- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

At one point last week, a headline at RushLimbaugh.com quipped that the news media was turning into the Weather Channel — with “Stormy news, 24/7.”

There is some truth to that. Broadcast, print and online news organizations appear to provide nonstop coverage about adult film actress Stormy Daniels, much of it hostile toward President Trump. But some observers are warning that unexpected fallout from those countless news stories could challenge the House and Senate minority leaders.

“Stormy Daniels is crowding out Democrats’ 2018 message. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are trying to run on issues, but nobody can hear them,” summarizes Vox senior correspondent Matthew Yglesias in his analysis.

He points out that Ms. Daniels has “dominated the domestic political news environment,” her story amplified by the popular press as well as key talk shows. The combination is particularly appealing to “dedicated Trump haters,” Mr. Yglesias writes.

But as dedicated Trump lovers know, Mr. Trump’s favorability ratings appear to be on the rise.



Trump’s job approval rating ticks up,” CBS News reported Tuesday, while CNN noted that “Trump approval steady amid rising outlook for the country.” Perhaps the cascade of relentless coverage is not so damaging to Mr. Trump. Voters already know about most of the past controversy associated with the president.

“It’s hard for the circus to hurt him more at the margin given everything that’s already happened. Democratic Party leaders, for exactly this reason, aren’t talking about Daniels; they’re talking about issues they think can cut into Trump’s base and/or improve their own image among voters. But they’re having a hard time breaking through,” writes Mr. Yglesias.

It’s complicated, and the campaign issues and culture wars are many.

“To maximize their potential this fall, Democrats need to find a way to cut through the scandal noise and make themselves heard on the issues they want to talk about,” advises Mr. Yglesias.

TRUMP COVERAGE STILL 90 PERCENT HOSTILE

There are numbers about the ever-negative Trump coverage, meanwhile.

A wide-ranging study of broadcast news coverage of President Trump in the first four months of the year reveals that it was 90 percent negative — just as it was throughout 2017. But the broadcasters may be losing their battle.

“The liberal media’s war against President Trump was as fierce as ever during the first four months of 2018, but the onslaught appears to be for naught: In the face of massive and hostile coverage from ABC, CBS and NBC, Trump’s overall job approval rating actually rose, from 37 percent in mid-December to roughly 43 percent at the end of April,” writes Rich Noyes, a senior analyst for the Media Research Center.

The conservative press watchdog studied 1,065 broadcast evening news coverage of the president from Jan. 1 through April 30, and found 90 percent of the evaluative comments about Mr. Trump were negative — which is just what the organization documented during the entire 12 months of 2017.

“The coverage totaled a whopping 1,774 minutes, or roughly one-third of all evening news airtime,” Mr. Noyes said.

“There’s no precedent for a president receiving such a sustained level of negative press over such a long period of time. The fact that the public has become more favorable towards the president in this environment is the latest sign that the media watchdog’s bite isn’t as menacing as their bark suggests,” said Mr. Noyes.

FOXIFIED

Fox News Channel is marking its 17th week in a row as the most popular network in the cable realm, besting such non-news rivals as ESPN, HGTV and TNT in total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. As it has for more than 16 years, Fox News continues to dominate the cable news world, garnering 2.4 million viewers in prime time, compared to 1.8 million for MSNBC and 859,000 for CNN. “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Special Report with Bret Baier” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” account for four of the top 20 telecasts in all of cable.

Fox Business Network, meanwhile, stays well ahead of CNBC in “business day” and “market hours” viewers with a 23 percent ratings advantage over its rival, according to Nielsen. “Varney & Co.” remains the most-watched market analysis program for the 50th week in a row, while “Lou Dobbs Tonight” was the No. 1 news program in all of business television.

JOB OF THE WEEK

The world’s largest Viking ship needs a crew. No, really. The Norwegian Draken Harald Harfagre will sail down the East Coast of America this summer, with 16 stopovers in eight states and the District of Columbia. The 80-ton, 115-foot-long Draken is a sight to see — handcrafted from oak, historically correct, with a 79-foot mast with red silk sail and a heavily ornamented traditional dragon’s head at the bow.

But someone has to help sail this vessel.

The organization is seeking professional tall ship crew members for paid positions, as well as volunteer deckhands.

“The crew on board Draken is a team of 34 people, men and women from all over the world. A mix of age, gender, nationality and background all contribute to a great atmosphere on board,” explains the organization, which was founded by Sigurd Aase — described by Popular Mechanics and other sources as a history buff and a “Norwegian oil and gas tycoon.”

Find all the details at drakenhh.com/join-the-crew.

POLL DU JOUR

• 66 percent of Americans now rate the national economy as “good”; 87 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

• 51 percent approve of how President Trump is handling the situation with North Korea; 90 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

• 47 percent approve of how Mr. Trump is handling the economy; 87 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

• 40 percent overall approve of the way Mr. Trump is handling his job as president; 85 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CBS News poll of 1,101 U.S. adults conducted May 3-6.

Murmurs and asides to [email protected]

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