- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2019

Presidents have long been uneasy with the press. Consider that Thomas Jefferson revealed he rarely thought newspapers were worth reading, and was weary of their “wretched guesswork”; the year was 1816. Abraham Lincoln called reporters “villainous” in 1858; Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed America had a “free and sensational press” in 1935; and George H.W. Bush complained in 1984 that reporters covering his vice-presidential campaign existed in a “bullpen seething with mischief.”

Yes, well. The comments are many, and certainly have reached a kind of zenith whenever President Trump takes on “fake news” — produced by agenda-driven news organizations that are skilled at speculation, selective facts and clever packaging. It has become quite a journalistic art — or better yet, sleight of hand.

Now comes the newly realized companion of fake news, which is “false narratives,” the term hammered home by a certain talk-radio kingpin who has a daily audience of 14 million.

“People are reading excerpts from the Mueller report at CNN and MSNBC, New York Times, and they’re rewriting it in the form of transcribing it or simplifying it, taking some of the legalese out of it so that their audiences can understand it. And in the process of doing this they are literally manufacturing things,” Rush Limbaugh told his listeners after the report’s release.

He also suggested that some news organizations were seizing upon strategic “made-to-order-morsels” they found in the report itself — “to pick up and run off with,” and thus produce a version of the truth that would resonate with their readers, listeners and viewers.



“There are so many false narratives that have been constructed to make people believe that everything that happened here is legitimate — when none of it is,” Mr. Limbaugh noted.

MUELLER REPORT, THE BOOK EDITION

Things move very fast in the marketplace. Nimble publishers are rushing to repackage Robert Mueller’s 400-page investigation report into book form — print, audio and Kindle editions included. Some versions may be ready as soon as Friday, and one is already cracking the bestseller list.

Skyhorse — an independent publisher — expects its 640-page print book to be ready April 30. It currently ranks No. 9 among the top 100 books at Amazon.

“The Mueller Report is required reading for everyone with interest in American politics, for every 2016 and 2020 voter, and every American. It’s now available here as an affordable paperback, featuring an introduction from eminent civil libertarian and New York Times bestselling author Alan Dershowitz, who provides a constitutional, civil law-based commentary sorely needed in today’s media landscape,” the publisher wrote in advance notes.

Skyhorse has also included relevant portions of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the 1999 provisions written by former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, which establish and regulate the powers of the special counsel, the original order appointing Mr. Mueller as special counsel, along with Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the report, as sent to Congress.

The Washington Post expects to have its book version published by Scribner, released on April 30, and weighing in at a whopping 736 pages. The Post’s e-book version is expected to be ready Friday. Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, could have its print version ready as early as Tuesday.

THE GRASS GROWS GREENER

The second annual National Cannabis Policy Summit takes place Friday in the nation’s capital, featuring the field’s business leaders and activists, a keynote address by Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat, and “video support” messages from fellow Dems.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Jacky Rosen; Reps. Charlie Crist, Barbara Lee and Lou Correa; Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist; pollster Celinda Lake; and multiple journalists will also appear. C-SPAN will cover the event at 9:45 a.m. EDT.

A daylong National Cannabis Festival in the eastern part of the city follows Saturday.

STILL LOVING EASTER

Easter spending is expected to top $18.2 billion this year, the second-highest level on record, according to the National Retail Federation. A total of 81% of Americans will celebrate the holiday.

“Consumer spending remains healthy both for this holiday and this spring, and that paints an optimistic picture for the U.S. economy in the year ahead,” advises Matthew Shay, president of the industry group.

Americans will spend close to $6 million on food, $3 billion on Easter-time clothes, $2.6 billion on candy and $2.4 billion on flowers and decorations. Six-out-of-10 Americans will spend time with family and friends and cook a holiday meal, 50% will attend church, while 35% plan an Easter egg hunt.

Just Born, the maker of the iconic Peeps marshmallow chickies and other fare, also offers the recipe for an official Peeps Cocktail, for those so inclined. And here it is:

Edge a martini glass rim with a lemon wedge, then dip in colored sugar. Set aside. In a shaker filled with ice, mix 1 1/2 ounces of cherry vodka, 1/2 ounce of triple sec, 3 ounces of half and half, plus a dash of grenadine. Shake until chilled. Strain into prepared glass, garnish with the marshmallow Peeps of your choice, and serve immediately.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: The T.B. Oliver Mansion, a Colonial revival estate built in 1910 on one acre in Crewe, Virginia. Five bedrooms, five baths, grand foyer, winding staircase, 11-foot ceiling, six rustic fireplaces, original floors and woodwork; 4,900 square feet. Formal dining and gathering rooms, gourmet kitchen, game room. Exterior columns, portico, balcony, three-car garage, elegant and sweeping landscape. Priced at $399,950 through ColdwellBanker.com; find this regal country home here.

POLL DU JOUR

• 65% of U.S. voters say the Mueller investigation “did not change their feelings” about President Trump; 72% of Republicans, 59% of independents and 61% of Democrats agree.

• 17% overall say the investigation made them feel “worse” about Mr. Trump; 3% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 29% of Democrats agree.

• 10% overall say the investigation made them feel “better” about the president; 20% of Republicans, 5% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.

• 7% overall don’t know how they feel; 5% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.

• 45% overall approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing; 88% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,005 registered U.S. voters conducted April 15-16.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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