Inside the Beltway: Media ready to march into crisis

Inside the Beltway: Media ready to march into crisis

Send in the reporters?

News outlets and media organizations alike are now demanding that journalists be embedded with U.S. troops bound for Europe. Significantly, the National Press Club has joined the fray.

“While American journalists have requested to embed with troops deploying to Europe in response to Russian military build-up near Ukraine, the Pentagon has not yet allowed any reporter to accompany troops responding to the potential crisis. This is a threat to our country’s open press,” Jen Judson, president of the National Press Club, said in a statement.

“The Club stands with news organizations calling on the Pentagon to permit access for journalists so that they can rightfully keep the American public and families of our troops informed,” Ms. Judson said.

An original op-ed in The Military Times on Wednesday demanded that the Pentagon “immediately begin the process of allowing journalists to embed with troops headed to Europe.”

The demand was signed by, among others, reporters from Roll Call, The New York Times, Stars and Stripes, Aviation Week, Time, ABC News, Alhurra and Military Veterans in Journalism, a professional association.

On a historical note, When the U.S. invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, there were anywhere between 570 and 750 embedded journalists, according to the Pew Research Center — though some estimates place the number closer to 1,000. 

Journalists in Ukraine, meanwhile, are ready to roll.

“As world leaders scramble to stave off a Russian invasion of Ukraine, journalists in the country are training and equipping themselves for war reporting,” said an update from the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide.

NOT QUITE INCLUSIVE ENOUGH

There’s not much dancing going on in Hampton Falls, a New Hampshire town of 2,400 located in the far southeastern corner of the state.

“Luck won’t be a lady for anyone in Hampton Falls after the Lincoln Akerman School Parent Teacher Organization canceled the Guys & Dolls dance, an annual father-daughter event, due to complaints it is not gender-inclusive,” reports the New Hampshire Journal.

“Parents in this small Granite State community received a letter explaining the Guys & Dolls dance, along with the companion mother-son Ladies & Lads dance, ran afoul of the current climate of gender politics,” the publication said.

“I’m appalled,” said Hampton Falls Selectboard Chair Lou Gargiulo, who noted that the events were called off after one parent complained.

“It’s another silly thing that is going to impede kids from going to an event with their parents,” Mr. Gargiulo advised.

BIDEN’S COVID RESPONSE GETS PANNED

President Biden’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is now ranked the worst of all responses — when compared with public and elected officials, this according to a Pew Research Center poll of 10,237 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 24-30 and released Thursday.

“A majority (60%) now describes the job Joe Biden is doing responding to the coronavirus as only fair or poor. The share of Americans who say Biden is doing an excellent or good job (40%) is down 7 percentage points since August,” the pollster reported.

Meanwhile, 53% rated their state elected officials’ pandemic response as only fair or poor, 49% said the same of both local elected officials and public health officials — such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The poll also found, however, that 57% of the respondents wondered whether public health officials were “hiding important information,” the poll analysis said.

“Amid debates over how to address the surge in cases driven by the omicron variant, confusion is now the most common reaction to shifts in public health guidance: 60% of U.S. adults say they’ve felt confused as a result of changes to public health officials’ recommendations on how to slow the spread of the coronavirus, up 7 percentage points since last summer,” the analysis said.

THE GRASS GROWS GREENER

The old hippies of yore would be amazed by this new report from AdWeek, an industry source.

“Who wants candy and flowers for Valentine’s Day? Possibly a lot of people, even if those go-to gifts aren’t the most imaginative choices. Cannabis fans, on the other hand, would be happy to skip those traditional symbols of romance and affection. Their message to friends, crushes and partners: nothing says ‘I heart you’ more than weed,” the news organization said.

It cited a new study from MariMed and the Harris Poll, revealing that 63% of “cannafans” would rather receive a marijuana-based gift than traditional boxes of chocolate or floral arrangements for the upcoming holiday.

MariMed is described as a “multi-state cannabis operator focused on health and wellness.”

Another 72% said they plan to incorporate cannabis into their Valentine’s Day plans — a trend that AdWeek describes as “romancing the stoner.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

• 45% of U.S. adults think there will be a higher rate of inflation six months from now; 62% of Republicans, 53% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

• 21% overall think there will be the same rate of inflation in six months; 21% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 26% of Democrats agree.

• 21% are not sure about the issue; 9% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.

• 13% think there will be a lower rate of inflation; 7% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 5-8.

Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.