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The equivalent of one Big House filled with fans has clicked on Almost DailyBrett.bighouse

Well close enough. Michigan’s “Big House” officially holds 109,901. This blog passed the 100K page views mark Wednesday. Okay maybe not exactly as much as one Big House, but it’s good enough for government work.

Just as important, if not even more so, Almost DailyBrett has drawn more than 62,000 unique visitors, easily exceeding the 54,000 stated capacity of Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Fortunately, this blog is not as noisy as Oregon’s friendly confines.Autzenatnight

Certainly a lot of water has flowed up the Willamette since Almost DailyBrett debuted in July 2009. During that entire summer month, there were a grand total of … seven page views. Yep, there were only seven pairs of eyes that clicked on this blog. One would be tempted to ask: If Almost DailyBrett was posted in a forest and there wasn’t anyone to click on it, did it make any sound?

So what are my sentiments about having a blog, which has reached and exceeded the 100,000 page-view after 378 posts during the course of past 79 months?

Humbling, in a word.

It’s also awesome when one contemplates that Moore’s Law (number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months) and resultant Web 2.0, makes online publishing possible. Are we starting to take web publishing for granted?

Image converted using ifftoany

Image converted using ifftoany

What really blows the mind of the author of Almost DailyBrett is this blog has been read in 144 or more countries around the world. There are more than a few days when every continent on the planet is represented. Try doing that in the age of newspapers. Imposible.

Some believe that blogging is dead. These poor souls are just wrong.

The largest blogging site, WordPress, hosts 74.6 million blogs, drawing 409 million readers to 16.3 billion pages. Every day WordPress features 618 million new posts, attracting 55 million daily comments. Seventy-one percent of WordPress blogs are posted in English; 5 percent in Spanish.

Any best of all: No Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is necessary.

And yet there are literally millions of dead blogs, oodles of morbid blogs. Almost DailyBrett could have been a deceased blog, but it similar to so many others, survived and persevered.

Seven Strategies for Blogging Glory

  1. There should be joy in your blogging. This is a tremendous opportunity to share your opinions, to demonstrate thought leadership and build your own brand. Keep in mind that digital is eternal. Follow the rule that if you are upset and despondent to stay away from the keyboard. Wait until you are in a proper frame of mood. Pathos is a key component of blogging, being out-of-control is fraught with peril._MG_1292 (3)
  2. Take Care with Your Blog Name. Your blog should afford you the opportunity literally way in on any issue. You should not paint yourself with a title that is restrictive (e.g., “At the Movies”) unless you want to be a one-trick blogging pony. Yours truly went to parochial school for 12-long years. Contemplated Give Us Our Daily Bread … Give Us our Daily Brett. Eventually the name matriculated to Almost DailyBrett, flexibility and branding at the same time.
  3. Pull > Push. Every successful blog employs “push” techniques such as headlines, blurbs, URLs and JPEGs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. (the latter imposes the Draconian 140-character rule). More importantly are “pull” strategies to attract the search engines including categories and tags. Almost DailyBrett guesstimates that for every one page view that comes from pushing out the blog to social media another eight page views comes from search engine marketing or SEM.
  4. Digital Rules; Analog Matters. There is zero doubt that attracting the digital search engines is the predominate method to attract search engines, which translates into page views and visitors, keep in mind that old-fashioned Journalism still matters. Write compelling headlines. Think What, When, Where, Who, Why, How and Who Cares in the first two of three paragraphs of your blog. We live in a 140-character Twitter and texting world … get to the point.
  5. Provocative, Not Notorious. Every one of your readers is precious. They are on this planet for only so long. Don’t be afraid of being provocative. Take a stand and defend it. Respect the opinions of others. Don’t live in a filter bubble. Engage in a conversation … but remember: Be offensive without being offensive.
  6. Think Skin … To A Point. Criticism and sassy/snarky responses are part of blogging. If you are NOT receiving digging responses from time-to-time, there is something wrong with your blog. Keep in mind there are boundaries. Just as you should never use outright profanities, name calling and slurs, you should not tolerate them either.
  7. Don’t Agonize. This point is the reciprocal of having joy in your blogging. If the topic for your next blog post is not coming immediately to mind, don’t panic. As former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography, “I know it, when I see it.” Trust me, your subject will come to you sooner or later.blog

Almost DailyBrett today sets out on the trail of another 100,000 page views, and more importantly 100,000 total visitors from around the world. Your author is proud to say that 20+ years after the onset of Web 2.0 that blogging thrives.

Demonstrate thought leadership.

Lead the conversation.

Make the world a better place.

Blog baby, blog!

 

Almost DailyBrett

“The Trump-less debate proved the Donald right … While more than 24 million people watched the first GOP presidential debate on Fox, just 12.5 million watched this one.” – Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

From a public relations and long-term reputation standpoint, which is better?

  1. Caving into Mr. CombOver and jettisoning Megyn Kelly as a GOP debate moderator for the benefit of ratings?
  2. Retaining Kelly as a moderator, even at the expense of a Donald Trump debate boycott and the obvious sacrifice of literally millions of viewers?megyndonald

Whichever course Fox News’ boss Mr. Warm-and-Fuzzy Roger Ailes chose, there was going to be criticism and impassioned finger pointing. It was a simply a no-win situation for Fox News, regardless of the decided course of action.

