NEWS AND OPINION:
The news media has an appetite for the impeachment hearings against President Trump — and it appears that many journalists are not attempting to quell that craving. This trend is not lost on voters, who must bear witness to relentless coverage that is often repetitive and loaded with the anti-Trump narrative of the day or strategic buzzwords like “collusion” and “bribery.”
It is most interesting to note that 6-out-of-10 voters now agree that the impeachment hearings are “more important to the media” than to voters. Even 44% of Democrats agree with that. So says a new Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted after the first week of hearings ended.
Yes, well. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end. Meanwhile, the pollster also finds that public interest in the impeachment proceedings is on the wane.
“As investigators look to continue making their case for impeachment to the public, support for the inquiry has ticked down over the past week,” notes the poll analysis. It’s all a matter of inching down and ticking up — or words to that effect.
“The survey, which has tracked support and opposition for the inquiry each week, found that support for the investigation inched down 2 percentage points — to 48% from 50% — while opposition to the inquiry ticked up 3 percentage points — to 45% from 42%,” the analysis said.
“Voter opposition to the impeachment inquiry is at its highest point since Morning Consult and Politico began tracking the issue,” says Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “A key driver for this shift appears to be independents. Today, 47% of independents oppose the impeachment inquiry, compared to 37% who said the same one week ago.”
EXPLAINING DEMOCRATIC EXTREMES
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a tidy explanation for the endless, inventive but ineffective efforts by some Democrats to impeach President Trump and ultimately remove him from office.
“What you’re faced with here is a Democratic Party desperately committed to destroying the president. They don’t care what the arguments are. They don’t care what the facts are. They have an absolute deep, passionate need — I would argue a pathological need — to try to destroy the president, even if, in the process, they cripple themselves,” Mr. Gingrich tells Fox News.
ZOLTAN ISTVAN, TRANSHUMAN CANDIDATE
Is there room for one more in the 2020 presidential race? The Democratic Party more or less launched 24 White House hopefuls. The GOP, of course, has President Trump, plus a few hopefuls who run as Republicans on their own terms.
One of those candidates declared his intent just 24 hours ago: that would be transhumanist Zoltan Istvan — whose campaign motto is “Upgrading America.” For the uninitiated, he believes the nation will improve through radical technology and scientific ideas.
“You might know me as a Silicon Valley futurist, a transhumanist advocate, or the Science Candidate. I’ve written books on science and technology, hundreds of articles you’d find in outlets such as The New York Times, Vice, and Business Insider, and I’ve campaigned to end the idea of death,” Mr. Istvan says in his 20-point public campaign message, found at Zoltan2020.com.
He is a former writer for National Geographic and a self-described fiscal conservative who worries that China will surpass the U.S. in such areas as artificial intelligence, genetic editing and “neural prosthetic development.”
Mr. Istvan — who lives near San Francisco, is married to a medical doctor and is the father of two — ran for president in 2016 as a Transhumanist Party candidate, and for California governor as a Libertarian. This time, campaign manager Pratik Chougule says he is “running as a new type of Republican politician” who backs universal basic income, free college and believes in “licensing” parents to ensure they are ready to raise their children.
Mr. Istvan also favors “nearly open borders” and the use of drones to prevent mass shootings, among other things.
So far, he will appear on the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot, and hopes to increase his public profile. The press has begun to notice.
“Meet the cyborg who’s running against Donald Trump for president. Zoltan Istvan, a leader of the transhumanist movement to merge humans with technology, is challenging Trump with a plan for America that’s beyond radical,” notes CNET.com — zeroing in on the candidate’s ideas about abortion.
“Within 10 years, I expect artificial wombs to improve to be able to handle fetuses around 16 weeks, which would give many women a third choice. There are 50 million abortions a year. No longer will one have to be pro-choice or pro-life, but one can also say: ‘I’d like to give my child up for adoption via an artificial womb,’” Mr. Istvan told the news organization.
Fox News Channel has enjoyed its highest-rated week of the calendar year and remains No. 1 in the cable realm throughout the day, besting ESPN, Hallmark Channel and other non-news rivals. As it has done for close to 18 consecutive years, Fox News has aced its direct competition, drawing 2.8 million prime-time viewers last week, according to Nielsen Media Research — compared to 2 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN.
Sean Hannity continues to be the ratings dynamo with an average 4.4 million viewers, followed by Tucker Carlson who attracted 4 million. For those who might wonder, Mr. Hannity has trounced MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” in total viewers for 36 consecutive weeks.
And of note: ratings for “Life, Liberty and Levin” with host Mark Levin on Sunday nights have risen by 45% among the much-coveted 25-to-54-year-old demographic, and by 16% among viewers in general according to Nielsen.
POLL DU JOUR
• 60% of U.S. voters agree that the impeachment inquiry is “more important to the media” than it is to voters; 78% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 44% of Democrats agree.
• 29% overall say the impeachment is not more important to the media than it is to voters; 16% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 45% of Democrats agree.
• 11% overall are undecided about the importance of the hearings; 6% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
• 58% of voters overall are following media coverage of the impeachment inquiry; 57% of Republicans, 49% of independents and 67% of Democrats agree.
• 41% overall say they are not following the media coverage of the hearings; 42% of Republicans, 51% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.
Source: A POLITICO / MORNING CONSULT poll of 1,994 REGISTERED U.S. VOTERS conducted NOV. 15-17.
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