NEWS AND OPINION:
This is a reminder about just how long President Biden has been in politics. Over three decades ago, the nation’s leading late-night host included Mr. Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware who was in the process of running for president. NBC’s Johnny Carson had a say back in the day.
“It was 34 years ago this September that Joe Biden’s first of three presidential campaigns was embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, one that would torpedo the bid in controversy. While journalists and late night hosts in 2021 don’t seem interested in mocking Biden, it’s worth remembering that Johnny Carson had no problem joking about the Democrat in 1987,” reports Scott Whitlock, associate editor of NewsBusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
The historically minded analyst reviewed the old video of Carson — dressed to the nines as he was every weeknight — having a say about the turmoil Mr. Biden faced over a single speech.
“Now on the political scene, one of the Democratic candidates is Sen. Joseph Biden. Have you seen the problem he’s been having? He went around and made a speech, and apparently he quoted a British politician, took his speech and paraphrased it as his own. And the press got on him — and he was also charged with taking part of Bobby Kennedy’s speeches. And Biden says, ‘Not to worry.’ He reassured his staff — he said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself,’” Carson told his audience at the time.
Mr. Whitlock reminds us what happened next.
“The Biden for President in ‘88 campaign imploded and didn’t even make it into calendar year 1988. This all happened after it was revealed that the Democrat stole portions of the life story of then-British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without attribution and appropriated them as his own,” he writes.
THE BIG PLUNGE
The 46th president is facing the inevitable public approval challenge — and failing.
“With his administration facing multiple challenges at home and abroad, President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has fallen sharply in the past two months. Fewer than half of U.S. adults (44%) now approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 53% disapprove. This marks a reversal in Biden’s job ratings since July, when a 55% majority approved of his job performance and 43% disapproved,” reported the Pew Research Center.
The pollster had some pronounced negative news for the White House in a wide-ranging poll of 10,371 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 13-19 and released last week.
“Positive evaluations of several of Biden’s personal traits and characteristics have shown similar decreases. Compared with March, fewer adults say Biden cares about people like them, and fewer describe him as standing up for his beliefs, honest, a good role model and mentally sharp,” the pollster said.
THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS A RECKONING
The Gray Lady is seeking a redo.
“We are excited to introduce a team that will take on the challenge of developing innovative ways of deepening our audience’s trust in our mission and in the credibility of our journalism, no matter where it is encountered,” The New York Times announced in a recent press release, noting that the new “cross-functional” team will “establish a vision” going forward.
The operative term here is “where.” The Times appear to be seeking a broader audience, maybe even among those who are Republican or don’t live in Manhattan.
“It’s about ensuring that people understand how and why we do what we do,” an informed source told Vanity Fair.
“This work, more broadly,” the source said, “will hopefully resonate with right of center people, centrists, left of center people — a lot of the work is just to ensure people understand what the Times does.”
Another person with knowledge of the plans also had a say.
Part of the idea is “to broaden the Times’ readership and make sure that the Times is innovating. Broader means all kinds of readers, including politically,” the source said, noting that young readers, people of color, plus middle- and lower-class readers are also among the desired future audience.
THE BIG INCREASE
In case you are wondering, the current “Debt to the Penny” in the U.S. at the moment is $28,427,175,063,939.33.
This is according to the U.S. Treasury, which will update that number by a couple of million on Monday. “Debt to the penny” is the federal agency’s term, by the way. Check the latest increase for yourself at Fiscaldata.treasury.gov.
The Treasury Department also reported in August that Congress has raised the debt limit 87 times since 1959.
IVY COVERED HALLS
Civility and tolerance does not appear to be part of the curriculum these days.
A new survey finds that 65% of college students think shouting down a speaker to shut down a talk with which they disagree is acceptable, and another 23% believe violence can be used to cancel a speech, this according to the 2021 College Free Speech Rankings, which queried some 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities to share their views about free speech on campus.
“Published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, RealClearEducation and College Pulse, the results show freedom of expression on campus remains a pressing concern,” notes the College Fix, a student-written news organization.
“Whether online or in person, many students say they are afraid to speak their minds or to voice an unpopular view,” RealClearEducation editor Nathan Harden told The College Fix.
POLL DU JOUR
• 37% of U.S. adults “strongly disagree” with people who decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and “cannot understand their decision” to make that choice; 15% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 64% of Democrats agree.
• 11% of those who voted for former President Donald Trump and 68% of those who voted for President Biden also agree.
• 32% overall agree with their decision to not get vaccinated; 52% of Republicans, 37% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
• 56% of Trump voters and 9% of Biden voters also agree.
• 30% overall disagree with their choice, “but understand their decision to not get vaccinated”; 33% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.
• 33% of Trump voters and 23% of Biden voters also agree.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 18-21.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.