Category: Conventional/Digital Media


From a public relations and mass communications standpoint, we need to leave the past — most of all recriminations — to the mass media. Let them focus on the fact that we again slept at dawn.

Hint: They were sleeping as well.

We need to envision and more importantly, credibly and practically project better times in the future. We need to balance our justified health concerns with our economic hopes.

Will we have a national resurrection by Easter Sunday, April 12? Maybe? Most likely, not?

If not, the media will happily tell us how our loving optimist-in-chief somehow failed in the face of continued darkness.

And yet his approval rating continues to rise, and his score for handling the corona virus reaches 60 percent thumbs up against 38 percent thumbs down.

As Teddy Roosevelt (pardon the paraphrase from heaven, POTUS #26) told us in his famous 1910 speech to the students at Paris’ Sorbonne, it’s not Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy who counts, or how the strong man or woman stumbles or how she or he could have done better.

The credit belongs to those who are in the arena.

We need more of those, who dare to suggest with credibility that yes life will get better. We are not eternally condemned to the boredom of our living rooms.

Some day we will standing in line for the barista, waiting for our beer or wine, actually ordering our food to a table in a restaurant … our hearts thumping with thousands of others, anticipating the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News “virtual town hall” event on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It takes courage to stand up in front of this wall of negativity and suggest that life may be better sooner … much sooner … as opposed to later.

It takes moxy to purchase shares of best-in-breed stocks (i.e., Apple, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA, McDonalds, Starbucks …) as the markets refuse for weeks to stretch two or more positive trading days in a row. Volatility will eventually be tamed, most likely not now.

It takes compassion to swipe our credit card at our local coffee place, order books online from our regional bookseller, call for take out at our favorite Italian place. With our economic freedom maintained, we can choose who and how much to support.

They have been there for us. Isn’t time for us to be there for them?

It’s so easy to hunker down and to shut down for the “common good.” It’s harder to dream again, and to express hope.

We Need Good News

“Hope is believing good will come, even in bad times. 

“Hope is knowing that this too shall pass.

“Hope is knowing no matter how afraid we are, our higher power will be with us.

“Hope is knowing that we never have to be alone again. It’s knowing that “Time Is On Our Side.’

“Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we didn’t have control in the first place.” — Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Almost DailyBrett believes there are more than a few, who have major problems with the United States and its world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP) at $21.99 trillion (prior to the impact of the Corona virus, COVID-19).

To them the USA needs to redistribute the pie, not expand it to offer more pieces for everyone.

The word “balance” seemingly does not exist in ivory towers on campuses, the deep state or in some media empires.

Until recently, climate change dominated. “How dare” anyone suggest thoughtful consideration of those who work and thrive in our world-best economy?

And now the little corona virus bugger has replaced the planet — at least for now — as the single most priority. Forget about producing products we use or compensating our employees. Allocating $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC is just so vital to beating this global epidemic.

As we debate looking for the positive versus being Gloomy Gus or Debbie Downer, we know two things for certain:

Teddy Roosevelt is forever enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.

No one will ever build statues to critics, including Negative Nancy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/id-love-to-have-it-open-by-easter-trump-hopeful-economy-will-be-revived-in-coming-weeks/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=19820067

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx

 

“Every individual counts. We are not condemned to accept the spread of this virus as an inevitable fact of life. We have the means to fight it. “ — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s televised address to the nation, March 18, 2020

Germany is not known for televised speeches by its heads of state. And yet no one questioned the extraordinary step taken this past Wednesday by the Vaterlands first-ever Kanzlerin for the past 15 years, Angela Merkel.

Reading her 12-minute text in both English and German and watching her calm, measured and impressive performance, she assured Germany it will prevail against the Coronvavirus (COVID-19). She made it clear the absolutely necessary practice of social isolation will eventually slow the spread of the virus, buying time for the country’s prominent healthcare infrastructure to finally get ahead of the global pandemic.

Having traveled to Germany three times — up to three weeks each time — in the last five years alone, Almost DailyBrett has not seen or read sorry expressions of misogyny against Merkel or any other woman office holder. Merkel is a strong moderate-conservative leader (e.g., Christian Democrat or CDU) performing well under pressure.

And to drive home this point … Germany’s Chancellor just happens to be a woman.

Looking 400-miles-plus to the west, there is another accomplished CDU moderate-conservative woman — confidently speaking German, French and English — serving as the president of the European Commissioner (EU), former German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen.

One of the most vital tasks she has undertaken is to reduce the up-to-30-kilometer (18.6 miles) traffic jams at national borders within the EU, essentially gridlocking the delivery of medical equipment to hospitals and clinics, and likewise people returning to their homes. These well-intentioned security tie-ups have been greatly reduced under Ursula’s leadership without compromising the ability of the EU’s 27 nation states to fight the highly contagious virus.

And let there be no mistake the leader of the European Central Bank (ECB) is also another measured and confident woman, France’s Christine Lagarde. She was nominated to head the European version of America’s Federal Reserve by France’s moderate-conservative President Emmanuel Macron.

