- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2021

Republicans have been wary of the media for decades, most put off by such irritants as a pronounced liberal bias in much news coverage plus a tendency among journalists to mix news with opinion and political slant. The trend, however, has gotten worse.

“In just five years, the percentage of Republicans with at least some trust in national news organizations has been cut in half – dropping from 70% in 2016 to 35% this year. This decline is fueling the continued widening of the partisan gap in trust of the media,” says a new Pew Research Center analysis based on a jumbo survey of over 10,000 people.

“Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) say they have ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ trust in the information that comes from national news organizations – 43 percentage points higher than Republicans and Republican leaners (35%),” wrote analysts Jeffrey Gottfried and Jacob Liedke.

“This partisan gap is the largest of any time that this question has been asked since 2016. And it grows even wider — to 53 points — between liberal Democrats (83%) and conservative Republicans (30%)” the authors said.

“The 35% of Republicans who have at least some trust in national news organizations in 2021 is half that of in 2016 (70%) — and has dropped 14 points since late 2019 (49%). By comparison, Democrats have remained far more consistent in the past five years, ranging somewhere between 78% and 86%.”

Local news is not immune from this trend.

“Democrats are 18 percentage points more likely than Republicans to have at least some trust in the information that comes from local news organizations (84% vs. 66%, respectively) – a gap that is again larger than at any time in recent years. Five years ago, 85% of Democrats had at least some trust in local news organizations, while 79% of Republicans did,” the analysts noted.

The study was based on a survey of 10,606 U.S. adults that was conducted June 14-27 and released Monday.


Let’s consider the Texas State Fair, now assembling its famous lineup of bodacious fair food for the big event, which opens Sept. 24. Here are just a few of the culinary delights which will be on the menu among 70 concession stands when the time comes:

Deep fried country shrimp grits, deep fried seafood gumbo balls, lobster corn dog, deep fried Ritz crackers, deep fried toffee, duck bacon dumplings, brisket brittle, crawfish etouffee-stuffed turkey legs, bacon jam corn bombs, southern-fried lemon icebox pie balls, Texas pumpkin poke cake, and frozen Ranch Water — a tequila-based cocktail.

The Texas State Fair also stages a competition among the food concessionaires — and three local chefs have determined the top offerings. The aforementioned deep-fried seafood gumbo balls won the “best taste” award in both the savory and creative categories.

“Using a family recipe that has been handed down four generations, the base is a dark, rich, and savory roux that represents the true essence of New Orleans. The balls are then loaded with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage. The balls are then rolled in our saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter, then fried, creating an explosion of flavor. The balls are served with a side of dark gumbo roux sauce for your dipping pleasure and topped with chicken fried okra spears. The dish will be served with a small bottle of hot sauce and a package of saltine crackers,” the judges said a statement released Sunday.

They also determined the best tasting sweet item.

“The Armadillo Cookie Butter Ice Cream Sandwich: It is a made-from-scratch cookie butter semifreddo — an Italian take on ice cream that means semi-frozen. The treat is drizzled with cookie butter and sandwiched between two deep-fried Armadillo-shaped cookies that are made with a branding iron. Finally, it is dusted with buttery sugar. Absolutely a velvety cream delight,” the judges advised.


Things are getting chilly out there for the 46th president.

“In the past few weeks, President Biden’s job approval rating has dropped precipitously while his disapproval rating has risen sharply amid concerns surrounding the delta variant of the coronavirus, the associated economic fallout from the pandemic and the ongoing withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan,” wrote Geoffrey Skelley, an elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.

“Just how much have things changed for Biden? A month ago, his approval rating stood at 52.7 percent and his disapproval rating sat at 42.7 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, for a net approval rating of +10.0 percentage points. But as of Thursday,1 his approval rating stood at 47.1 percent and his disapproval rating at 47.0 percent, for a net approval rating of +0.1 points,” Mr. Skelley said.

“In an era of deep political polarization where we rarely see big shifts in public opinion of presidents, this counts as a pretty big swing,” he concluded.


Of note: A Vanity Fair special report titled “How Turf Wars Mucked Up America’s Exit From Afghanistan” was published Monday and written by Adam Ciralsky, a contributing editor who cited the U.S. State Department in particular.

“Bureaucratic decisions affecting the Afghan withdrawal, one insider said, were ‘slightly more organized than a Choose Your Own Adventure novel,’” Mr. Ciralsky wrote.

“America’s chaotic departure from Afghanistan was not unforeseeable. Nor was it an intelligence failure — that old chestnut often used to absolve leaders of culpability. Instead, the Biden administration’s tumultuous exit from the war-torn country seems to have been the result of incremental and baffling bureaucratic decisions,” he added.


• 40% of registered U.S. voters say President Biden deserves “a great deal of blame” for the recent attack on the Kabul airport; 82% of Republicans, 38% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.

• 16% overall say Mr. Biden deserves a “fair amount” of blame for the attack; 7% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 22% of Democrats agree.

• 16% overall say he deserves “not much” blame; 5% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

• 20% overall say he should not be blamed; 3% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 35% of Democrats agree.

• 8% overall don’t know; 4% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: A YouGov poll of 1,200 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 26.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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