Megyn Kelly Mum on Her Politics; Egypt Targets Christian Convert

Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 02:47 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Megyn Kelly: I'm Not a 'Conservative Operative'
2. Poll: U.S. 'Less Powerful and Important' Than Decade Ago
3. Egypt Arrests Christian Convert on 'Bogus Charges'
4. Unemployment: A Tale of Two Borders
5. Democrats Claim Rove Is Targeting Mark Pryor
6. TV Advertising Losing Ground to Digital
 

1. Megyn Kelly: I'm Not a 'Conservative Operative'

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asserts that she is a "straight news anchor" and not an "opinion host" or "conservative operative" on the highly-rated network.

When Kelly made her inaugural appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Monday, Leno asked her: "People assume, if you're on Fox News, you have a certain bias. How do you deal with that?"

Kelly, whose show "The Kelly File" airs weeknights at 9, responded: "I'm a straight news anchor. I'm not one of the opinion hosts on Fox. But I always laugh, because I'll have a conservative pull me aside and say, 'I love your conservative principles,' and I'll say, 'You assume too much.'

"And then the liberals will pull me aside and say, 'I know you're one of us,' and I'll say, 'You assume too much.'

"But I always tell people if they think I'm this conservative operative, ask Karl Rove if that's true."

Kelly was referring to her confrontation with the conservative political analyst on Election Day last year, when Rove challenged Fox's decision to declare President Obama the winner in Ohio, maintaining that the race was still too close to call.

Kelly asked Fox's analysts, on-air, if they stood by their call, "given the doubts Karl Rove just raised." The analysts said they were "99.95 percent" certain they had made the right call.

Kelly told Leno: "The way we do it on the Fox News Channel is the straight news anchors like myself give a hard time to both sides. And my legal background plays right into that," added Kelly, who practiced law for nine years before launching her news career.

"I don't care about pandering to the left or right, I care about protecting my audience," she said. "My boss Roger Ailes pays me a decent amount of money to go out there and ask questions, because he thinks that I know the questions my audience wants answers to.

"That's my obligation: to make sure they answer the questions."

Discussing recent polls that show Congress' approval rating at an all-time low, Kelly said Democrats and Republicans "genuinely dislike each other.”

"I think it would help if there were more outreach from the president down to congressional leaders. But it also doesn't help to have the Republican leader in the Senate saying their number one goal is to stop the Obama agenda."

Editor's Note:



2. Poll: U.S. 'Less Powerful and Important' Than Decade Ago

For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority of Americans believe the United States is less powerful than it was a decade ago.

And an even larger majority think America is less respected than in the past, according to the new America's Place in the World survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The survey is conducted every four years in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy.

In the new poll, 53 percent of respondents say as a world leader the United States is less powerful and less important than it was 10 years ago. That's up from 41 percent in 2009.

Just 17 percent say the United States is more powerful and important than 10 years ago, and the remainder think it is about the same.

Respondents differed sharply according to political affiliations. Among Republicans, 74 percent said America is less powerful, while just 33 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents agree.

Fully 70 percent of respondents say the United States is less respected internationally than 10 years ago, up from 56 percent in 2009. Again, Republicans were more pessimistic — 80 percent believe America is less respected by other countries. Among Democrats, 56 percent feel that way, as do 74 percent of independents.

Other findings of the Pew survey include:

  • 52 percent agree that the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own," while just 38 percent disagree. This is the most lopsided result in the history of the surveys.
  • But 66 percent say greater U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing because it exposes America to new markets and opportunities for growth. Just 25 percent believe it is a bad thing because its exposes the nation to greater economic risks and uncertainty.
  • 51 percent believe the United States does too much in helping solve world problems, and nearly half of them, 47 percent, say problems at home, including the economy, should get more attention.
  • 62 percent think more foreign companies setting up operations in America would mostly help the U.S. economy, while 73 percent say more U.S. companies setting up operations overseas would mostly hurt the economy.
  • 56 percent of respondents disapprove of President Obama's handling of foreign policy, and 34 percent approve.
  • Islamic extremist groups like al-Qaida pose the biggest threat to Americans, Pew discloses — 75 percent of respondents say it is a major threat, while 68 percent cite Iran's nuclear program, and 54 percent cite China's emergence as a world power.
  • 83 percent say protecting the United States from terrorist attacks should be a top policy, and 81 percent say protecting American jobs should be a major concern. Just 18 percent say promoting democracy in other countries should be a top priority.

Editor's Note:



3. Egypt Arrests Christian Convert on 'Bogus Charges'

Egyptian authorities have arrested the nation's most well-known convert from Islam to Christianity on charges that a human rights official calls "bogus."

Bishoy Armia Boulous, formerly known as Mohammed Hegazy, was taken into custody in early December in the city of Minya, 160 miles south of Cairo. Security forces allege he was inciting "sectarian strife" and contributing to the "false image" that there is violence against Christians in Minya, according to Morning Star News, which chronicles the persecution of Christians around the world.

After Boulous, 31, converted to Christianity in 1998, he was arrested several times and tortured by government agents for three days during one of his stays in prison, he told Compass Direct News in a 2010 interview.

He gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 when he became the first convert to Christianity to file a legal case to have his religion and name changed on his government-issued ID card. The card is necessary for Egyptians who want to open a bank account or enroll children in school, among other activities.

Boulous was forced into hiding due to threats against his life in a country where 84 percent of respondents in a 2010 poll said the government should execute anyone who leaves Islam.

In January 2008, a court ruled against him on the grounds that Sharia forbids conversion from Islam.

After his recent arrest, authorities claimed he had a camera and was working for The Way TV, a Coptic Christian-owned U.S.-based TV channel that broadcasts into Egypt via satellite.

But Joseph Nasrallah, head of The Way TV, said the channel "had nothing to do" with Boulous.

Mamdouh Nakhla, chairman of the Kalema Organization for Human Rights, said: "The police have made it seem like they are arresting him for different reasons other than him being a convert from Islam.

"There is no doubt that he will be tortured."

In testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Dec. 10, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said Boulous "was arrested reportedly for proselytizing and inciting sectarian strife, among other bogus charges."

Dr. Jasser said his organization has recommended for the past three years that the United States mark Egypt "as among the world's worst religious freedom abusers."

Editor's Note:



4. Unemployment: A Tale of Two Borders

The American metropolitan area with the highest unemployment rate is on the U.S.-Mexican border, as is the metro with the second highest rate.

In contrast, the three metros with the lowest unemployment rates are in North Dakota, a state that borders Canada, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The highest unemployment rate is in Yuma, Ariz., a border metro with a population of around 200,000, where the rate was 31.9 percent in October — more than four times higher than the 7.3 percent national rate.

The second highest rate is in the El Centro, Calif., metro on the Mexican border: 22.8 percent.

Six of the top 10 metros with the highest rates are in California, two are in New Jersey, and Arizona and Illinois each have one.

Bob Dane, communications director for the Federation for Immigration Reform, told CNS News that given Yuma and El Centro's proximity to the border, "City officials are overdue for a close and honest look into whether high immigration and high unemployment in Yuma and El Centro is coincidence or causality.

"What we do know for certain is that there are massive flows of illegal aliens, drug smugglers, and human traffickers in that part of California and Arizona."

The employment situation is much rosier close to the Canadian border.

Bismarck, N.D., has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation — just 1.7 percent in a metro with a population of about 120,000 — followed by two other North Dakota metros, Fargo at 2.3 percent and Grand Forks at 2.5 percent.

Two other metros of the 10 with the lowest rates are also in states bordering Canada: Burlington, Vt., and Mankato, Minn.

The booming oil and gas industry in North Dakota is keeping the state's unemployment rate low.

"According to our most recent economic study, the oil and gas industry supported nearly 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2011," said Tessa Sandstrom, communications manager for the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said: "Bismarck is the capital city of one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Our legal, tax, and regulatory climate reflects the attitude of citizens who understand pro-business means pro-jobs.

"It is a culture that needs to be duplicated across America."

Editor's Note:



5. Democrats Claim Rove Is Targeting Mark Pryor

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has sent out a fundraising letter seeking campaign contributions for fellow Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who is facing a tough re-election battle in Arkansas.

"You know what Karl Rove probably put on his wish list to Santa this year? Control of the Senate," Brown writes. "The special interests already have the House in their pockets — and if the Senate follows, the dysfunction in Washington will only get worse.

"That's why this year, the special interests are going after my colleague Mark Pryor in Arkansas. They think he'll be easy to defeat. But they couldn’t be more wrong."

Pryor was first elected in 2002 and won re-election in 2008 with no Republican opposition. But he will be opposed in the 2014 election by first-term Rep. Tom Cotton.

GOP strategists believe Pryor is vulnerable and consider Cotton one of the party's best bets to capture a Democratic Senate seat.

In the most recent poll, Cotton held a 48 percent to 41 percent edge over Pryor.

"There's nothing the special interests would like more than to have Arkansas' Senate seat," writes Brown, who is not running for re-election next year. "They're already spending money against Mark with some nasty attacks and smears."

Brown seeks contributions of "$5 or more to help Mark out."

Editor's Note:



6. TV Advertising Losing Ground to Digital

The growth of digital advertising has battered the print media industry in recent years. Now it's set to take its toll on television advertising as well.

Experts are predicting that TV's share of global advertising is about to peak after three decades of growth, then fall in coming years.

Television is expected to account for 40.2 percent of the $532 billion global ad market in 2013 before falling to 39.3 percent of the market by 2016, according to ZenithOptimedia, a leading media marketing firm.

"The transition is the result of digital media chipping away at television's dominance and broader upheaval in the industry," The Fiscal Times observed.

The Internet's share of global advertising will rise from 20.6 percent this year to 26.6 percent in 2016, according to ZenithOptimedia.

"In recent years, marketers poured money into digital ads largely at the expense of print media," The Fiscal Times reported. "TV not only held its ground but grew as marketers sought to reach mass audiences.

"That scale is tipping."

Digital media and the rise of online video are TV's real competitors for advertising dollars, said Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia's head of forecasting. Television ad spending has grown fairly consistently for at least the last 35 years, he said, but "there will be quite a lot of disruption to come over the next 10 years."

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Editor's Note:



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