To date, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt has directed €870 billion ($936 billion) in needed liquidity to European banks and businesses. The ECB’s stance under Lagarde is, whatever it takes.

Having reviewed the leadership from these three tremendous women leaders — Angela, Ursula and Christine — Almost DailyBrett totally rejects the oft-mentioned premise that Americans will never elect a woman as President of the United States?

Not This “Particular Woman”

“I want a woman president soon, but I don’t want this particular woman (e.g., Hillary Clinton). — University of Virginia Political Science Professor Larry Sabato reflecting on a frequent refrain from many women — young and old — on the 2016 campaign trail.

Whenever American political scientists and media pundits refer to the gender gap, it’s always a one-way street … how women vote as opposed to men. Using this hallowed measurement Hillary won the gender gap over Donald Trump, 54-41 percent in 2016.

Employing a non-gender gap standard, alas Hillary did not prevail among men, losing 52-41 percent … a sure sign of misogyny. Right?

Using ethnicity demographics Hillary actually lost the white women vote 52-43 percent, and was clobbered among white men, 62-31 percent. Was it misogyny in both cases or was it … do we dare imply … the performance of a sub-par candidate in 2016?

Shifting forward to the present presidential election cycle, Almost DailyBrett carefully noted that when U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-California) campaign imploded last fall … there were zero pundit cries about misogyny.

Likewise when Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar suspended her campaign earlier this month, no one seized upon this widely anticipated action to question whether a woman could ever be elected president of the United States.

And yet when another Democratic Senator, Elizabeth Warren finally called it quits after winning zero states and coming in third in her home state of Massachusetts, yes indeed … misogyny was without doubt the culprit.

Almost DailyBrett is scratching his follicly challenged skull trying to deduce the difference between the decisions of two Democratic U.S. senators on one hand (no misogyny), and the presidential campaign suspension of an anointed Democratic U.S. Senator on the other hand (misogyny).

Are Europeans just better human beings than Americans? After all, the Finns are the happiest on the planet (World Economic Forum).

Or could it be differences in political philosophy, moderate-conservative women in Europe vs. liberal-progressive women in America? One has a track record of winning, the other does not.

Maybe, just maybe … moderate-conservative political philosophy can usurp misogyny in America just as it does in Europe.

https://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/bkin-en/news/statement-chancellor-1732302

https://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/bkin-de/aktuelles/fernsehansprache-von-bundeskanzlerin-angela-merkel-1732134

https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response_en

https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/topnews/M-004595

https://www.ft.com/content/281d600c-69f8-11ea-a6ac-9122541af204

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/finland-is-the-world-s-happiest-country-again/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/are-europeans-better-than-us/

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940. And the (French) general calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be?’ “You got the greatest army in Europe.’ ‘How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'” — MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews analyzing the impact of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders overwhelming win of the Nevada Democratic Caucus

“Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the Third Reich, but here we are.” — Tweet from Sanders campaign spokesman, Mike Casca

Historical comparisons to Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust with today’s American politics are inevitably inaccurate and worse, they come across as trivializing the genocide against 6 million Jews.

The reaction to these clumsy analogies will always be sharp, misunderstood and hurtful, especially candidates who are indeed, Jewish (e.g., Bernie Sanders). Matthews responded correctly to the outcry and calls for his resignation by apologizing and saluting Sanders for his victory.

As a longtime political counselor and message developer, Almost DailyBrett will always advise when it comes to bringing up images of the Third Reich … don’t go there.

Agree, Chris Matthews?

Watching and re-watching the host of MSNBC’s Hardball  commentary about Bernie’s electoral surge with colleague, Brian Willams, Matthews inexplicably compared Sanders win in the Nevada Caucuses with Hitler’s Panzers conquering France in 1940.

Why … oh why … oh why.

Almost DailyBrett is a huge fan of Matthews’ 2013 book, “Tip and The Gipper, When Politics Worked,” a wonderful reminder of the 1980s when civility actually reigned in Washington, D.C. and divided government — Ronald Reagan as president and Tip O’Neill as the house speaker — actually produced compromises and meaningful legislation.

Even though Almost DailyBrett does not concur with Matthews’ philosophy or the politics espoused daily by MSNBC, he deserves a second chance. Matthews made a mistake. Who hasn’t?

It’s time to move on.

Social Media Concentration Camp/Holocaust Comparisons

Everyone left and right should stay away from Nazi analogies..” — Long time Washington Post, CNN, Fox News media commentator Howard Kurtz

Starting in 2015, your author noted repeated social media associations, comparing the worst man whoever walked the planet, Adolf Hitler, with Donald Trump. And now, memories of Nazi Blitzkrieg is being brought into the public arena in the context of … Bernie Sanders.

Wonder if any of these digital rocket scientists have ever read William L. Shirer’s Pulitizer Prize winning book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?” Doubt it.

Fast forward to today, Almost DailyBrett is doubting whether these social media historians actually know the difference between die Wehrmacht and die Bundeswehr.

