Category: Crisis Communications


How would you like to hold a thankless job in which your boss loathes the media, the media in turn hates your boss, and you’re stuck in between?

To top it off, the White House press secretary is never good enough to satisfy all of the internal and external critics. There is also one “critic,” who is the most equal of all and demonstrates all the signs of being insatiable.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer just did Sarah Huckabee Sanders and by extension the entire nation a huge favor. He quit.

Please don’t let the door hit you too hard on the backside, Sean. You were overmatched for the job from day one. The only one who is crying is Melissa McCarthy of SNL.

As a former press secretary, albeit for a mere state (California), the author of Almost DailyBrett understands the pressure associated with being a message developer and voice for the administration, simultaneously charged with the caring, comforting and nurturing of the Capital Press Corps.

One of the major surprises in your author’s three-decade career in public relations is the inconvenient fact the majority of communications practitioners – particularly at PR firms — never come in contact with a living, breathing reporter/editor/correspondent.

These august professionals may talk a great game, but they literally run for cover when it comes time for on-the-record, stakes-are-high dialogue. Gasp … they  actually may be quoted/misquoted.

Standing Behind the White House Media Podium

Still remember sitting in the White House media center watching Ronald Reagan’s deputy press secretary Larry Speakes conduct the morning briefing with elite media — Helen Thomas (UPI), Sam Donaldson (ABC), Lesley Stahl (CBS) and Chris Wallace (NBC) — all sitting in the first row.

Serving as press secretary for the nation’s chief executive with a target on his or her back is the pinnacle of public relations. You have to be offensive without being offensive. Humor is a huge plus. Institutional knowledge is vital. Most of all you must instinctively know when to punt (e.g., “I don’t know”), buy time, and come back with a winning answer, which separates the enduring press secretaries with those who hide in the bushes.

Presidential press secretaries used to be an old boys club: Pierre Salinger, Ron Ziegler, Jody Powell, Speakes, Marlin Fitzwater, George Stephanopoulos …

Huckabee Sanders is now the third woman to hold the title of White House Press Secretary, serving as a lead on message development and delivering the daily briefings to the carnivorous media. Dee Dee Myers (Clinton, 1993-1994) was the first, Dana Perino (W. Bush, 2007-2009) was the second, and now Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Perino in her open-advice-to-Sarah-Huckabee-Sanders column implored her to embrace and enjoy the job, actually being thankful for the opportunity to serve.

As a woman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, 34, has already been viciously attacked for her appearance by Daily Beast columnist Ira Madison III. Madison tweeted that Sanders was a “butch queen first in drags at the ball.” Madison the Third later retracted the tweet and apologized, but his misogynist and homophobic digs have already left their mark.

To her credit, Huckabee Sanders has not overreacted to this insult. She knows more of the same, if not worse are in the offing. Think of it this way: she seems to be a natural for the job. After all she is the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and the contact sport of politics is not new to her.

Huckabee Sanders also understands that more heavy lifting is required for a Republican press secretary than those holding the same job for a Democratic incumbent. The media tilts heavily to the left, and appears in most cases to be incapable of being fair and objective to President Trump.

Life is not fair. Translated; the magnified challenges of this awesome responsibility under fire on an uneven playing field also provide tremendous opportunities for Sarah to distinguish herself as a good/great press secretary.

If Huckabee Sanders can turn the temperature down even just a hair, introduce a greater sense of professionalism to the White House briefings (e.g., turn the cameras back on) while at the same time, serving as an impassioned advocate for her boss and the administration, she will have done a great service to the nation.

More power to you, Sarah.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/26/dana-perino-advice-for-sarah-huckabee-sanders-from-one-female-press-secretary-to-another.html

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

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

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/two-of-three-female-white-house-press-secretaries-worked-for-republican-presidents/article/2629496

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-long-can-the-trump-tumult-go-on-1501106914

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not exactly, Cogito, ergo sum.

In 1988, your Almost DailyBrett author had the privilege of spending a lovely Sunday Valentine’s Day lunch with Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

There was nothing romantic about our encounter. Dan was very interested in what was in my folder: a copy of the Democrat majority’s plan to conduct a Kangaroo Court hearing the following day to justify voting against former Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Long Beach) as state treasurer.

Each Democratic senator, one-after-another on the committee, was to serve as a “prosecutor” on an assigned issue (e.g., Lungren voting against reparation payments for families of Japanese WWII internees). Nobody who had successfully negotiated the riggers of second grade expected a fair-and-objective state Senate confirmation hearing. The memo made it clear the proceeding was indeed a “prosecution” in a stacked court case, meant to provide political cover for Democrats voting against Lungren.

And why was the majority so aligned against a mere member of Congress?

Five-term congressman Lungren was telegenic, articulate and represented an electoral threat to the Democrat majority in Sacramento. He was appointed to the state Treasurer position in 1987 by my boss, Governor George Deukmejian, after the passing of legendary former Speaker Jess “Big Daddy” Unruh.

