

“The networks’ stone-cold silence, in the face of the evidence of the Trump administration’s fulfillment of that pledge for Hispanics, African-Americans and the country as a whole, is as clear an indication as any of the depth of the bias that clouds and sullies the news judgment of these media outlets,” the analyst says, noting that all of them preferred covering the World Cup and International Kissing Day over employment gains.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of Americans say Democrats “need to be more civil” when opposing President Trump’s policies; 88 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent of overall say Democrats “need to be more confrontational” in expressing opposition; 5 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent of Americans overall say Democrats “are going too far” opposing the policies; 87 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.

37 percent of overall say Democrats “are not doing enough” to oppose the president; 7 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent overall are unsure about the situation; 6 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 1-3.

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