The unfortunate images of cages at the U.S. border are not the same as Auschwitz. Please, don’t even try to make these inappropriate comparisons. These sorry references say more about the state of mind of the sender than it does the political target. Digital is eternal.

The revulsion against Adolf Hitler has actually increased with time, not receded. If you are going to make any type of comparison to Hitler, his Bunker cronies, Nazi Germany’s armed forces, please understand these references are becoming more — not less — radioactive with the passage of time.

Rightfully, Jewish organizations and those who lost ancestors to the Holocaust (e.g., Sanders’ family) will never equate today’s politics in a stable democracy with the hateful actions of the worst dictatorship in the history of the world.

After a lengthy summation of the impact of Bernie Sanders’ Nevada victory on the state of affairs of the Democratic Party, Matthews inexplicably weaved his reading about the 1940 Nazi conquest of France into the televised discussion.

Why his red lights in his own mind didn’t flash, putting the mental brakes on inserting Nazi Germany into the analysis, is a question that does not have a ready answer.

Instead, this unfortunate case should be a lesson to all of us.

Regardless of conventional or digital format, none of us should raise the specter of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Blitzkrieg and the images of the Holocaust into any and all discussions about American Politics.

Just say nein!

Verstehen Sie?

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/chris-matthews-bernie-sanders-022024087.html

https://nypost.com/2020/02/24/chris-matthews-apologizes-for-comparing-bernie-sanders-win-to-nazi-invasion-of-france/

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6135518724001#sp=show-clips

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/already-comparing-america-to-nazi-germany/

“I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi responding to a question whether she hates Donald Trump.

“If Nancy Pelosi fears images of her ripping up the speech, perhaps she shouldn’t have ripped up the speech.” — Tim Murtaugh of President Trump’s re-election campaign

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

As a public relations counselor and message developer for eight years in gubernatorial and campaign politics, Almost DailyBrett would have advised Speaker Nancy Pelosi to maintain her high-ground advantage once President Trump refused to shake her hand prior to the Feb. 4 State of the Union Address.

The stories would be about Donald Trump, essentially walking over his own speech.

Instead Nancy stooped even lower, petulantly tearing up Trump’s speech before the President of the United States had even left the dais. She knew her actions — ripping up page after page — would be captured by the television cameras and by excited members of her own caucus, but they also wiped out her moral and image advantage over Trump for the evening.

Didn’t Michelle Obama once say: “When they (Republicans) go low, we (Democrats) go high”?

Worse yet is the ammunition Madam Speaker provided to the videographers and Meme-sters of Trump’s campaign and sympathetic political action committees. It’s amazing what talented people can do with Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing or still frame software and a little time.

Sure enough a new video surfaced and was seen by 11 million+ with Trump’s gallery introductions of a black school child, a military wife being reunited with her stationed overseas husband, a surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen … inter-spiced with images of Nancy … tearing up the speech.

Predictably Nancy’s political team went bat excrement, but the political damage was already done. The sequence was obviously altered, and the rightness and wrongness can be argued.

Here’s the main point: Why give political opposition manna from heaven?

Wouldn’t tucking the speech away and simply claiming victory in the form of moral superiority be a better course of action for Speaker Pelosi?

Do Nancy and Donald Hate Each Other?

“Are you (Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff) suggesting the president didn’t make those remarks or the speaker didn’t rip the speech?” — Andy Stone of Facebook

“What planet are you living on? This is deceptively altered. Take it down.” — Drew Hammill, speaker’s deputy chief of staff

The speaker’s office demanded that Facebook and Twitter pull the manipulated video. So far the two social media leaders have stuck to their internal policies and allowed the video to run its course.

Predictably Trump’s campaign is celebrating a made-for-television commercials windfall, which literally dropped in their collective laps. It easily beats Madam Speaker mocking the president in an earlier State of the Union address.

Before taking issue with Speaker Pelosi’s public relations counselors, Almost DailyBrett must ask whether she would even listen to prudent advice?

The same question can be posed for those who attempt to manage communications for Donald Trump.

With the advantage of political hindsight and looking back two weeks, Trump should have shaken the speaker’s hand, and Nancy should have simply put the state-of-union speech back into the presidential envelope.

Donald Trump won the evening because he delivered one of the best speeches of his career with CBS News reporting a 76 percent viewer approval of his prose.

What is the most important public relations of all? Personal public relations.

In a race to the bottom with Trump declining to shake hands and Pelosi ripping up the State-of-the Union address, Madam Speaker finished in first place.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nancy-pelosi-trump-video-state-of-the-union-turning-point-usa/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/05/nancy-pelosi-lashes-out-at-reporter-who-asks-if-she-hates-trump.html

https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/429148-president-trumps-approval-rating-rises-after-state-of-the-union

“It (Trump acquittal celebration) was dark because he’s made clear that his mind is dark. This is somebody in deep psychological distress right now. Self-pitying, insecure, angry. He doesn’t accept abstract concepts like right or wrong, like morality or immorality, like true or false. He recognizes what is good for him in the moment.” — New CNN White House correspondent John Harwood

Right or wrong? Morality or immorality? True or false? Does this dispassionate interpretation say more about Donald Trump or John Harwood?