Fox News chose Option 2: Standing behind Kelly, journalistic principle and calling Trump’s debate-boycott bluff.

Almost DailyBrett must also take a stand on this question: Allowing any politician, no matter how demagogic, influential and wealthy, to dictate coverage by any network sets a horrible precedent and worse yet: The decision is indefensible.

Besides … love it or loath it … cable news ratings leader Fox News will be around longer than Donald Trump. The network claims it is “fair and balanced.” Whether one agrees with this moniker or not, how can Fox News stand behind this motto if a billionaire bully dictates journalistic standards?

Tit in a Ringer?

“Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s (slush fund story) published.” – Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell

Do you think Richard Nixon wanted Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post to be fired during the height of the Watergate scandal? Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell even warned he would put Post publisher Graham’s “tit in a ringer.”postgraham

The Post was properly saluted by the journalism profession for sticking to its proverbial guns in the 1970s. Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men” (both the book and the movie) and “The Final Days,” celebrated the Pulitzer-Prize-winning coverage by the Post.

So why not even some modicum of acknowledgement of the courage of Fox News, even at a network loss of upwards of 12 million viewers? Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting an equivalency between the Watergate coverage and Donald Trump debate boycott other than to state that both required courage.

What’s ironic is at least one or more Washington Post pundits (and presumably other media as well) are leading the criticism of Fox News’ decision to back Kelly and suffer the ratings hit as a result of Trump’s petty-and-childish debate boycott.

Who Is the Real Loser?

“Slinking away from an accomplished journalist who might ask a tough question is lame and makes the blustering, bullying real estate mogul look weak and petulant. This could permanently damage the perception that he’s strong and fearless.” – Presidential Campaign Manager Karl Rove

There are some who are taking Donald Trump at his word: He boycotted last Thursday’s debate because of Kelly’s tough questioning at the August 6 debate, asking him to respond to charges that he is a misogynist.

There are others who contend he played it safe, especially when word leaked out that Kelly and her two other moderators Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, were planning on interjecting Tim Russert-style “got-ya” videos into the debate questioning.  Last Thursday’s debate featured the toughest questions of the seven Republican and four Democratic debates to date.trumpailes

And then, there is the distinct possibility the threatened boycott had nothing to do with Kelly, but really boiled down to two-little boys in a sandbox (e.g., Trump and Ailes) contesting who had the biggest Tonka truck.

It will be interesting to note whether Trump’s pettiness will cost him in the Iowa Caucuses this evening. If so, a national wave of Schadenfreude may ensue.

For the Fox News PR department, it is far easier to stand-up for Vanity Fair cover-subject, Megyn Kelly and more importantly, journalistic principles, than to rationalize backing down to Donald Trump.

When in doubt: Think long-term reputation over short-term benefit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/28/winners-and-losers-from-the-7th-republican-presidential-debate/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-ducks-an-iowa-opportunity-1453938984?mg=id-wsj

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/28/the-real-reason-donald-trump-is-skipping-tonights-fox-news-debate/?tid=a_inl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/29/megyn-kelly-is-a-very-good-debate-moderator-heres-proof/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_evening

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-had-the-worst-week-in-washington-foxs-roger-ailes/2016/01/29/0b863796-c693-11e5-a4aa-f25866ba0dc6_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_popns

http://www.economist.com/node/699638

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/12/megyn-kelly-fox-news-cover-story

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/01/31/will-trump-ever-debate-again/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_opinions

 

 

 

 

 

Polls are much better as explainers than as predictors.” – Barry Sussman, Washington Post

We lost California before we won it.

Mervin Field of KCBS and Steven Teichner of KABC, both in Los Angeles, proudly projected at 8:01 pm (PST) on November 2, 1982 that LA Mayor Tom Bradley had just been elected governor based upon their scientific calibration of voters leaving polling places at carefully selected precincts statewide.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, serving as the press director for the rival gubernatorial campaign of then-Attorney General George Deukmejian, it appeared there was going to be a bitter personal pill to swallow. Unemployment was just over the horizon.deukmejianbradley

As a 27-years-young PR practitioner, instinctively I knew my job was to stay positive in the face of crushing news as I was surrounded by swirling pack of vulture reporters on the floor of the Century Plaza Hotel. Meanwhile, Field was on television declaring Bradley’s historic election as the first black governor of California. There was only one problem for the creator of the California poll, my boss Deukmejian was maintaining a comfortable lead.

Yours truly verbally hung onto this lifeline as the night went on.

At approximately 11 pm (PST), ABC News out of New York proclaimed Deukmejian the winner, contradicting Teichner’s projection three hours earlier. Yours truly asked Chuck Henry of KABC, reporting from the floor of the Century Plaza ballroom, WTF was going on.

He didn’t know.

Two hours later, NBC News from Rockefeller Center projected my boss the victor. CBS News in Manhattan completed the trifecta at 5 am (PDT), ending a really bad night for Mervin Field. A bitter Tom Bradley never conceded. George Deukmejian was elected the 35th governor of California by a margin of 106,000 votes out of 7.8 million cast.

