Politics 2010: News from under the dome

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International  |  Nov. 21, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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The politicking may be over, but politics goes on ... and on ... and on. Here are some stories that may have flown beneath the radar.

News shows more like entertainment shows

News media are heading down a slippery slope of embracing hype over substance to the detriment of the public interest, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., says.

Using a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on retransmission negotiations between broadcasters and cable providers, Rockefeller bashed news media outlets for "all but surrendering to the forces of entertainment," The Hill reported.

"Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle," Rockefeller said. "We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish our democracy. As citizens, we are paying a price."

GOP already the majority party on Twitter.

Republicans may have to wait until January to take over running the U.S. House of Representatives, but they already rule Twitter, a study indicates.

The recent review indicates Republicans in Congress have it all over Democrats influence-wise on Twitter -- and by overwhelming margins, The Hill reported.

Republicans occupy 70 of the top 100 slots for the most influential congressional Twitter users, but Democrats boast the top tweeter -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi was five slots ahead of Speaker-designate John Boehner, the survey indicated. Behind Pelosi was Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

HP Labs, Hewlett-Packard's research center, used an algorithm to rank the 100 most influential congressional tweeters, The Hill said.

Bernardo Huberman, a researcher who contributed to the study, said the algorithm rewarded people whose messages could be heard above the noise.

"Sometimes it can be quite surprising, paradoxical, that the people who are quite popular in the sense of having a lot of followers," Huberman said, "have little influence."

Trump: Obama's a 'nice guy' who's in 'over his head'

U.S. President Barack Obama may be nice, but he's "totally over his head," mogul Donald Trump says.

Trump told MSNBC he respects and likes Obama and thinks "he's wonderful in many ways.

But, "I think he has been not good for business, and honestly -- and very sadly -- the world does not respect this country, and therefore, I think the world doesn't respect our leader," Trump said. "He's a nice man, but I think he's totally over his head."

Trump, known for uttering the dreaded "You're fired" on NBC's "The Apprentice," has been floated as a potential challenger to Obama in 2012.

Asked his party identification, Trump said, "I'm a Republican -- I'd run as a Republican."

But, he told MSNBC, he would prefer not to run, explaining he's "buying a lot of things right now. It's a great time to buy things right now."

Dodd upstages Jennifer Garner

Actress Jennifer Garner had an important message for senators about early childhood education, but it was upstaged by swansong for retiring Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

Garner was at the witness table before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee's Subcommittee on Children and Education when senators warmly applauded Dodd for his service to the committee, Roll Call said.

"We're going to miss Chris's infectious congeniality," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said.

Garner finally got her chance to speak -- but only after Dodd nudged the hearing ahead.

"I'm tempted to keep hearing from my colleagues, but we have witnesses to get to," Dodd said.

During her remarks, Garner thanked Dodd for his years of service, noting, "Personally speaking, I know you to be an excellent lunch partner."

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