To his credit, Harwood earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics from a good school, Duke University. Alas, he did not earn a bachelor’s or better yet … an advanced degree in psychology (e.g., study of mind and behavior) or psychiatry (e.g., study of the treatment of mental illness).

With that undeniable information in mind, Almost DailyBrett must ask: On what basis is Harwood able to appear on elite national television and “diagnose” the president as being “in deep psychological distress?”

The day after President Trump’s oh-so-predictable-for-months easy acquittal by the U.S. Senate, POTUS #45 was last seen happily displaying the front page of the Washington Post, conjuring images of Harry Truman holding up the 1948 Chicago Tribune headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

No reporter, editor, anchor, correspondent ever questioned Truman’s psychological fitness, so why is it open season on the present incumbent?

“I have asked this question a number of times in (the media) describing the president’s state of mind, he’s angry, he’s unhinged and all of these negative attributes, prescribed by the arm-chair psychologists in the media.” — Long-time media analyst for the Washington Post, CNN and Fox News Howard Kurtz

As far as Almost DailyBrett knows, the only elite media commentator with any academic credentials to credibly analyze a public figure’s state of mind is the late Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer. He earned his M.D. in Psychiatry from Harvard University in 1975.

“Trump is right. It (elite liberal media) is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing, masquerading as news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

And they are self-anointed psychological and psychiatric analysts as well.

Never Took A Psychology Class In College

Almost DailyBrett holds two academic degrees, a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting journalism from the University of Southern California in 1978, and a master’s degree in communication and society from the University of Oregon in 2012.

Your author went on to become a political reporter, a gubernatorial press secretary, a semiconductor industry communicator and a university professor in public relations, corporate communications and investor relations. Having said all of that, there was never even one class in psychology or psychiatry, much less a degree in either subject.

Unlike Charles Krauthammer, we know Harwood does not have a degree in either of these subjects along with certainly dozens and dozens of elite media practitioners.

If that is indeed the case, why do they believe they are qualified to publicly diagnose — without violating the medical privacy HIPAA — psychological impairment of a certain offending politician?

And with this precedent established will they (reporters, correspondents) make similar mental fitness conclusions for others in the future, who are not part of the their political party?

Could this practice be based upon simple unbridled arrogance as well?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly analyzed the empirically demonstrated loss of public esteem for the elite media during the course of the last four decades-plus as demonstrated by the Gallup Organization.

Are elite media adding to the political division in our country?

With only 41 percent nationally approving of their performance (less than Trump’s approval rating), including only 36 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans, the answer is obvious.

And when a White House “correspondent” and other elites goes way beyond their pay grades and training to question the sanity of a “vulgar” and “vindictive” president, is there any wonder why the esteem of the media has taken such a nose dive in our center right country (e.g., median voter)?

You don’t need an advanced degree in psychology or psychiatry to understand why.

 

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/has-all-media-become-partisan-media/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/not-pretending-to-be-fair-anymore/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/has-all-media-become-partisan-media/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/is-msnbc-less-fair-than-cnn/

“Since my election, United States stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our Nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible — this, as other countries are not doing well.” — President Donald Trump, 2020 State of the Union

In our tribalized society, we are obsessed with dumping groups of people into buckets.

Even more to the point, we microanalyze targeted demographic groups (i.e.., women, men, black, white …).

We also record, register and analyze responses by psychographic groups (i.e., income, education, creed … ).

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask: Are we spending enough time considering America’s growing Investor Class?

“All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90, and even 100 percent.” And IRAs too, Mr. President.

Who are these people? Are they just the “filthy rich?” Are they just the 1 percent?

Or are they mommies and daddies, brides and grooms, anybody and everybody investing in their retirements, college tuition for their children, dream vacations or to start a new business?

In 1960, only four percent of all shares traded were directly tied to retirements. Today that retirement figure is 50 percent of all the stocks traded daily on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Almost DailyBrett will once again pose the question: Who are these people? And are we as a society giving them the love they deserve?

According to a 2019 Gallup quantitative survey of more than 1,000 Americans, 55 percent own individual stocks or stock-based mutual funds for their investment portfolios including retirement oriented IRAs and 401ks … and even the few who still have pensions.

Yes stock ownership took a hit during the 2007-2010 financial meltdown, but the trend has stabilized with the tailwinds of a record bull market.

No Fees Today, Tomorrow, Forever

“Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news.” — Paul Krugman of the New York Times upon Trump’s 2016 election

Guess America’s Armageddon was postponed.

Since November 2016, the NYSE has advanced from 18,332 to 29,290, up 59 percent, the NASDAQ has increased from 5,193 to 9,508, up 83 percent, and the S&P 500 from 2,139 to 3,334, up 52 percent.

And how are markets behaving now with a dovish Federal Reserve, Impeachment done, Brexit over, corporate earnings better than expected, robust consumer confidence, full employment and the American economy demonstrating its best performance in five decades?