What the late-Mervin Field and Steven Teichner missed was the massive distribution of absentee voter applications to high-propensity voters in Orange County and Long Beach by our campaign. For obvious competitive reasons, we did not telegraph this now-accepted campaign practice. How could Field and Teichner reflect these voters, if they never showed up at polling places?

It’s certainly neither the first time political experts have called an election wrong nor will it be the last time.

Missing a Landslide?

“President Dewey warned me not to get overconfident.” – Ronald Reagan

The experts said it was close, but the voters – stubbornly irreverent as usual – made it a landslide. What happened?” – Robert Kaiser, Washington Posttruman

The photo of a beaming Harry Truman holding aloft an early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the banner headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman” is now an eternal part of electoral lore.

Clearly, the pundits got it wrong in 1948. Thomas Dewey never became president of the United States. Certainly, this is the only time the political class got it wrong?

Certainly not.

The pollsters in their infinite wisdom kept telling the American people the 1980 race between President Jimmy Carter and Governor Ronald Reagan was too close to call. Amazingly, two days before the decisive election the Washington Post and Gallup polls reflected Carter leads of 4 and 3 percent respectively.

reaganpollsThe pundits immediately dismissed the polling conducted by Richard Wirthlin and Robert Teeter, citing their obvious bias because they worked for Reagan. As it turns out they saw the landslide that the media pollsters couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal.

From “too close to call,” the race shifted in epic proportions with Reagan ultimately winning the electoral college, 489-49; the popular vote, 50 percent to 41.0 percent; 43.6 million votes to 35.5 million; 44 states to 6 + DC for Carter.reaganlandslide

So what does this all mean as we head into the caucuses and primaries, starting next week?

It’s Down to Clinton vs. Bush: A Battle of Political Dynasties

Remember being told just that repeatedly by the political class: It will be Hillary vs. Jeb in November, 2016

It was inevitable these two familial standard bearers would clash this fall.

Donald who? Bernie who? Cruz who? Marco who?

Let’s see, we have been told that Hillary’s nomination, if not election, was inevitable.

And then there was a Trump surge. Has Trump peaked?

It’s Trump’s race to lose.

It will be decided between Trump and Ted Cruz (What happened to Bush?)

Sanders will win New Hampshire and lose Iowa.

Wait! Sanders may actually win Iowa or at least place well.

Hillary has a firewall in the South …

All of these pronouncements are based in part on traditional polling, based on the laws of mathematics. Let’s see: randomly sampled and selected, neutral questions, 1,000 nationwide respondents, within an acceptable margin of error of 3-4 percent, 95 percent of the time.

The other part of the equation are reporters tweeting each other, bouncing their “theories” off each other (e.g., The Boys and Girls of the Bus), and then colluding to make pious pronouncements.votersNH

But waiting at the lunch counters, the factory gates, the town halls, the bowling alleys, the bars, the PTA meetings are the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The best and the brightest – The Experts — at their second screens may make the pronouncements, but the fickle voters will make the actual decisions.

And who should we listen to?

Almost DailyBrett Note: Very few things in life have a heightened impact on your author’s blood pressure than references to the so-called “Bradley Effect, ” a hidden anti-black bias by the voters. This sentiment does not take account that Bradley stopped campaigning about 10 days before the election, leaving only one campaign for scribes to cover, our campaign. This ill-fated decision was a critical mistake in a razor-thin election. We also directed absentee votes to our high propensity voters as noted above … and (now California Governor) Jerry Brown lost to Pete Wilson by a half-million votes that very same day. Bradley fared better with the voters than Brown. Simply said, it was not a good night for Democrats.

So much for the Bradley effect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervin_Field

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-mervin-field-20150608-story.html#page=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_gubernatorial_election,_1982

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Sussman

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/441/prejudice-campaign.html

 

 

 

 

“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. In a most delightful way.” – Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, 1964

Ready for “Single Payer” or “Medicare for All”?

How about a little “quantitative easing”?

Or how about shelling out for the “estate tax”?

Maybe the U.S. will engage in a little “strategic incursion.”

The doctor says, “This won’t hurt; you will feel a little discomfort.”

Run!sanders

From both sides of the socialism vs. capitalism divide and even into the doctor’s office, we seem to be embracing euphemisms to help the medicine go down in a most delightful way.

These are all examples of public relations pros dreaming up euphemisms, translated as a “mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.”

Hmmm … Do you suspect that Senator Bernie Sanders (and others of his ideological ilk) would rather use the terms “Medicare for All” and “Single Payer” as substitutes for nationalization of private health insurance and the subsequent dumping of all HMO, PPO, PLO workers onto the unemployment rolls? (Okay, not the PLO).

Let’s see, UnitedHealth Group has 182,000 employees. Kaiser Permanente has 177,445 workers. Anthem has 51,500; Aetna, 48,800; Cigna, 37,200; Humana, 57,000 …

If “Single Payer” (a.k.a. the government) reigns supreme will private health insurance going bye-bye and all of these workers be heading to the dole? NPR reports that private health insurers would “probably not” be heading into the sunset.

