NEWS AND OPINION:
For many Americans, the political world goes from complicated to incomprehensible when the news media makes negative claims against President Trump that don’t match up with reality. The public, for example, rejoices over the administration’s very real economic and diplomatic gains but then are warned by grim journalists that the administration is in “chaos.”
Yes, well. Such salvos against Mr. Trump and his staff saturate the airwaves; indeed, ongoing studies by the Media Research Center charting major broadcast coverage of the president, since even before he was even elected, reveal that 90 percent of that coverage is negative. Ghastly narratives and strategic buzzwords such as “chaos” appear like clockwork. Reporters and anchors accent their delivery with convincing emotion and persuasive melodrama, often accompanied by stark graphics and suggestive headlines. The anti-Trump press also cleverly packages speculation, rumor and anonymous sources as hard news or facts.
Is it a coordinated effort? Some think so, particularly when a tell-all book and an anonymous op-ed against the president arrive at once — bolstered by a vigorous public speech against Mr. Trump made by a powerful predecessor. Another salvo is soon to follow. Playing off an old saying, such attacks are like buses — there’s another along every three minutes. Or so it seems.
Vice President Mike Pence has a helpful summation about what’s really going on here. “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace asked him about that anonymous New York Times op-ed, and if he had been personally targeted by it.
“I wouldn’t know. I really do believe — that whether it’s the book, whether it’s the anonymous editorial, whether it’s President Obama‘s speech this week — it’s all an effort to distract attention from this booming economy and from the president’s record of success. And it’s all very predictable,” Mr. Pence said.
“We have important midterm elections coming up. I get all of that. But the American people should know President Trump and I are going to remain absolutely determined to re-elect this Republican Congress so we can continue to build on the momentum that’s putting Americans back to work,” the vice president advised.
FAKE NEWS: A GLOBAL PHENOMENON
A major new Ipsos study of over 19,000 people in 27 countries reveals that 6-out-of-10 respondents say they often encounter stories where news organizations “have deliberately lied.” Another 48 percent say they have believed a story that later found out was “fake.”
This jumbo survey was conducted in a wide range of nations — from the U.S. and its Western allies to Russia and China, to cite just a few. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
CHOOSE: LAWMAKER OR ACTIVIST?
Can politicians be effective elected officials and still be partisan activists? One news organization wonders about a particular Democratic senator from Massachusetts.
“Elizabeth Warren continues to showcase her activist skill set, but she was elected to be a senator — not a protester. Her latest ploy is to demand the ouster of President Trump in the wake of an op-ed published in The New York Times earlier this week purportedly from a high-level White House insider,” says a Boston Herald editorial published Sunday.
The newspaper cited Ms. Warren for repeatedly suggesting that interested parties “invoke the 25th Amendment and remove this president from office,” despite questions about the op-ed that came from fellow Democrats.
“Warren ignored those facts and went right into political-activist mode because she is no longer pretending to represent everyday Americans. She is trying to appeal to the unhinged fringe — the people who let out a primal scream on election night in 2016,” the editorial said, adding that Democrats “routinely use Capitol Hill for civil disobedience just as they use hearing rooms to launch presidential campaigns.”
The Herald frets about the level of Ms. Warren’s activity, and the Massachusetts citizenry itself.
“The voters of the commonwealth deserve a senator who is devoted to their collective plight rather than her own future fortunes. Outlandish protests on the taxpayers’ time are bad enough, but when her politically aimed activism involves entertaining the notion of unseating the commander in chief through a process other than an election, that is sheer recklessness,” the paper said.
MR. BOLTON HAS A SAY
White House National Security Adviser John R. Bolton will offer his first public address since taking on that task. He will be on the record, there to address the International Criminal Court and “protecting American constitutionalism and sovereignty from international threats” — this according to the Federalist Society, which is hosting the event Monday at a historic hotel not far from the White House.
Ever-faithful C-SPAN will be there to cover the event live beginning at noon EDT.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SEASONAL MESSAGE
“Melania and I wish all Jewish people Shana Tova and send our warmest greetings to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah and the start of the High Holy Days,” President Trump said in a statement released by the White House on Sunday.
“Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the New Year in the Jewish faith. Far and wide, the trumpet of the shofar signals both a time of reflection and repentance. Along with devout prayer and fellowship, Jews worldwide will practice teshuva during the Ten Days of Repentance to deepen their relationship with God.”
“Today, we reflect on the importance of religious liberty and ask that the Almighty bless Jewish families, both in the United States and around the world. The Jewish people have endured and overcome unthinkable persecution and suffering. Yet, despite the challenges they have faced, their strength and perseverance continue to inspire us all.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 63 percent of the global population say they are confident they can tells real news from “fake news.”
• 60 percent say average people in their country don’t care about politics or society any more and “just believe what they want.”
• 60 percent say they often see stories where news organization “have “deliberately lied.”
• 52 percent say politicians mislead people; 49 percent cite the news media.
• 43 percent say people can be misled by their personal bias; 41 percent say social media misleads them.
Source: An IPSOS Global Advisor survey of 19,243 adults conducted in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, RUSSIA, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. The poll was conducted June 22-July 26 and released Sept. 5.
• Chitchat, helpful facts to firstname.lastname@example.org