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Inside the Beltway: Publicly-funded network skews liberal, study reveals

Well, that old liberal bias continues to be a presence in the broadcast news media. A brand new study finds that it’s also being funded by the public.

“The taxpayer-subsidized Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, established in 1969, has an outdated reputation for delivering a polite, objective take on the news of the day, exemplified by its flagship evening news program, now called the ‘PBS NewsHour,’” writes Clay Walters, an analyst for the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog.

This study of the network’s programming “deflates” that assumption, he writes.

The review covered a four-month period — Nov. 1, 2022, to Feb. 28, 2023 — and it revealed that liberal-Democratic guests outnumbered conservative-Republican guests 126-34, or a ratio of 3.7 to one, Mr. Walters said.

His study examined every edition of the “PBS NewsHour,” Monday through Friday, for a total of approximately 86 hours of news coverage. The half-hour “PBS News Weekend” show, a separate entity with different hosts that airs on Saturday and Sunday, was not included in the study.

“When elected officials and political appointees were removed from the guest count, the disparity was even more striking, with liberal-Democratic guests outnumbering conservative-Republican guests 91-16, a ratio of 5.7-to-1. Identifiably liberal journalists (including Caitlin Dickerson of The Atlantic and Kate Sosin of The 19th News) appeared a total of ten times as guests, while no conservative journalist made the cut,” Mr. Walters wrote.

“The findings reveal the profound skew of PBS’s flagship news program toward the left side. Besides the standard academic apologists for Democrats and Democratic policy, some guests were truly radical choices, more suited to hard-left MSNBC than a taxpayer-funded, ostensibly ‘straight’ newscast,” he said.

The study was released Monday.  Find the complete analysis at

Yet another hazard

Things remain very challenging to those who live and work near the southern U.S. border. The Daily Signal — a publication of The Heritage Foundation — sent news producer Virginia Allen to Yuma, Arizona, to see things for herself. She spoke with Cory Mellon, who operates a 5,000-acre family farm that is just a mile from the U.S./Mexico border.

“When the United States Border Patrol lost operational control of the border here in Yuma, we had a lot of people that were making it into the production areas. Among these illegal immigrants, Yuma farmers saw lactating women nursing their babies and people urinating in our field — there was a lot of loss,” Mr. Mellon said.

Yuma farmers have now lost $1 million worth of crops because food safety laws require farmers to destroy crops when there is a “risk of contamination because unauthorized people have entered the fields,” Ms. Allen noted.

Yuma farmer Kyle Kuechel also shared his story, saying “floodgates opened” at the border when President Biden took office in 2021. He also said the foreman on his farm emigrated to America from Mexico legally — but it took the man 23 years to gain his American citizenship.

“He did everything the legal way and he did it the right way. And when he sees these give-ups at the border, it’s a slap in the face to everything he’s worked for,” the farmer told Ms. Allen.

Hanging on to ‘moderate’

Sometimes simple numbers are best when it comes to parsing out political beliefs. A new AP/NORC poll has those numbers, and here they are:

The poll found that 44% of U.S. adults say they are “moderate” in their political beliefs. Another 19% say they are “somewhat conservative,” while 14% report they are “very conservative.”

In the meantime, 13% say they are “somewhat liberal” and 10% say they are “very liberal.”

But how do we feel about the actual state of things in America?

Things are not so good in that department. The poll also revealed that 78% of U.S. adults now say “things in this country” are going in the wrong direction — up by 8 percentage points since an identical national poll was conducted in February.

Find the complete results and the survey particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

Trump’s latest

Former President Donald Trump continues to issue a high volume of campaign messages as he prepares for the 2024 presidential election. They are often spirited, and arrayed with red, white and blue typefaces and some dramatic phrases.

Here’s just one of those emailed messages, sent with a flourish to the Beltway on Monday:

“Nothing can stop us! How many times have the Democrats and the Fake News said, ‘the walls are closing in on Trump!’ Time and time again, our enemies have wrongly predicted the ‘end’ of our movement – only to see us surge even higher,” Mr. Trump’s outreach said.

“And now, the Fake News is forced to embarrass themselves once again by publishing this beautiful headline: ‘Trump’s not only leading, he’s leading with those most likely to vote (Washington Post),” it continued.

What the Fake News will never understand is that this movement is powered by you. I’m only your voice. The American people know that whenever I’m viciously and unfairly attacked, it’s really an attack on you. And now that the most vile and disgusting attacks have been unleashed against us, I truly believe we will surge even higher,” the outreach concluded — signing off with a big “thank you” at the end, plus a color picture of the candidate himself.

Poll du jour

78% of U.S. adults say “things in this country” are headed in the wrong direction.

75% say the state of the U.S. economy is “poor.”

68% disapprove of the way President Biden is handling the U.S. economy.

61% disapprove of the way he is handling his job as president.

60% disapprove of the way he handles foreign policy.

57% disapprove of the way he handles climate change.

55% say that things are getting “worse” in the country overall.

Source: An AP/NORC poll of 1,081 U.S. adults conducted March 16-20.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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