“Probably not?” That’s not reassuring.

Maybe “single payer” is not as benign as the euphemism suggests?

Crank Up the Money Presses

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates last month by 250 basis points. Does that mean that “quantitative easing” has come to an end? And what the heck is quantitative easing?

How about revving up the money printing presses to stimulate the economy? Let’s not worry about bothersome inflation.QE

In fact, this euphemism for the easy-way-out is alive in well across the pond as Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank (ECB) are considering just that, a little “monetary stimulus” in March.

And if central banks decide to taper back QE or quantitative easing, then markets in turn may have a “taper tantrum.”

No one wants to hear that central banks are printing money to solve economic problems. That’s where “quantitative easing” comes into play. It’s just that easing.

“Death” vs. “Estate” Tax

One side raises the spectre of the insatiable government imposing taxes while the body is still warm.

The other replies that estates are subject to levies (e.g., the upcoming Paris Hilton tax) long after the deceased has been buried or cremated.

Welcome to yet another “Less Filling, Tastes Great” debate. If you are “pro-choice,” the implication is that others are “anti-choice.” If you are “pro-life,” then the obvious parallel is that others are “anti-life.” If you are “progressive,” then logic would dictate that those who dare to have another point of view are “regressive.”

Why can’t we all get along?

Strategic Incursion

Invasions are just so messy.

They conjure up images of Genghis Khan, Napoleon’s Grand Armee and Hitler’s Panzers.

Even worse are thoughts of rape, pillage and burn.

So why not have a little “strategic incursion” instead with some “boots on the ground?”

Recently, Iraq publicly complained about Turkish “incursions” into Kurdish areas within its borders. Are we talking about an invasion or are we referencing “strategic incursions?”

Almost DailyBrett will make the call: “Incursion” is a much nicer word than “Invasion.”

“A Little Bee Sting”

Catheters are just so wrong.catheter

They are inserted into very narrow openings.

They are supposed to just drop out or cause us to feel a little “discomfort.”

As opposed to blood-curdling pain?

At the risk of venturing into the territory of TMI: No one is ever going to insert another catheter at any time into any part of the corpus of the author of Almost DailyBrett.

“Discomfort” may indeed be the most terrifying euphemism in the English language, yep maybe ever worse than “Single Payer.”

Will a spoonful of sugar help the catheter come out in a most delightful way?

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/22/463976098/debate-sharpens-over-single-payer-health-care-but-what-is-it-exactly

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1bf80430-c03d-11e5-846f-79b0e3d20eaf.html#axzz3y5wjLuTx

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/framing-the-debate-estate-vs-death-tax/

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/09/11/baghdad-condemns-turkish-incursion-into-iraq.html

http://livingwithacatheter.com/catheter-pain/

http://movies.disney.com/mary-poppins

https://www.google.com/#q=euphemism

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-insurance/articles/2013/12/16/top-health-insurance-companies

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eifj45fgii/the-biggest-health-insur/

 

 

Glad we got that all cleared up.

Vielen Dank VW CEO Herr Matthias Müller (many thanks, Matthias).

We can now rest assured that Volkswagen is not a criminal brand.mueller

Richard Nixon told us he was not a crook.

And Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman.

What is it with chief executives and their repeated association with the permanent stigma of a negative declaration with super-charged adjectives?

Criminal? Crook? Sex?

These are notorious words that stand the test of time. They are ominous and eternal. And once they are uttered, there is simply no way to take them back.

And yet this mistake happens again and again to the best and the brightest.

Words That Make You Wince

“We are not a criminal brand or group. We haven’t been that. We have made a huge default, technical default, but there was no intention against customers or authorities.” – Volkswagen AG Vorsitzende Matthias Müllervolkswagan

As Almost DailyBrett can attest, PR folks certainly love our metaphors:

You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

You can un-ring the bell.

You can’t put the bullet back in the chamber.

And sometimes we are guilty of drinking our own bath water.

And now you can’t separate German auto designer/manufacturer, “Volkswagen,” with the extremely unfortunate phrase, “criminal brand.” Thought those two words apply to the Mafia and North Korea, not a car conglomerate (e.g., VW, Audi, Porsche …) long associated with legendary German engineering.

The VW PR team accompanying Müller to Detroit for his first exchange with American media since the company’s “defeat” emissions-standards software scandal broke had to be cringing when he uttered these infamous words.

Müller also said: “We didn’t lie,” another negative declaration attached to a super-charged word.

Hopefully, he did not beat his wife … Please don’t ask him that specific question.

Was he coached to not repeat loaded, supercharged words contained in reporter queries?

Was he told to respond always in a positive vain, and to never use incendiary words?

Remember: When it doubt, declare victory.

For example, how about the following for Volkswagen: “We are a firm that will always be dedicated to observing all rules and regulations. We will overly comply. We will cooperate with authorities.”

Here’s another answer: “We are sorry. We pledge to adhere to all environmental regulations and standards, including those passed by the United States, European Union and other governing bodies. It will be hard to regain public trust, but we are beginning our quest to do just that.”

Americans are a forgiving people. We will give those, who deserve it, a second chance … but only one second chance.

