Whatever you admit, acknowledge or concede, particularly in a supercharged political environment, will be published or broadcast 99 percent of the time.

“I am not a crook.” – Richard Nixon

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – Bill Clinton

“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law.” – Barack Obama

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Consider as Exhibit A the following passage from the Washington Post about President Barack Obama’s Thursday news conference on the troubled Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare):

The president was contrite, and his admissions were many — he conceded that he was left in the dark about aspects of the crowning achievement of his presidency, he acknowledged that he and his advisers underestimated how hard it would be to sell insurance over a Web site…”

In most cases the media … both digital and conventional … has the attention span of a gnat. Remember the government shutdown or the debt ceiling crisis? Ho-hum. That was yesterday’s news.

What is Miley Cyrus smoking onstage or not wearing today?

Having made this point, there are obvious exceptions and these all have legs (no pun intended). These are stories that the media latch onto and, similar to a Gila monster, will not let go until sundown.

Each and every exciting installment of Watergate defined and eventually ended the Nixon presidency in utter disgrace.

The Monicagate impeachment proceedings did not terminate the Clinton White House, but to this day the president’s extracurricular activities with his intern still comes front of mind when president #42 is discussed and assessed.

And now the “crowning achievement” of the Obama presidency is unraveling before our very eyes, and with it his approval rating. The media is more than happy to report as the president and Obamacare head downward-to-the-right.

In no way does Almost DailyBrett morally equate Watergate, Monica Lewinsky and Obamacare. Nonetheless each is a seminal story that defines a presidency and each has “legs” that the media feasted or feasts upon.

Former Vice President Spiro Nolo Contendere Agnew was absolutely the wrong messenger to deliver the infamous William Safire conceived line about the media: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.

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Even the president seems to agree when he lectured the media Thursday: “The things that go right, you guys aren’t going to write about.” (Guess that would apply to you gals as well.)

Let’s face it: the media thrives on train wrecks and plane crashes. Like a pack of hungry hyenas, the media has an insatiable appetite for what is known in the trade, good dirt. The words, pack mentality, apply directly to the media, who conceive and spread among themselves organic ideas about precisely what went wrong.

Most of all the media elites in particular are looking for telltale signs they are right. This is where admissions, acknowledgements and concessions come into play.

Certainly, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not admit or concede anything regarding Watergate or Monicagate respectively. However, each in his own way (Not a Crook, Nixon and That Woman, Clinton) acknowledged for the joyful media the elephant in the room of their respective debacles.

Obama with his football metaphor about fumbling the ball did admit, acknowledge and concede that virtually everything and anything has gone wrong with Obamacare, including failing to live up to the promise that people could keep their health insurance policies, if they wish too.

Americans historically are a forgiving people.

Some contend that it would have been better for Obama to come clean earlier about his oft-repeated promise that if you like your health insurance policy you can keep it is simply not true. Was he misled by his own administration or did he mislead? Neither is good. The media wants to know.

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From a public relations standpoint, the right counsel is to advise the chief executive to face reality, own up, be contrite and seek forgiveness. Most of all, what is the chief executive and her or his administration going to do about it?

The rub comes with a media that is always looking for signs of weakness, particularly after building up a reputation and brand, senses that proverbial blood is in the water. Presidents, governors, senators, chief executives etc. are generally reluctant to give the media satisfaction (e.g., Nixon in particular).

And when they do, these can become defining moments that have the potential to be eternally enshrined. That was true for Nixon and Clinton. That may or not be true for Obama.

Obama’s advantage is he still has time, but not unlimited time. He officially becomes a lame duck one year from now. Somehow, someway Obamacare needs to finally work for him.

If not, the media, the historians and the country will remember his Obamacare “fumble” and the day he admitted, acknowledged and conceded.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamato-to-announce-change-to-address-health-insurance-cancellations/2013/11/14/3be49d24-4d37-11e3-9890-a1e0997fb0c0_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-does-health-care-fumble-mean-game-over-for-obama/2013/11/15/77dc0b0a-4dfa-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101202677

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Safire

http://www.nolocontendere.org/historyofnolo.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/miley-cyrus-biggest-feminists-article-1.1517413

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