Trump and the closed loop of news in the GOP

Asked to name media companies in which they have trust, 65% of Republicans named Fox News. One in 3 named ABC. And that’s it. Not a single other news source was trusted by even 33% of self-identified Republicans in the Pew poll.

…A majority of Republicans (and Republican-leaning independents) don’t trust ANY media company other than Fox News. And two thirds don’t trust ANY media companies other than Fox News and ABC.

…Combine those numbers with Fox News’s overwhelming viewership numbers among Republicans (60% get their election news from Fox; no other outlet gets above 30%), and the marked difference between its content and that of all the other mainstream media outlets, and you see a major reason for why we are where we are, politically speaking.

If you only trust one news outlet and that news outlet is telling a very different …version of current events, a massive disconnect is created.

…And it is into that disconnect, that information void, that Trump has leaped — and now resides. …Trump regularly tweets and retweets Fox News segments to his 71+ million Twitter followers. He often directly quotes from Fox personalities. He works to create a totally closed information ecosystem for his supporters — and largely succeeds.

This 1 chart explains how bad Fox News is for our politics – CNNPolitics

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Trump impeachment trial: Will Democrats get their witnesses?

US public opinion on Trump’s impeachment is sharply divided between Democrats and Republicans with a slight tilt in favour of removing the president from office.

A new Emerson College national poll showed 51 percent of respondents favour Trump’s conviction and removal from office while 49 percent oppose impeachment.

A strong majority of 59 percent of voters want the Senate to call witnesses in the trial, according to the survey conducted January 21-23 with a 4.1 percent margin of confidence.

Trump impeachment trial: Will Democrats get their witnesses? | USA News | Al Jazeera

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Rep. Garcia explains Democrats believe Biden did nothing wrong because there is zero evidence to suggest otherwise

“Every witness with knowledge of this issue testified that Biden was following official U.S. policy in calling for Shokin’s removal,” said Garcia, who noted that the move was supported by a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans Rob Portman and Ron Johnson.

She added that there is “Simply no evidence…in the record to support” the “baseless allegation” that Biden did anything wrong by pressing for Shokin’s removal.

…“President Trump asked Ukraine for something that benefited only himself,” said Garcia, D-Texas. “In putting himself above our country, he put his country at risk, and that is why his actions are so dangerous,” she added.

WATCH: Rep. Garcia explains why Democrats believe Biden did nothing wrong | PBS NewsHour

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Why a conservative columnist thinks Republicans’ impeachment strategy will blow up in their faces

“The impeachment trial will not result in President Trump’s removal,” [conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer] Rubin writes, “but it could well result in Republicans’ removal from the Senate majority.”

The Never Trump conservative notes that a “slew of Republican incumbents,” according to Morning Consult, “were below 45% approval even before the trial began….. In their refusal to allow new witnesses and documents, their determination to acquit even before the trial began and their conduct during the trial, they are creating a plethora of opportunities for opponents’ ad makers.”

The incumbent GOP senators Rubin specifically mentions include Maine’s Susan Collins, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Arizona’s Martha McSally, Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Texas’ John Cornyn.

…“In behaving as they have, Republicans are managing not only to deprive the president of a legitimate acquittal in the eyes of Americans — who overwhelmingly want a real trial — but also, to convince voters that Republicans should not be entrusted with power.”

Why a conservative columnist thinks Republicans’ impeachment strategy will blow up in their faces – Alternet.org

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This is why the US still doesn’t have high-speed trains

The FRA should never have been asked to oversee the project, said Thomas Hart Jr, president of the pro-rail consulting group Rail Forward. It was inexperienced, needlessly bureaucratic, and had “neither the experience, the staff, nor the regulations” in place to make high-speed rail work. To Hart’s mind, the largest problems were strategic: The FRA “tried to do too much with too little” by spreading the money across the nation rather than targeting the best possible projects, while simultaneously shutting out small or minority-owned businesses. He also believes the federal government made a fatal misstep in allowing Amtrak to run the projects, rather than opening it up to more experienced foreign competitors. 

…“The question really is, for us as an industry and as a company, in being pragmatic,” he said. All over the country, there are underserved segments of around 300 miles which are ripe for high-quality rail, he added. “We don’t even need to spend money on necessarily expensive high-speed trains—just getting what we have today working well at a hundred miles an hour, which is very feasible, is really viable.” 

Europe might have some of the world’s best high-speed rail, but it also had a great network of slower, 80-mile-per-hour trains, said Harris. “We should aspire to that first. We can deliver that and make a lot of people happy, without spending $100 million.”

This is why the US still doesn’t have high-speed trains — Quartz

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