NEWS AND OPINION:
There has been a veritable deluge of media coverage implying that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are rivals rather than allies — and that the 45th president’s political influence is waning.
Coverage of this particular narrative arrived in waves this week from news organizations based on a new University of New Hampshire survey that found Mr. DeSantis with 39% support and Mr. Trump with 37% support. Another 9% percent favored former Vice President Mike Pence.
“New Hampshire poll points to trouble for Trump; growing support for DeSantis,” declared the New York Times on Thursday.
It would be most interesting, though, if the actual GOP ticket emerged as “Desantis/Trump 2024” rather than “Trump/DeSantis” wouldn’t it? Then what would the press do? That combination is intriguing and would cause a buzz heard ’round the world, at least for a little while. But back to that press coverage.
“Why Ron DeSantis can beat Trump in 2024 — DeSantis doesn’t want Trump’s endorsement,” said New York Magazine.
“Can Ron DeSantis displace Donald Trump as the GOP’s Combatant-in-Chief? A fervent opponent of mask mandates and ‘woke’ ideology, the Florida governor channels the same rage as the former president, but with greater discipline,” noted the New Yorker.
“DeSantis closes the gap with Trump in early GOP primary polling,” said MSNBC.
It is of note that the beginnings of this narrative have been building for a while, though. “Ron DeSantis follows the Trump playbook ahead of 2024,” CNN advised — on March 19.
NETWORKS PROTECT THE PRESIDENT
The “Big Three” broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — continue to downplay White House errors, according to a detailed study by Scott Whitlock, research director for the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
Mr. Whitlock has already done recent close studies of the three networks’ evening news coverage, revealing that all of them have soft-pedaled President Biden’s meager responses to inflation and gas prices, along with the U.S. exit from Afghanistan under his watch.
“When it comes to network reporting, nothing seems to be Joe Biden’s fault. The American public clearly does not agree with this assessment, but the press is doing its best to cover for the president,” Mr. Whitlock wrote.
“The network evening newscasts are doing their best to protect the president from responsibility when it comes to the many crises threatening his presidency. The latest example is the baby formula shortage with which millions of parents across the country are facing,” Mr. Whitlock said.
Newscaster analysts looked at every baby formula shortage story on the evening newscasts from when they started covering it regularly. For ABC and NBC, that was May 9. For CBS, it was May 10.
“According to our analysis, out of the 54 evening newscast stories on the formula crisis, only 10 featured mentions of culpability or blame for the Biden administration. The other 44 did not,” Mr. Whitlock noted in the analysis.
Any stray criticism of Mr. Biden was “gentle” or “lenient,” he added.
Find the study at Newsbusters.org.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT
The Associated Press reports that the pronounced increase in the price of gas is prompting U.S. workers who depend on their cars to alter their lifestyles and even change careers.
Among others, the AP cited an Uber driver, a pet sitter, a college professor and a distribution center worker.
“Americans are struggling and Democrats’ only solution is telling families to buy $60,000 cars or shrugging it off as ‘high-class problems.’ The pain at the pump is getting worse every day for working Americans, and they have only Democrats’ anti-American energy agenda to blame. How much more expensive does life have to get before Democrats unleash American energy and provide relief for families?” Cally Perkins, Congressional Leadership Fund press secretary, asks in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
ONE FOR THE TREES
Five Republican lawmakers — four Californians and an Arkansan — are out to save a true symbol of America’s natural heritage, currently under threat from wildfires, drought and “misguided policies and management,” they said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
Behold, it’s the Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act, which is focussed on improving interagency coordination, deploying robust scientific analysis on the problem and streamline emergency procedures, among other things.
The California tree guardians are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Reps. Scott Peters, Jimmy Panetta and Tom McClintock. They are joined by Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas.
“If we do nothing, we can lose them all,” Mr. McCarthy advised.
The largest California sequoia is the General Sherman Tree — which is also the world’s largest tree, standing 275 feet tall, and measuring over 36 feet in diameter at the base, according to the National Park Service.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: Western Living, a unique “Old West” ranch house on 105 acres in Crooked River Valley, near Prineville, Oregon. Three bedrooms, two baths, custom country-style kitchen, family room, living room, tile flooring and ceilings plus natural wood throughout; 2,076 square feet. Rocking chair porches, courtyard, full shop and vehicle storage, on-property stream and trout pond, garden, hay storage and animal shelters, sweeping views. $1.5 million through FayRanches.com; enter into the search function these three words: Western, Living, Oregon (no quote marks needed).
POLL DU JOUR
• 56% of U.S. adults believe the U.S. is currently in an economic recession; 70% of Republicans, 56% of independents and 45% of Democrats agree.
• 38% of this group say the nation is experiencing a “serious” recession; 47% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.
• 43% say it is a “moderate” recession; 40% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 53% of Democrats agree,
• 19% call it a “mild” recession; 13% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 11-14.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.