Even though there always the risk of the Dow Jones Effect (e.g., what goes up at some point will come down), we are talking about a calculated risk … less so by the members of America’s Investor Class, who pay daily attention to the markets and more precisely their portfolios.

The major retail investment firms (i.e., Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Robinhood … ) have all waived their trading fees, making it even easier for investors of all income levels to participate.

And for investors concerned about the environment, society and corporate governance, there are specific ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) funds.

Publicly traded companies have learned they must not only be concerned about fiduciary responsibility, but corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well. It is more than driving the top-and-bottom lines and projecting a reasonable future expectations (Doing Well), but it’s also being genuinely mindful of a company’s caring for its employees, participating in communities and safeguarding the environment (Doing Good).

To top it off, America’s Investor Class is served by reasonable regulation of publicly traded companies by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which mandates fair disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), guarding against false advertising. And there is the Department of Justice, which prosecutes corporate crime (e.g., Enron bankruptcy).

And finally don’t these publicly traded companies make our products and services, employ millions and make our society more efficient? Apple puts a computer in our hands with its clever smart phones. Google is an instant encyclopedia of knowledge. Amazon is global shopping platform. Facebook allows us to keep track of friends and families.

If Something Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Are global markets, perfect? What is?

Are the NYSE and/or NASDAQ playing fields 100 percent level? What are?

Is America’s Investor Class thriving and directly driving our consumer-based service economy? You bet ya.

Then why are there those who want to punitively impose federal taxes on each and every stock and mutual fund trade (i.e., Bernie and Elizabeth)? Who are they trying to punish? The real answer are the mommies and daddies of America’s Investor Class.

Yes, many of these investors are part of the upper class, and even the lower upper. The honorable senators need to appreciate the composition of America’s investor class also includes the upper middle, the lower middle … and each and every person who engages in dollar-cost averaging or continuous investing in both bull and bear markets.

America’s Investor Class puts its discretionary income into the nation’s best-of-breed publicly traded companies to pursue their dreams of happy retirements, highly educated children and/or bucket list vacations.

They matter. They vote. And they deserve our support … not dissing from always angry members of America’s political class.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/266807/percentage-americans-owns-stock.aspx

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/04/state-union-read-text-president-donald-trumps-speech/4655363002/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/paul-krugman-the-economic-fallout

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

For a dwindling number of aging Baby Boomers, the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting to training camps next week is a harbinger of spring.

Everyone else knows better, particularly those with advanced interests: Football replaced baseball as the nation’s pastime decades ago.

Almost DailyBrett used to be a baseball fan, now he doesn’t care about the World Series, much less spring training and the interminable season that follows.

Many complain about income inequality. There is no part of US society that is more inequitable than … baseball.

Some celebrated Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” about General Manager Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics trying to compete in an unfair game.

Now the game is just unfair, and still boring and desultory. Where are the socialist justice warriors when you need them?

Everyone in Washington D.C. has been on pins and needles. Impeachment? No Stephen Strasburg’s salary.

The Nationals’ pitcher turned down the remainder of his $100 million over four years contract. The club ponied up $245 million for the next seven years.

Instead of $25 million per year to throw a baseball, Strasburg will receive $35 million per year to throw a baseball.

Best of all, he will stay in DC. Whew … that was close!

MLB Payrolls Bigger Than Entire Country Budgets?

Almost DailyBrett has never been a fan of socialism. Having said that, a reasonably controlled market (e.g., salary caps) has worked extremely well for NFL and NHL competition. In stunning contrast, the unfettered baseball free agent market has resulted in usually the same low-payroll teams being completely out of the running by June, virtually each-and-every year.

Let’s compare the budgets of sovereign countries in comparison to the baseball team payrolls for … 25 players.

Samoa in the South Pacific provides essential services for its 196,000 citizens with an annual budget of $233 billion. The New York Yankees put food on the table for its 25 studs with $217 million ($8.68 million per player).

Caribbean islands St. Kitts and Nevis serves its 55,345 residents with $233 billion. The sign-stealing cheating Houston Astros allocate $206 million for its 25 heroes ($8.24 million each).

Gambia in West Africa maintains a $230 million budget for its 2.10 million citizens. Conversely, the Boston Red Sox make do with $200 million for its family of 25 ($8.00 million per player).

The average salary for MLB’s 988 players, who mostly stand around for hours in the infield and outfield, is down two consecutive years. In 2019, the average was $4.051 million (1.1 percent less), 2018, $4.095 million, and 2017, $4.097 million.

Should we hold bake sales for these starving players?

Black and Gold Futility Beside the Monongahela

Considering that your author was born in Western Pennsylvania, he has a soft spot in his heart for the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, five World Series titles), the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, six Super Bowls) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL, five Stanley Cups).

Pittsburgh with its 301,000 residents and 2.36 million in the metropolitan area is considered a small-market sports city. The differentiator for the three teams is the Steelers and Penquins compete under the terms of respective NFL and NHL salary caps. The Pirates ($41 million, $1.64 per player average) fend for themselves in an unfair sport dominated by the most militant of unions (e.g., MLBPA) and greedy sports agents (e.g., Scott Boras for Stephen Strasburg).