To be fair to Matthias Müller, this debacle is not of his doing. He was the head of Porsche, when his predecessor Martin Winterkorn was shown die Tur. The media, regulators and lawyers are circling like a pack of vultures, looking to pick apart the legendary Volkswagen brand.

There will be even more screaming headlines in the coming weeks and months for Volkswagen as recalls start, lawsuits are adjudicated and fines are levied. Volkswagen will most likely survive, but the unfortunate linkage to a “criminal brand” will ensue.

“This Is the Worst Disaster Since My Election” — Pat Brown

Former California Governor Pat Brown (Jerry’s dad) was touring the flooding of the Eel River near the Northern California coastline in 1965.

We all know what he was trying to say, but the words didn’t come out quite right … worst disaster since his election. Was the Eel River flooding the disaster or his election?pat-brown

In some respects the late-Pat Brown can be excused even though those words haunted him for the rest of his governorship and life.

Volkswagen’s Müller is more of an engineer, who made an eternal mistake, forever attaching “criminal brand” to VW. He deserves his share of blame, but the same applies to his undoubtedly well-compensated PR, marketing and reputation management teams.

These are words that should never have been spoken.

Alas, they will live in infamy.

.http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/10/volkswagen-detroit-auto-show-naias-matthias-mueller-emissions-scandal/78603744/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthias_M%C3%BCller_(businessman)

http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/TheStrategist/Articles/view/11344/1120/In_the_C_Suite_Scandals_at_VW_and_Takata_Highlight?spMailingID=12579553&spUserID=ODkxMDgzMDgwMTkS1&spJobID=663351066&spReportId=NjYzMzUxMDY2S0#.VpaMhPkrLIU

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/11/462682378/we-didnt-lie-volkswagen-ceo-says-of-emissions-scandal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Winterkorn

http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/content/en/investor_relations.html

http://articles.latimes.com/1994-01-19/news/mn-13310_1_human-suffering

 

 

 

 

 

“91,000 people. 33 exit gates. One sniper …” Promo for the 1976 film, “Two-Minute Warning”

Terrorism is not the only threat hovering over American society and sports, both college and professional.

There is also the realistic spectre that arises from the proliferation of guns in society … there are more firearms (about 357 million) in the United States than people (318.9 million). Combine an overly armed society with intoxicants, emotion and rage … to Almost DailyBrett it is only a matter of time before …

Your author doesn’t want to think the unthinkable, let alone give anyone any unpleasant ideas. Having said that, let’s ask the obvious: At some point, will an out-of-control fan be tempted to shoot a player, a coach or an umpire or referee on the field, on the court or on the ice?

To be honest, Almost DailyBrett has thought about this subject too many times, the latest just this past Saturday night during the disgraceful, out-of-control NFL Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six men were arrested for antics ranging from hitting a woman in the face to urinating on another woman. We all know it can be worse … much worse.arrestedcincyfans

The visiting Steelers pulled out a grinding-and-crushing 18-16 playoff win, aided by two horrific, late personal-foul penalties against the hometown Bengals. Would a male fan want to enter the under-the-influence of testosterone men’s room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium, wearing Pittsburgh black-and-yellow following the game?

Maybe, that biological imperative can wait?

Considering that fans indulge a wide variety of libations and substances of varying degrees of intoxicant properties for literally hours before the game (night games have to be the worst), the game end-results may be adverse, and guns are simply too many and too easy to acquire, is an opposing player, coach or fan taking his or her life into their hands by simply participating or attending the game?

And considering that virtually every game, regardless of the sport, is broadcast by some outlet (conventional or digital), the game venue would instantaneously turn into a televised crime scene. Would that instantaneous publicity (e.g., 15-minutes of fame) prompt copycat shootings at other stadiums and arenas?

Never thought it would get to this point, but we as a troubled society may already be there.

Are Metal Detectors Enough?

In the aftermath of September 11, the Paris attacks and the assault on a soft-target in San Bernardino, there will be heightened security for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California as there should be. The Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement as a whole will be on high alert on February 7.

But let’s not dismiss games without the same stakes.

Consider the Oregon vs. Eastern Washington game this past September. The set up was that Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams was playing against his former team. Even though the outcome of the game was decided in the fourth quarter, Adams was knocked out of the game by EWU linebacker, John Kreifels, with a vicious helmet-first targeting hit. Kreifels was ejected.kreifels

Heading back to the locker room, Kreifels taunted the fans at Autzen Stadium. As a season ticket holder for 26 years, Autzen fans are for the most part passionate, but well-behaved. But what would happen if one person … and it only takes one … out of nearly 60,000 fans takes matters into his own hands? There are no metal detectors at Autzen.  Alas, there was a gun and a shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg about 70 miles away.

Is this concern unreasonable?

Six seasons ago, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount popped taunting Boise State linebacker Byron Hout. When the Boise fans started to jeer Blount, the 6’0”, 247-lb running back started to charge the stands. Fortunately, Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost pulled Blount away from the fans. What if one of these fans had a firearm, a distinct possibility in Idaho? Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to think about it, but these thoughts just won’t go away.

