NEWS AND OPINION:
It is disheartening but understandable news. Many Americans are revisiting their initial fears about COVID-19 in recent days as the infection rates in the U.S. increase.
Over two-thirds of U.S. adults — 68% — think the situation is “getting worse,” according to a new Gallup poll — up from a mere 3% in June and 45% in July, the pollster says, citing its own surveys gauging public alarm.
“Among partisans, Democrats give the most negative evaluations of the coronavirus situation, with 84% saying the situation is getting worse, compared with 62% of independents and 51% of Republicans. The three groups show increases of between 22 and 26 points since July. In June, 4% of Democrats, 4% of independents, and 2% of Republicans said the situation was getting worse,” reported Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones.
“There have been only two other times since the pandemic began that Americans were as pessimistic about the coronavirus situation as they are now: July 2020 and November 2020,” he said.
Concern and pessimism is also affecting their behaviors. A quarter of Americans now reveal they are isolating themselves from people outside their own household — the first “meaningful upward movement” of this protective behavior in nine months.
That’s not the only practice which has increased. See the Poll du Jour at column’s end for more insight in these evolving personal patterns.
SEAN HANNITY, RADIO MASTER
Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity is also a talk-radio host at the helm of a daily show boasting “passionate commentary on politics and the American agenda.” He is heard on 667 radio stations, according to Premiere Networks, which has syndicated Mr. Hannity’s three-hour program for two decades.
His audience has increased by 19% among adults ages 25-54 in the last year, the network said.
“Sean’s provocative, informed and passionate commentary on politics has amassed a dedicated following that includes millions of listeners. Hannity’s political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him one of the most popular talk radio hosts ever,” the network said in a statement to Talkers Magazine, an industry source.
ON PLAYING BILL CLINTON
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” is now airing on FX, chronicling the late-1990s political scandal which brought international attention to then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky and of course, former President Bill Clinton.
Casting for the new dramatic series was meticulous. The task was to find people who could play Ms. Lewinsky — actually a producer for the series — as well as Hillary Clinton, the late Linda Tripp and conservative commentator Ann Coulter, among the many roles.
But who was to play the 42nd president? Great care went in to casting that role.
“Landing their Clinton took longer than the producers expected, but they didn’t want a ‘Saturday Night Live’ impersonation of him,” said the Hollywood Reporter in a report Tuesday.
The creative team settled on Clive Owen, age 56, and a British actor with a cross-section of major credits.
“Owen, they collectively felt, had the chops, the physicality and charisma that they were after. Still, he’d require convincing, and only in part because he felt he didn’t look or sound like the former president,” the Reporter noted.
Mr. Owen agreed, however, to play the role.
“I asked what real archive footage they expected to be in the series and began work immediately on recreating what Bill did as closely and accurately as I could,” the actor told the news organization.
“On set, he was often working closely with an accent coach or listening to Clinton read his biography or give a speech, through his headphones. Prosthetics helped, too,” the Reporter observed.
SOME ADVICE FOR JOURNALISTS
“If there was ever a time for local journalists to pay attention to what their members of Congress are up to, it will be in the weeks ahead. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up the biggest expansion of social spending in six decades and the biggest expansion of spending on infrastructure since World War II,” advises Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based press resource and nonprofit training group.
He cautions that $4.5 trillion is at stake.
“This is one of those moments when it would be worthwhile to have regular, deep, local stories about how these big issues before Congress affect your audiences. Don’t just leave them up to wire services and cable news bloviators,” Mr. Tompkins says in his lengthy but thorough essay on the matter, which emphasizes that the legislation will indeed affect “every American.”
Food costs more. Gas costs more. Houses cost more — and so does the Super Bowl. Inflation appears to be everywhere.
Here’s some Super Bowl news of the financial variety: NBCUniversal has revealed it already has sold 85% of the advertising time for Super Bowl LVI — a full seven months before the Feb. 13 game. NBC has secured as much as $6 million per 30-second spot for the event, this according to AdWeek. That’s a 9% increase over what CBS charged advertisers for a spot during Super Bowl LV, back in February.
But wait, there’s more.
Fox Sports will begin ad sales for Super Bowl LVII next week; that game will not take place until Feb. 5, 2023.
“There are any number of perennial advertisers that we can be very assured of will return to the game. So take advantage of engaging with us now, because the price is only going to escalate significantly, as we get closer to the game,” Seth Winter — executive vice president for sports advertising sales at Fox Sports — told AdWeek.
“Super Bowl is more valuable today than it was at any time that I can remember,” he noted.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69% of U.S. adults have worn a face mask outside their home in the last month.
• 49% have avoided large crowds.
• 41% have avoided traveling by plane, bus, subway or train.
• 32% have avoided going to public places like stores or restaurants.
• 25% have avoided small gatherings with family or friends.
SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 3,553 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 16-22.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.