AP NEWS

Inside the Beltway: Jon Voight’s pro-Trump videos grab 8.5 million views in 36 hours

May 27, 2019

Actor Jon Voight swept social media and rocked the political landscape after he released a pair of terse videos on Twitter in which he warned Americans not to be “fooled by the political left” and their “absurd words of destruction” then praised Donald Trump as the best U.S. president since Abraham Lincoln.

The Oscar-winning actor knows how to deliver a maximum message in minimal time.

In total, the two videos, which were filed late Friday, run for 1 minute and 26 seconds. As of early Monday afternoon about 36 hours later Mr. Voight’s videos were viewed 8.5 million times and counting on Twitter alone. They also were liked 198,000 times, retweeted 63,000 times and drew 48,000 comments in that time period.

Many political strategists dream of such buzz and influence, which stirred up Mr. Voight’s fans and foes alike. Regardless of their political beliefs, millions were engaged while thousands spoke out for or against Mr. Voight’s effective commentary.

Many news organizations simply posted the videos with a brief advisory and moved on. Activist actor Alyssa Milano offered predictably negative comments. Industry publications offered surprisingly straightforward coverage.

“An outspoken conservative in Hollywood, Voight has posted video messages to his Twitter followers defending Trump before, including one where he praised Fox News host Laura Ingraham in April ‘for all the work that she does.’ The former liberal frequently criticized former President Barack Obama and frequently appeared at events hosted by Friends of Abe, the now-disbanded, private conservative group comprising members that worked in the entertainment industry,” noted the Hollywood Reporter.

“Jon Voight has long been a supporter of President Donald Trump. But now, he’s taken that admiration to another level,” reported Deadline Hollywood. “The 80-year-old Academy Award winner has posted a series of Twitter videos that he hopes will galvanize Republican support for Trump before the 2020 presidential campaign.”

MR. CRUZ ALSO HAS A VIDEO

PJ Media video journalist Nicholas Ballasy caught up with Sen. Ted Cruz on Capitol Hill, and the pair had quite a conversation while striding past many offices.

Mr. Ballasy asked the Texas Republican for a reaction to a recent Gallup poll that found that 4-out-of-10 Americans said they had support for “some form” of socialism.

“I’ve certainly seen polls, especially among young people, showing a sizable percentage who believe in socialism. I think that reflects a real failure on the part of all of us to talk about the real facts about socialism. Socialism has been a manifest disaster all across the globe. It has produced misery and poverty and suffering for billions of people,” Mr. Cruz said in the video, which runs under two minutes.

“If you care about social justice, the greatest enemy poverty has sever seen is the American free enterprise system. Poll numbers like that encourage all of us to do a better job winning people’s hearts and minds and making the basic case for why the free market best enables people to climb the economic latter,” Mr. Cruz said.

“Our educational systems are not doing the jobs they should in terms of teaching about American free enterprise, about the Constitution, about the basic principles upon which America was founded and built and we need to do a much better job.”

FACEBOOK CLEANS HOUSE AHEAD OF 2020

“The amount of fake accounts removed from Facebook this year nearly equals its number of total active users” reports AdWeek.

“Facebook disabled more than 2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019 alone, nearly the same amount of total monthly active users the company has,” the industry publication says, double the number removed at the same time last year.

Variety, another industry publication, also said that Facebook “proactively” took down 99.8 % of these accounts before users reported them, relying on automated digital evaluation tools instead.

Meanwhile, the social media giant has curbed incentives among its salespeople to sell political ads by stopping commissions on material with political content, according to The Wall Street Journal.

MEANWHILE IN CANADA

“Ontario man fined for smuggling medicinal leeches into Canada in carry-on luggage,” reports Environment and Climate Change Canada, a government agency.

“An enforcement officer detained the leeches to identify the species and determine if the import was lawful. With assistance from Dr. Sebastian Kvist, curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Royal Ontario Museum, the leeches were identified as Hirudo verbana, one of only two species of medicinal leech that are subject to regulations aimed at controlling wildlife trade. These species are regulated because over-harvesting of medicinal leeches from the wild is a major threat to the species,” the group said, noting that the passenger was fined $15,000 which goes to the nation’s Environmental Damages Fund.

YES, ABOUT THAT 30 HOURS

Some bipartisan legislation of note: Republican Sens. Todd Young of Indiana and John Barrasso of Wyoming, plus Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have introduced the Employee Flexibility Act of 2019, which would change the definition of “full-time employee” under the Affordable Care Act from someone who works an average of 30 hours per week to the traditional 40 hours per week.

The history: In 2010, the Affordable Care Act established a requirement that employers offer health coverage to employees who worked a full-time “threshold” of 30 hours per week. The result: Employers started cutting their workers’ hours.

The four senators say their legislation would provide employees with flexibility to gain hours and increase their paychecks, and provide coverage relief to businesses.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Republican Reps. Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, plus Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Collin Peterson of Michigan.

POLL DU JOUR

48% of Americans say President Trump is conservative or very conservative; 65% of Republicans, 46% of independents and 63% of Democrats agree.

30% are unsure about the president’s ideology; 9% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.

15% say the president is moderate; 21% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

7% say the president is liberal or very liberal; 5% of Republicans, 6% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted May 18-21.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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