Background Briefing: August 7, 2018
Special Congressional Election in Ohio a Referendum on Trump
We begin with the special congressional election today for Ohio’s 12th District in which Republican state Senator Troy Balderson is trying to hold onto a seat the GOP has held for three decades. And since President Trump held a rally for him in the district on Saturday, the race is seen as an indicator of Trump’s popularity and ability to help or hurt Republican candidates and whether the Democrat’s Blue Wave materializes in November. Bob Fitrakis, a Professor of Political Science at Columbus State Community College and editor of the Free Press newspaper published widely on Ohio electoral politics, joins us. We will discuss the national focus on this special election and efforts by Republicans to blunt the momentum of the Democratic challenger Danny O’Conner who is even in the polls with a win for him tonight following a strong victory for the same seat in 2016 which the GOP won by 37 percentage points, surely being a big boost for the Democrats and a rebuke for Trump. But whoever wins, the whole exercise will have to be repeated in November with the same match-up between the two candidates.
43% of Republicans Want Trump to Shut Down Media They Don’t Like
Then we speak with Whitney Phillips, a digital media folklorist who has spent a decade exploring trolling, hate and misogyny online, online ethics, and folkloric ambivalence across media. The co-author of “The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online”, we discuss the removal of Alex Jones’ “Infowars” content from Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify for peddling hate speech and false information online and a new poll from Ipsos that finds 43% of Republicans want to give Trump the power to shut down media that they consider are engaged in bad behavior.
Trump Blames California Wildfires on Water Flowing into the Ocean
Then finally we assess the effectiveness of the expensive efforts underway to fight out-of-control fires in California that are expected to burn for the rest of the month. Dr. Mike Flannigan, a Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources and the Director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at the University of Alberta, joins us to discuss Trump’s idiotic tweets blaming the California wildfires on Governor Brown for allowing water to be diverted into the ocean. We will also examine the real problem increasing the frequency and intensity of fires which Trump is making worse by denying the science and existence of climate change.