Crisis Communications Is More Than Response

Jim Nance of CBS Sports labeled the atmosphere around the Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh game this past weekend as a “disgrace”, including the pelting with garbage of injured Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being carted into the locker room for treatment.

The NFL does have metal detectors at its games, but has the league and its teams (particularly their PR departments) given adequate consideration of the worst case scenario? Certainly, they have simulated terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but what about an inebriated fan with a firearm?

Have our professional leagues (i.e., NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, MLB) and our colleges (e.g., NCAA) ever given any consideration to asking fans … not just in agate print on the back of ticket stubs … but through public service announcements (PSAs) to not bring weapons to a stadium. They have no place in stadiums, arenas and ice rinks, particularly with children going to the games.

Sports public relations departments appear to be doing a decent job in combatting drinking and driving, especially before the trip back home after the game, but what about weapons?twominutewarning

We have seen a San Francisco Giants fan in a life-threatening coma after being attacked in the parking lot following the first-game of the 162-game season at Dodger Stadium. We may recall about a crazed Alabama fan poisoning the oak trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. And then there was Ron Artest (a.k.a. Metta World Peace) leading the Indiana Pacers into the stands in Detroit (“The Malice at the Palace”). And then there are the chardonnay-sipping Oakland Raider fans …

Before we can contemplate the terror of 91,000 fans, 33 exits and one sniper or deranged fan with a gun, sports public relations and marketing pros need to think more than just how to respond to this awful scenario, but how to prevent it in the first place.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/At-least-6-fans-arrested-Saturday-at-Paul-Brown-Stadium/37365086

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/14/baseballs-new-metal-detectors-wont-keep-you-safe-theyll-just-make-you-miss-a-few-innings/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/11/14/nfl-statement-on-stadium-security/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25295913/eastern-washington-suspends-player-for-cheap-shot-on-oregon-qb-vernon-adams

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2014/11/18/ten-years-later-brawl-prompted-change-nba/19256997/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/11/16/pistons-malice-palace-brawl-commissioner-artest-adam-silver/19138239/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Minute_Warning

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/05/guns-in-the-united-states-one-for-every-man-woman-and-child-and-then-some/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu3GzNDs74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

“Nothing good happens after midnight.” – Prominent parental admonition

This is a direct violation of the ‘Rule of Stupids’: Don’t do stupid things, in stupid places, at stupid times, around stupid people.” – ESPN football analyst Trevor Matich

Senior TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin expected to wake up this morning, ready to play his last college game of his star-studded career.boykin-arrest-mug

He was going to be licking his chops, ready to take on Oregon’s bend-and-sometimes-break defense.

After today’s Alamo Bowl, he was looking forward to taking the next lucrative step into the NFL.

Instead, there is no final college game.

There is no playing in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.

Instead of facing the Duck defense, he is staring at a third degree felony assault charge against a police officer, resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Make that public humiliation too.

More Than Violating Curfew

“Even if Boykin was not drinking, being in a bar with people who are drinking … that is a stupid place with stupid people at a stupid time, especially if you are the starting quarterback with NFL aspirations of a team playing in a massive bowl game.” – Trevor Matich

It may sound boring, but Almost DailyBrett contends there is simply something wonderful about putting your head on the pillow, dreaming about future football glory and NFL millions.

Alas, Boykin selfishly evaded his team’s curfew check with wide receiver teammate, Preston Miller, and headed out into the San Antonio nightlife less than 72 hours before the Alamo Bowl. patsanantonio

They ended up at Pat O’Brien’s, where drinks were served and punches were thrown. One of Boykin’s haymakers landed on one of San Antonio’s finest. Not only were Boykin and Miller suspended for today’s game, the starting quarterback spent part of the evening behind bars, needed $5,000 bail, and became the subject of nationwide news … yet another athlete in trouble with alcohol and the law.

Some may quickly conclude that Boykin enjoys the advantage of talent and youth; he has time to recover. And indeed he still has a future. The NFL will remain interested, but one has to ask how far will Boykin’s draft stock drop as a result of his less-than-rocket-science nocturnal wanderings?

NFL scouts have two primary roles: 1.) Identify talent; 2.) Provide warning signs to management. The Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning with the 1998 first pick; the San Diego Chargers next selected Ryan Leaf. HGH or no HGH, the Colts chose an NFL Hall of Famer (Manning); the Chargers opted for a convicted drug-and burglary felon (Leaf).

Character Matters

There is a reason why NFL teams have morality clauses in big time contracts.

For Boykin, his draft stock will inevitably drop maybe even a round or two or three … and with it will be the loss of guaranteed millions, talk about a very costly night on the town.manzielparty

There are very few of us who have the hardware to play big-time professional football, but there is also the question of software.

Notorious Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel certainly has the football hardware on the field, but his obvious character software issues have been the subject of repeated newspaper headlines.

In contrast, Oregon Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota has all the tools from a hardware (ability) and software (character).

Yes, character matters.

Boykin’s actions are not only less-than-smart, but self defeating.

Today will be a sad day for Trevone. Hopefully, he will learn a lesson about making right decisions.

