NEWS AND OPINION:
So is July Fourth a happy red, white and blue this year? No, it’s more “red, white and broke,” according to the Republican National Committee, which continues to research the burden of inflation and a weakened economy under President Biden.
The burden comes at an inopportune time. See the Poll du Jour at column’s end for more insight. Hint: Two-thirds of Americans now worry that they can’t afford to take a vacation or even travel.
Meanwhile, the economic situation is taking its toll on the glory days of summer.
“On top of rising food prices, experts such as GasBuddy.com warn that drivers will be facing the most expensive July 4th at the pump ever this year. Average U.S. gas prices recently reached over $5.00 a gallon, more than doubling since Biden took office,” the RNC notes in a new analysis released Wednesday.
“In just one year, gas prices under President Biden have increased by nearly $2.00 per gallon while diesel has gone up by over $2.50 per gallon. Americans looking to get away this summer face rising prices across the board, with airfare costs increasing by more than $130 and rental car prices nearly $150 more than when the president took office,” the analysis continued, citing figures from the Consumer Price Index.
“Americans will also be facing rising hotel costs, with resort prices up 33% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Biden’s price hike has led to the lowest share of people traveling by air in more than a decade,” the research said, this time citing information from the American Automobile Association.
WORD OF THE DAY: ‘DEBUNKED’
The word “debunked” took over Twitter following the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson — an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — before the Jan. 6 committee hearings on Capitol Hill. Among other things, she shared several negative descriptions of former President Donald Trump during her appearance Tuesday.
The Twitterverse resounded. By noon Wednesday, the word “debunked” was referenced in over 34,000 tweets — leading the trends in the U.S. for a time according to the daily Twitter gauge of popular subjects.
“Has Congressional testimony ever been debunked this fast?” tweeted Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
“It just doesn’t get any more fake news than this. Exaggerated falsehood based on non-witness hearsay that was debunked nearly immediately,” said Steve Milloy, founder of the watchdog site JunkScience.com in a tweet which highlighted a Washington Post story on the testimony.
The “debunk” discussion itself was sparked by NBC News Chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander’s report that an unnamed “source close to the Secret Service” had informed him that claims against Mr. Trump were untrue.
The anti-debunkers were ready, though. Those claiming that Ms. Cassidy’s testimony had yet to be “debunked” also joined in the Twitter fray — and so goes yet another noisy day in medialand.
CENSORING THE PRO-LIFERS
When the Supreme Court recently reversed Roe v. Wade, plenty of protests and demonstrations followed, as did much news coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC. That coverage, however, appears to have eliminated both meaningful mention of pro-life causes and the violent attacks on those who support the pro-life cause.
So says a detailed study by Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog which cited specific destructive demonstrations in Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee and Vermont as examples. Was the news media on the story?
The analysts looked at every morning and evening newscast on ABC, CBS and NBC, from Friday night (the day of the Supreme Court ruling) through Wednesday morning.
“So how did the networks respond? On ‘CBS Mornings’ and the ‘CBS Evening News,’ journalists mentioned attacks against pro-lifers for 26 seconds. On the ‘Today’ show and ‘NBC Nightly News,’ the coverage amounted to an additional 26 seconds. ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘World News Tonight’ allowed 68 seconds. In total, this was a scant 120 seconds devoted to the violence and intimidation across the country,” wrote Scott Whitlock, research director for the organization.
He also faulted the networks for shielding aggressive groups by deeming their demonstrations “mostly peaceful” in the coverage.
“Pro-life Americans and organizations are under assault by a radical mob. Journalists have a responsibility to cover these acts of violence,” Mr. Whitlock wrote.
MEGHAN MARKLE 2024
Vogue has revealed that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, had a wide-ranging discussion about politics, culture, women’s rights and assorted other topics with feminist leader Gloria Steinem.
The conversation was published by the magazine on Tuesday, revealing that the American-born royal is particularly interested in the Equal Rights Amendment.
“We should put the pressure on the White House and Congress to enact it,” Ms. Steinem told the duchess.
“Well, Gloria, maybe it seems as though you and I will be taking a trip to Washington, D.C. together soon,” she replied.
That aspect of the discussion piqued the interest of The Daily Mail.
“Meghan’s political ambitions have long been talked about since she and husband [Prince] Harry emigrated from Britain including claims that she would ‘seriously consider’ running for president if her husband dropped his royal title,” the newspaper said Wednesday.
“Two years ago a friend of the Duchess told Vanity Fair magazine that one of the reasons she did not give up her American citizenship when she married into the Royal Family was to allow her to keep open the option of entering politics. The rumors have clearly resonated in Washington D.C., with President Biden’s sister, Valerie, 76, recently inviting the duchess to join the Democratic Party and saying that she would ‘of course’ make a good presidential candidate,” the Daily Mail noted.
POLL DU JOUR
• 66% of U.S. adults are “concerned” about their ability to pay for a vacation or travel.
• 65% will go out to restaurants and bars this summer.
• 46% will take a car trip.
• 44% will go to the movies, theater or sports event.
• 37% will take a formal vacation.
• 22% will go to an amusement park; 21% will take an airplane trip.
SOURCE: A CBS News poll of 2,265 U.S. adults conducted June 22-24.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.