Consider that the Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2017. The Steelers hoisted their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2009.

The We Are Family Pirates last won the World Series 40 years ago in 1979 (Carter was president). Since that time. the Pirates have been a non-factor because they simply cannot compete against the big market teams. Will 2020 be any different? Don’t think so.

For a Pirates fan, the obvious question comes immediately to mind: ‘Why bother with baseball?’ Why bother, indeed.

Some have suggested that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. What? Literally hundreds of humans past and present, alive and deceased have hit major league pitching.

How many can carry the ball from the five-yard line (red zone) in an NFL game? How many can hold LeBron to 40 points in an NBA game? How many can stop a Alexander Olevchkin slap shot in an NHL contest?

Let’s face it, baseball is an increasingly unfair and fraudulent (i.e., steroid kings, stolen signs) game, which at best represents America’s sporting past (i.e., Barry Bonds, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson). Traditionalists may still get their collective knickers in a twist in February, but the younger ask the more salient question:

When do college football training camps open?

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28320193/stephen-strasburg-returns-nationals-hopes-never-leaves

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28341983/average-mlb-salary-drops-second-straight-year

2020 Spring Training Reporting Dates

“That’s one of the reasons why Trump kind of wants you to watch CNN instead of MSNBC. Because he knows on MSNBC no one will be defending him … Because we don’t bring on liars. I don’t bring on a liar. I won’t do that.” — MSNBC “Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell on Al Franken’s January 12 podcast.

It’s one thing to pretend to be fair and objective, when in reality you’re not. It’s another to remove all doubt, and …. be happy about it.

O’Donnell may have already raised arrogance to an art form, but does he really have to be gleeful about MSNBC winning the race to the bottom when it comes to fairness or to be more precise, the lack of fairness?

“One third of their (CNN) payroll loves Trump. So you’re guaranteed on any hour of CNN to a minimum one-third of the programming supportive of Trump. Some people on their payroll saying, ‘Here’s why Trump’s right.'” — MSNBC’s O’Donnell on CNN programming

O’Donnell was lamenting that CNN actually has guests that are one-third (really?) sympathetic to Trump, and will actually present why the president is right. The representation of both sides of the story does not exist on his “Last Word” and conceivably other MSNBC programs.

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask:

Are we reaching a new low point when not only are cable networks partisan (i.e., MSNBC and CNN, liberal, Fox News, conservative), but these media outlets blacklist any and all other voices who do not pass a sacred litmus test?

It’s not just a case in which viewers are selecting their own “news,” but they are not even being offered any semblance of any other point of view as a comparison … at least not on MSNBC.

The intensification of pro-Democratic bias/anti-Trump content on MSNBC as a counter to pro-Republican/pro-Trump programming on Fox News is paying off in terms of ratings (e.g., eyeballs) and with them, advertising.

According to Nielsen, Fox News Channel (FNC) won 2019 with a nightly average viewership of 2.57 million. MSNBC is second with 1.80 million evening viewers. CNN is third with … 1 million prime time viewers. If the world already has one MSNBC, why does it need another.

Whattyathink, CNN?

When Arizona Republican Senator Martha McSally last week refused to answer a question from a CNN Capitol Hill reporter, calling him a “liberal hack,” the network anchors were shocked … yes absolutely shocked. Deep down inside they were oh-so-happy, but does that make CNN any more relevant as the third horse in a two-horse race?

What did former GE Chairman Jack Welch say about market share? You either want to be No. 1 (Fox) or No. 2 (MSNBC) … number three should be rethinking their programming focus (CNN).

No More Masquerades

“The media is so messed up. It’s disheartening to me. … CNN is biased to the left … They are indistinguishable from MSNBC.” — Megyn Kelly, former NBC and Fox News journalist

“As reporters, we masquerade as being objective. We masquerade as being neutral. We masquerade as being without bias. These things are not true, and they are unrealistic.” — Lara Logan, former CBS News correspondent

As a former cub reporter for two suburban dailies and as a public relations practitioner for three decades, Almost DailyBrett understands completely that reporters/editors/correspondents come to their respective jobs with a healthy degree of skepticism and preordained political views (e.g., overwhelmingly liberal).

The real question comes down to professionalism. Can a reporter/editor/correspondent/anchor keep their personal views out of their copy?

The best reporters can do that, but cable television in particular has literally 24 hours of programming to fill. Journalists are now charged with offering interpretation (e.g., The Commentariat) of the news. Does this duty inflate their own sense of worth, and lead to the absurdity of reporters interviewing … fellow reporters?

Are journalistic standards of professionalism, fairness and objectivity gone forever to the delight of advertisers and our two political parties?

As consumers of mass media, are we responsible for the news we receive?

The vast majority of us are obviously asking for media, which conforms to our political views. Are we surprised to learn that our nation is more divided than at any time since the Civil War?

