3.5.19 The Fox News White House

The Fox News White House

Jane Mayer, writing in The New Yorker, details the close relationship between Fox News and many of its contributors and the White House. Housing secretary Ben Carson, national-security adviser John Bolton, and deputy national-security adviser K.T. McFarland are among the many Trump White House officials who were once Fox regulars. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin tells Meyer, “Fox was begun as a good-faith effort to counter bias, but it’s morphed into something that is not even news. It’s simply a mouthpiece for the President, repeating what the President says, no matter how false or contradictory.” A 2018 PRRI/The Atlantic survey found that 85 percent of Americans think that media bias toward certain candidates is a problem, with 57 percent saying it is a major problem. 
The Atlantic Finds a Place Where Republicans and Democrats Get Along

A new series in The Atlantic looks at the “geography of partisan prejudice” and how different people in different places perceive civic and political issues. Drawing on a study conducted in partnership with PredictWise, the series seeks to identify the most partisan or bipartisan counties in the United States. In one story, reporter Amanda Ripley writes about how Watertown, New York is uniquely bipartisan in an era of deep political polarization. The study finds that people in Watertown are more likely to call political rivals “patriotic” than they are to call them “selfish.” The ability to embrace members of other parties makes Watertown stand out. Ripley uses PRRI/The Atlanticdata to illuminate why this is so unusual. She writes, “According to a 2018 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic, 45 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of Republicans say they’d be unhappy if their child married someone from the opposite party (up from about 5 percent for both groups in 1960).”
Identity Politics as King 

Identity politics and tensions between members of the two major political parties continue to be common themes in the news, this time via a recent piece by Jared Keller in Pacific Standard. According to Keller, Americans are “retreating to their own ethno-cultural silos,” two years into the Trump presidency. Keller looks at the most recent PRRI/ The Atlanticsurvey and some of the coverage the survey received. Keller writes about Americans’ perspectives on certain fundamental issues, “The basics are fairly universal: Americans of all parties purport supporting free speech (90 percent of respondents) as a key element of American-ness; 86 percent emphasized accepting people from ‘diverse racial and religious backgrounds’; and 83 percent emphasized speaking English. Finally, slim majorities emphasized believing capitalism (56 percent) and in God (52 percent).” 
Religion News Service: “Why a Southern Baptist is Watching the United Methodists”

“Though I am a lifelong Southern Baptist, I followed last weekend’s United Methodist Special General Conference very closely. Over the course of three days, church delegates from all over the world joined together to talk about a way forward for their denomination amid their divisions over sexuality and inclusion — the same debates that have rocked almost all major denominations in the last few years,” writes Alex Ward, an employee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention. At the United Methodist Church General Conference last week in St. Louis, delegates voted 438-384 to allow the church’s stance on LGBT issues and clergy – currently, they are not allowed to become ordained or perform same-sex ceremonies – to continue unchanged. Ward examines younger people and their attitudes towards same-sex marriage, writing, “A 2018 study by the Public Religion Research Institute of the next generation found that 53 percent of young white evangelicals favor same-sex marriage. Though evangelicals are still the least supportive, that support is growing. Church leaders must be thinking about how to answer the questions of their congregations.”