Don’t violate the Rule of Stupids.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/14472105/tcu-quarterback-trevone-boykin-was-arrested-bar-fight

http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2015/12/tcu_quarterback_trevone_boykin.html#incart_big-photo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Matich

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2015/12/31/trevone-boykin-tcu-arrested-police-assault-resisting-arrest-charges/78122494/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevone_Boykin

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/14480405/everybody-makes-decisions

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24866849/former-nfl-qb-ryan-leaf-released-from-prison-after-two-years

https://www.patobriens.com/patobriens/sanantonio/

http://sportinlaw.com/2013/01/22/athletes-morality-clauses-and-social-media/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Manziel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Mariota

 

 

 

Ich bin ein Berliner.” – President John F. Kennedy address beside the Brandenburg Gate in 1963

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – President Ronald Reagan address in the shadow of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987

Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze Berlin.” – Soviet leader Nikita KhrushchevJFKberlin1

There is no place on earth that is more emblematic of the Cold War than the Brandenburg Gate in the geographic center of Berlin. For almost 30 years, absolutely no one could walk through its arches because of the ugly scar of the Berlin Wall (Die Mauer).

The author of Almost DailyBrett travelled to Germany’s capital nearly 20 years ago to walk through the Brandenburg Gate and to secure his piece of the wall (mein Stück der Mauer). Those mature enough remember exactly where they were when the magic word spread in 1989 that the Wall had come down and East Germany’s (a.k.a. German Democratic Republic) repressed citizens were now free and the end of the Cold War was near.brandenburggate

One of those citizens was the daughter of a Lutheran minister and a Ph.D in quantum chemistry, Angela Merkel. Today, she is the third-longest serving Chancellor of Germany and Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” The periodical described her as the “Chancellor of the Free World.”

As the most visible leader of not only Europe’s largest economy, Germany, and the European Union, even Merkel cannot avoid consternation.

One such controversy involved a young American Senator by the name of Barack Obama, running for president in the summer of 2008. His aides suggested a Kennedyesque/Reaganesque campaign speech beside the Brandenburg Gate.

Her response was nein. True to form of American politics, not everyone remembers the dispute that way.

A Little Bid “Odd”?

When Barack heard about this plan, he was incredulous. ‘You think we’re setting expectations a little high? Let’s find another spot.’” – Campaign manager David Axelrod recalling Barack Obama’s reaction to a proposed presidential campaign speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in his book, Believer

(German Chancellor Angela) Merkel has “little sympathy for the Brandenburg Gate being used for electioneering and has expressed her doubts about the idea.” – Merkel spokesman Thomas Steg in 2008.

Hmmm … the two above quotes contradict each other.

Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” cover story makes direct reference to Merkel’s government turning down the request of the Obama campaign to burnish the senator’s foreign policy credentials at the Brandenburg Gate on June 24, 2008. Die Kanzerlin believed the gate should be reserved for heads of state (e.g., Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Kohl …). Sitting members of Congress did not rise to that level.

In this image provided by Time Magazine, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is featured as Time's Person of the Year. The magazine praises her leadership on everything from Syrian refugees to the Greek debt crisis. (Time Magazine via AP)

In this image provided by Time Magazine, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is featured as Time’s Person of the Year. The magazine praises her leadership on everything from Syrian refugees to the Greek debt crisis. (Time Magazine via AP)

The German magazine, Der Spiegel, understood the reason why the Obama campaign wanted the Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop. Very few places project the healing of the East-West divide and speaking at das Brandenburger Tor would project foreign policy gravitas for the young senator. Alas, Merkel’s office found the Obama campaign request to be a tad, “odd.”

Despite this decision, Time concluded the relationship between Obama and Merkel has improved since that time. Having said that, Time’s revisiting this issue brings into question Axelrod’s contention that it was Obama … not Merkel … who made the decision to move the speech two kilometers west of the Brandenburg Gate to the other side of the Tiergarten where the Victory Column (Siegessäule) is located.

A legitimate question posed by Almost DailyBrett is why does this case of faulty memories or worse, revisionist history, matter nearly eight years later? The answer is we are heading into a presidential election year and with it comes the pressures to exaggerate, to amplify and to engage in revisionist history.

Age of Pinocchios

The Washington Post awards Pinocchios for those in public life who utter as Winston Churchill would say, “terminological inexactitudes.” Using that standard, Axelrod (Believer, page 292) may be accorded at least one Pinocchio for this description of how Obama … not Merkel … decided against a campaign speech at the Brandenburg Gate.obamaberlin

As those enthrusted to build and enhance brands, guard reputations and be ready to prevent and respond crisis communications situations, public relations professionals must be on guard for terminological inexactitudes (an euphemism for a direct lie).

Sometimes they start as small, little fibs. Let the young senator in your own mind choose the Victory Column instead of the Brandenburg Gate.

But what happens when fibs escalate into bold unsubstantiated claims of Mexico flooding this country with murderers and rapists? Where’s the beef?

What happens when one candidate charges that ISIS is using another candidate’s speeches for recruitment videos? Where are the videos? They exist of they do not exist.

As we move from the presidential campaign Silly Season, defined by subjective judgments by the political class, to the Serious Season when real voters with real results get into the mix, the pressure will be on to push the envelope in terms of personal credentials or worse, the opposition’s perceived missteps.