Our polarized media is without doubt aiding and abetting our division.

Is there anyway to put the brakes to this ever spiraling journalistic race to the bottom?

https://deadline.com/2019/12/cable-ratings-2019-list-fox-news-total-viewers-espn-18-49-demo-120281

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/has-all-media-become-partisan-media/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/01/25/megyn_kelly_cnn_became_the_thing_trump_said_they_were_indistinguishable_from_msnbc.html

“Trump is right. It (elite liberal media) is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing, masquerading as news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

Will the New York Times send editor-columnist-reporter super delegates to the 49th quadrennial Democratic National Convention, July 13-16 in Milwaukee?

How many Washington Post editorial writers will be casting delegate votes for their party-proclaimed, next president of the United States?

We are not talking about covering the every four years convention held in the red state (e.g., Wisconsin), the Democrats overlooked to their own electoral peril four years ago. Instead, CNN and MSNBC talking heads will be actively cheering/campaigning for their party’s nominee on public airwaves.

Forget about dispassionate analysis. Does that practice exist any longer, let alone straight reporting?

How many readers and viewers have become wise to NBC’s Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, literally reading between the lines for the not-so-hidden political agenda? As your author has mentioned previously, they don’t even pretend to be fair any longer.

Some readers of this blog may immediately chastise Almost DailyBrett for not mentioning right-of-center, Fox News.

Isn’t Fox News partisan as well?

Doesn’t the obvious fact of 24-7-365 partisan media, support the premise of this blog that terrified news rooms made economic decisions to jettison objectivity and fairness to survive a digital onslaught, they were way too slow to recognize?

Eastman Kodak used to dominate the film photography market, and then digital imaging came along and the stodgy upstate New York company was too late to respond … way too late. The stock is mired in single digits, serving as a desultory money repository for brain-dead investors.

Billionaire Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga (1937-2018) was the talk of Wall Street in the late 1980s/early 1990s until … you guessed it … streaming video content (i.e., Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Disney … ) doomed his company. Today, there is precisely one Blockbuster with three employees in … Bend, Oregon.

The model of professional non-partisan objective media, which worked well for so-long, was personified by Walter Cronkite at CBS, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley at NBC, and Howard K. Smith at ABC.

Those days are gone, long gone.

Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)

Donald Trump is the newsroom gift from heaven that just keeps on giving.

He is without any conceivable doubt the president elite liberal media loves to hate. Richard Nixon and George W. Bush used to be tied for that distinction … no longer.

Donald Trump trailed Hillary Rodham Clinton big time in both paid media (e.g., political advertising) and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) in 2016 because he didn’t need it … massive earned media attention was more than enough to make up the difference.

Every outrage produced another coming unglued story, which in turn generated ever more attentive eyeballs and ears.

As a candidate and now as president every account, whether it contains a Trump hook or not, becomes a story about that man … Donald John Trump.

Iran shoots down a Boeing 737-800. You would think by the coverage that Trump actually pulled the trigger … Didn’t his actions and policies prompt the wreckage and loss of life?

Sure.

Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad’s crossed Barack Obama’s “red line” in the sand with poison gas against his own innocent citizens in 2016, and the media shrugged its collective shoulders.

Trump orders the 2020 drone assassination of Iran’s military leader, Qasem Soleimani, and the partisan media goes, Defcon 1.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives for a Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss transmitting the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst – RC2QFE9EVPID

Some may contend the shift to media partisanship (we are going way beyond editorial pages and commentary) and the death of objectivity and fairness is not a new story. Almost DailyBrett contends the intensity of media partisanship is off the rails and intensifying.

The media wants to pontificate, rant, rage and bloviate about the eventual downfall of Donald Trump. And when he is finally gone, what will they talk about?

Don’t worry. There will always be a Trumpian legacy to condemn for months, years, if not decades.

Schools of Partisan Journalism and Communication (SOPJC)

“And what are spies and politicians and journalists if not themselves selectors and manipulators of the truth for their own ends?” — British spy author John le Carre

In order to accommodate the shift to unbridled journalistic partisanship, university liberal journalism and mass communication schools (are there any other?) must amend their respective progressive curriculas to ensure that future “journalists” are equipped to lead the fight for socialist justice.

Can they psycho-analyze (without any psychology degree) those with offending political philosophies?

Can they filter information and factoids commensurate with partisan orthodoxy, and ignore anything and everything to the contrary?

Can they be absolute arbiters of the truth, however that term is previously defined?

Can they become warriors with note pads, cameras, recorders, boom mikes and smart phones?

Most of all can they advance the cause … the justice cause … without crossing the line into the dark side of advocacy public relations?

Have they have already meshed partisan journalism and political public relations into one and the same?

 

“Oregon is the new Usc on the West Coast … back in my day no one dared recruit So Cal. Now it’s open season and Oregon is hunting.” — National Letter of Intent Day Tweet by USC Heisman Trophy winning QB and now Fox Sports analyst, Matt Leinert

Presumably, these words were mighty difficult for Leinert to write, but the truth is … indeed the truth.

