Our National Commonalities Are Dwindling

I have long argued that our national commonalities, which are very important, are dwindling.

Over time I have lamented over the way we receive our news.  I have long argued that this nation no longer starts at the same foundation when talking about current events.  As a teenager it was Walter Cronkite who reported the news stories that impacted our lives.  He reported the headlines of the day, and stressed that to get a deeper understanding one should turn to their morning newspapers.

As an adult it is very clear as to why ‘Uncle Walter’ mattered so much.  He allowed for a sense of commonality to guide us as to what the basic facts were to the news events that made up our world.  While today there are amazing sources for news and information it is also a fact that we are not always wise news consumers.  And many do not start our with the basic facts surrounding a story.

Today I read an article in the Washington Post which underscored another way in which we no longer have a common point of reference–television entertainment.  As a boy if you mentioned Saturday night it meant Mary Tyler Moore followed with Bob Newhart and rounding off the evening a laugh-a-thon with Carol Burnett.  Now there are no such national points of connection when it comes to television.  While watching the Golden Globes on Sunday I noted how many television shows I had never even heard of, let alone ever watched.

“Now, there’s much more television in terms of the sheer number of shows being produced and the total number of episodes of television being aired each year. The phenomenon actually has a name, Peak TV. So, we’re all still watching lot of television, we’re just not necessarily watching the same things, and we’re not watching them on the same schedules. As a result, we have fewer shared references and fewer simultaneous shared experiences. Sometimes that fragmentation happens along class lines, but even people who do have cable packages or Netflix subscriptions have so many options that we aren’t necessarily developing a shared cultural language. Like a lot of things in American life right now, our television consumption is about class, but it’s about plenty of other factors as well. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t worry about our collective spinning apart, just that we should be aware of how multi-faceted it really is.”

Civil War In GOP Ramps Up Over Romney Senate Bid

This is a continuing story in the ranks of the fractured Republican Party.

Mitt Romney’s comeback on the national stage, through the byway of his probable bid for the Senate in Utah, has prompted a sharp debate among Republicans over whether traditional political figures are still welcome as leaders of a party dominated by President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

Those arguments have intensified amid the rush of speculation in recent weeks over Romney’s next steps, with the looming presence of the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee on the ballot in this year’s midterm elections seen as a new front in the civil war that has gripped the party.

Many establishment voices, eager for a resurgence in the Trump era, have seized on the prospect of Senator Romney as a clean-cut Republican counterweight to the un­or­tho­dox and chaotic Trump presidency. Trump-aligned conservatives, meanwhile, have recoiled and said the party’s base voters have moved on and would shun the former Massachusetts governor as an elite relic of the sort of conventional politics they rejected by embracing the reality television star-turned-president.

How Many False Claims Does Donald Trump Make Per Day?—Here Is The Math

Washington Post reports on what we use to simply call telling a lie.

With just 10 days before he finishes his first year as president, Trump has made 2,001 false or misleading claims in 355 days, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That’s an average of more than 5.6 claims a day.

When we started this project, originally aimed at the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. At that pace, it appeared unlikely the president would break 2,000 in a year. But the longer the president has been in the job, the more frequently he touts an assortment of exaggerated, dubious or false claims. (Our full interactive graphic can be found here.)

As regular readers know, the president has a tendency to repeat himself — often. There are now nearly 70 claims that he has repeated three or more times. Indeed, he crossed the 2,000 threshold during his one-hour discussion on Jan. 9 with lawmakers about immigration, tossing out some of his old favorites about the subject:

  • “We can build the wall in one year and we can build it for much less money than what they’re talking about.”
  • In the diversity visa lottery, “what’s in their hand are the worst of the worst but they put people in that they don’t want into a lottery and the United States takes those people.”
  • “We have tremendous numbers of people and drugs pouring into our country. So in order to secure [the border] we need a wall.”

In fact:

  • Under no scenario can the wall on the Mexican border be built in just one year. It’s at least a four-year project that could cost $25 billion.
  • Individuals apply for the visa system, and must have at least a high school diploma or work in specific industries to be eligible for the program. As the term “lottery” implies, applicants are selected via a randomized computer drawing. The selected applicants undergo a background check before entering the country, and some applicants undergo an additional in-depth review if they are considered a security risk.
  • The wall will have virtually no effect on drugs coming into the country. According to reports by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the majority of drugs are smuggled through legal ports of entry or underground tunnels.

Trump’s claim about drug smuggling and the wall has been repeated 17 times, even though we awarded him Four Pinocchios. In just two months, he’s falsely described the diversity lottery 12 times. And of course building the wall was a signature issue from the beginning of his presidential campaign, when he consistently low balled the cost.