A little terminological inexactitude here and a little terminological inexactitude there, pretty soon you are talking about whole boat load of Pinocchios.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/brandenburg-gate-controversy-obama-reacts-to-debate-in-berlin-a-565080.html

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brandenburg-Gate

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/terminological-inexactitude

 

 

 

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” – attributed to Harry S. Truman

“Politics is a contact sport.” – GOP campaign consultant, Marry Matalinclintonbuddy

Almost DailyBrett cannot accurately forecast, who will become the 45th president of the United States. Can you?

Wasn’t the general election contest supposed to quickly boil down to Hillary and Jeb, representing two of America’s political royal families?

In some respects, it is easier to foretell who will not be president (i.e., Martin O’Malley, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum … ).

What is more certain in this volatile Silly Season is the undeniable fact the Serious Season will be upon us in about three weeks. The presents will soon be unwrapped, turkey and stuffing will be consumed, and bowl games will be played. It will then be time for serious presidential politics.

The days of subjective media/pundit scoring (e.g., colluding media tweeting each other to determine the conventional wisdom of who is winning and who is losing) will be replaced by actual electoral results from caucuses and primaries. Figure skating and boxing are both plagued by judges. Football, hockey and other sports have actual scoreboards. It will soon be time for voter verdicts, particularly how candidates fare compared with “expectations.”

Quantitative research samples are taken far more seriously in the Serious Season, particularly trends as they edge closer to-and-after actual caucuses and primaries. Debates mean more, much more … and a particularly ill-time gaffe (there is never a good time for foot-in-mouth disease) could be electorally fatal. GOTV(Get Out The Vote) means more than ever as – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina – are organization-intensive retail states than mass media in nature.

What does this all mean? The beginning of the Serious Season translates into meeting workers at factory gates, kibitzing at bowling allies, visiting lunch counters, attending PTA meetings, conducting town halls, when its frigid, icy and snowy outside (e.g., Iowa and New Hampshire).townhall

The caucus-goers (Iowa and Nevada) and primary voters (New Hampshire and South Carolina) are notoriously fickle, unpredictable and independent. How will they respond to Donald Trump and his billions and Hillary Clinton and her “inevitability”?

Here’s a hint: They are more inclined to root for David rather than Goliath.

Mother’s Milk Runs Dry?

“Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics” – former California Speaker Jesse Unruh

The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers serving as a California gubernatorial campaign press director way back in the legacy media Stone Age of 1982. The goal was to win the news cycle, simply defined as one news cycle per day.

Today, the news cycle can be 24-in-one-day or literally one per hour in this legacy/digital native media age. What that means is that you have to win the majority of news cycles, develop a sense of momentum on an hourly basis and repeatedly demonstrate your “Big Mo.”

Way back in the previous century, you could gather momentum and ride it to the governor’s office as we did in the last three weeks of both the primary and general elections 43 years ago. Today, a campaign public relations team can be pushed from offense to defense or vice-versa in the same one-hour news cycle. Instead of getting a dog when the going get’s tough, political PR pros should think in terms of acquiring alligators.

The media has transformed itself from mostly left-of-center big three networks, major pubs (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) and two wire services into a smorgasbord of legacy media, cable networks (e.g., MSNBC on the left, Fox News on the right) and an expanding array of news aggregators (e.g., Real Clear Politics, POLITICO, Daily Kos, Red State, Huffington Post). Interspersing themselves into the mix are the independent committees that will flood the airwaves and cyberspace with ads, some with dubious claims of accuracy.

It was once said that Great Britain maintained an empire in which the sun never set. For today’s political media pros, they never sleep. And if your candidate does not meet expectations in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the mother’s milk of politics will stop lactating.

How can a campaign finance integrated marketing communication programs (e.g., earned, paid and owned media) for eight caucuses and primaries at the end of February/March, if you can’t win in the beginning of February? Americans love winners and they want to jump onto band wagons. Using another metaphor, if a ship starts to sink (e.g., Jeb Bush’s campaign to date), high propensity voters and donors will quickly look for alternatives.

Who wants to throw good money after bad money? No one. If a candidate can’t win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, can that same candidate win in Nevada and/or South Carolina, let alone the myriad of states that follow in quick succession?

After losing Iowa in 2004, former Governor Howard Dean delivered the infamous, “I have a scream” speech:howarddean

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, (Senator) Tom Harkin we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York…. And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!”

Let’s give Governor Dean credit. He did go on to capture his home state of Vermont. Nonetheless, Jesse Unruh’s Law about the Mother’s Milk of Politics rang true. The lesson of the Serious Season is to skillfully manage expectations, win early and win often, otherwise someone else … maybe someone we don’t expect … will win the two respective party nominations.

Ready the ground (GOTV) and air wars (campaign ads). Light up the digital scoreboards. The Serious Season will soon be with us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6i-gYRAwM0

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-silly-season/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/debates/schedule/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-face-of-criticism-trump-surges-to-his-biggest-lead-over-the-gop-field/2015/12/14/b9555e30-a29c-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-howard-dean-18-02-2004/

 

 

 

 

 

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