For Almost DailyBrett, Oregon signing Southern California’s best high school football player in 2018 (e.g., DE Kayvon Thibodeaux from Westlake Village) was simply amazing.

For the Ducks to achieve this same distinction two years running (e.g., OLB Justin Flowe from Upland) is beyond comprehension.

Some may contend that Oregon is somehow, someway lucky, and normalcy will eventually return with USC — presumably with a new coach — regaining its rightful place as The Program on the West Coast, if not the nation.

As a former head football manager at USC (BA in Broadcast Journalism) and a former assistant football manager at Oregon (MA in Communication and Society), your author knows a thing or two about these great universities and their football programs.

Your author’s initial observation as a former Baby Boomer Assistant Professor of Public Relations, teaching Millennials for five-years-plus is that tradition doesn’t really matter to Y-Gens born between 1980-2000, let alone the Z-Generation born after the centennial.

Leinert won his Heisman for USC in 2005. The recruits of today were entering kindergarten or first grade when he was hoisting the most famous stiff-arm.

Time flies.

One can argue whether Oregon’s latest five-star stud recruits — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Justin Flowe, Noah Sewell — are Millennials or Z-Gens.

Does it really matter?

What they care about most is what they are experiencing. Their inherited digital native world of social media, smart phones, bitmojis leads to insurmountable interest about what is cool now and better yet, in the future.

Oregon is going to the Rose Bowl … now. Oregon won the Pac-12 … now. Oregon produced the Outland Trophy winner (e.g. LT Penai Sewell) … now. Oregon generated the academic Heisman winner (e.g., Justin Herbert with a 4.01 GPA in science) … now.

Oregon was heading the wrong way just three years ago. Seems like an eternity. Oregon is cool today under the guidance of Coach Mario Cristobal, and most likely Oregon will be cool tomorrow.

The Future Is Now

“They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way they are going away from that mentality just to appease … These guys deserve to find out how good they are by playing against the best, so we’re going to continue doing that.” — Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal

Next year, Ohio State, Washington, Stanford, Arizona State … and yes, USC … are all making house calls to Autzen Stadium.

The Ducks held serve seven times at Autzen this past season. It will be extremely tough to run the table at home (let alone the road slate) at Autzen in 2020.

Bring it on.

Cristobal is 49-years-young; he looks about 35-years young. He is a former offensive lineman at the University of Miami. Buffed Cristobal appears as if he could play today. He understands beef on both sides of the ball. He is a player’s coach and obviously a masterful recruiter.

Is it any wonder that Oregon’s offensive line produced three All Americas this past season (Sewell, first team, Shane Lemieux, second team, Calvin Throckmorton, third team). Oregon is more than customary speed, the Ducks are bulk as well.

Another under evaluated factor on behalf of Oregon: The Ducks are more than a one-sport school … much more.

The men’s basketball team (e.g., Payton Pritchard) and the women’s basketball team (e.g., Sabrina Ionescu) are both ranked in the Top #10, competing for the respective national championships. The Track and Field program at Oregon is legendary with Hayward Field being upgraded for next year’s Olympic Trials.

And no one can contemplate Oregon these days without mention of billionaire alum Phil Knight and the world’s greatest athletic apparel company, Nike. Reportedly, Washington tried to coerce Nike into paying them more than Oregon. It took two nanoseconds for Nike to decline.

The Huskies are wearing Adidas gear today in the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon will be sporting Nike swooshes, Just Doing It in the Rose Bowl. Guess that must be the “Washington Way,” watching the Ducks in Pasadena on HDTV.

The Coolness of Pete Carroll

Almost DailyBrett can’t believe that Pete Carroll is 68-years-young, particularly with his always bubbling optimism and his infectious enthusiasm.

Your author will go out on a limb and proclaim no school will ever win the Pac-12 Conference seven years in succession, a feat the USC Trojans under Carroll achieved from 2002 thru 2008, including two national championships.

Alas, USC is no longer cool. Trojan Tradition matters to USC alums, but does it factor with 17-18-year young Z-Gens?

There is no doubt that Oregon is cool.

Can USC be cool again? Can USC be now again? Can USC project the future, again? Can USC lock up Southern California recruiting again?

Will USC ever change its uniforms? Will it put the players’ names on the back of their jerseys? Will the team always wear black shoes?

Alumni may care (too much). Millennials and Z-Gens want cool change.

Coaching matters. USC has not been the same since Carroll left (see Almost DailyBrett blogs on Lame Kiffin) for the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 season.

Oregon is not the only school, which sports Nike uniforms. The same is true for USC.

Is there another Pete Carroll out there, a special coach that can turn around a program in a single bound? Almost DailyBrett believes that USC will be in the market for just this kind of dude after the 2020 season.

It can be done. Just ask Mario Cristobal and Oregon.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2865862-mario-cristobal-says-oregon-wont-schedule-easier-games-in-pursuit-of-cfp-berth

USC loses out on five-star LB Justin Flowe to Oregon on Early Signing Day

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