Dan Walters naturally already had another column teed-up for Monday, February 15. Nonetheless, he instantly could appreciate how the publication of the infamous “Forsyth Letter” could result in collective knickers being in a twist at stormy state Senate confirmation hearing the following morning.

Almost DailyBrett compared the Forsyth letter – named after Senate Pro Tempore David Roberti’s press secretary and author, Robert T. Forsyth – to the Oklahoma Sooners game plan being published in the Lincoln Journal Star the morning of the big contest against Nebraska.

Walters’ piece was entitled, “A Game Plan for Democrats.”

Dan Lungren was outraged at the hearing, waving a copy of the Walters’ column at the Senate Democratic majority members on the panel. Lungren and by extension my boss, Governor Deukmejian, won the PR battle that day.

Alas, we were not ultimately successful. The Assembly confirmed Lungren. The Senate voted against Lungren. We did not prevail before the California Supreme Court on whether one house was sufficient for confirmation. Finis.

True to his battling form, Lungren recovered from the non-confirmation going forward to serve two terms as California’s attorney general, running for governor, and returning to Congress for another eight years. He is now lobbying on The Hill at 70-years young.

Number of People Knowing + Time = Leak

“If you don’t want to read about it in the Sacramento Bee, don’t put it down in writing.” – Often heard admonition in the State Capitol building

The Forsyth memo was prepared. Xerox machines started to hum. Copies were made. At least one of these game plans found its way to your author. Gasp, I leaked it to Dan Walters. The only stipulation: there would be no direct reference to me or my position in the Office of the Governor in his copy.

The column greeted Democrats the following day.

As the press secretary for Governor Deukmejian, my job in many cases was to deflect leaks targeting my boss and our administration. In this particular case, I was the leaker.

Every leak has a purpose. The practice is not new. And as long as the written word exists, particularly in digital form (e.g., leaked 2016 John Podesta campaign emails), leaking will remain intact until Armageddon.

As the New York Times defines the practice: “Generally, a leak is an intentional disclosure of secret information, often by an anonymous source whose goal is to make the information public.” Yep.

For example, the British provided a copy to President Woodrow Wilson of the secret 1917 (German foreign Minister Arthur) Zimmermann Telegram. The telegram was meant to entice Mexico to enter World War I on the side of Germany in exchange for U.S. territory. The subsequent publication of the telegram in March 1917, helped fuel the flames for the U.S. to declare war on Germany one month later.

Donald Trump has been known to fire off intemperate tweets condemning the widespread leaking in his administration, including one ironically posted on  Valentine’s Day 2017: “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”

His predecessor Barack Obama conducted a “war on leaks” and yet these unauthorized disclosures continue.

Let’s face it, Washington D.C has always leaked like a sieve and always will. Ditto for state Capitals (e.g., Sacramento) and highly covered publicly traded companies. Putting this genie back in the lantern is simply not going to happen, particularly in our Big Data world.

As an admitted leaker, the author of Almost DailyBrett has also been on the receiving end of unflattering leaks on more than one occasion. My advice to any political or business entity: Practice discipline. Remember: Good government/good business is indeed good politics/good business.

And to the leakers/aspiring leakers, there is a responsibility to always ask yourself whether you are hurting the country, you purport to love with your leaking?

If the answer is “yes,” the end does not justify the means. There are legitimate reasons for confidentiality particularly in our increasingly dangerous world.

Almost DailyBrett notes: Belated congratulations to Dan Walters for his 8,000 columns for the Sacramento Bee during the past 33 years, and 57 years in service as a journalist … Still miss Bobby Forsyth, one of the nicest and funniest guys I ever met. He passed away in 1999. May Bob continue to rest in peace.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-11-26/news/mn-24766_1_state-treasurer

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/

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

https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1988&country=1

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-24/news/mn-5908_1_senate-democrats-position

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-24/news/mn-5912_1_state-supreme-court

http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-7/descartes-i-think-therefore-i-am

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/business/media/are-leaks-illegal-explaining-history.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/obama-leaks-aggressive-nixon-report-prosecution

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/zimmermann

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/article154087854.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an upsetting event for all of us at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.” –PR Week’s “Communicator of the Year,” United CEO Oscar Munoz

Do you really think so, Oscar?

Last Sunday morning, United Continental Holdings, Inc., or more commonly known as United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) positioned its brand as a global airline with the tagline “The Friendly Skies” and backed by the music of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

By Sunday evening the airline’s brand was radically changed, maybe even permanently altered, by what happened on a commuter flight (United Express #3411) from Chicago’s horrible O’Hare Airport to the home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville.

Note that horses are treated better than United’s overbooked passengers, one in particular.

Almost DailyBrett has researched and written extensively about the loss of branding control. With social media and easy-to-use and outstanding-quality smart-phone cameras and recorders, everybody is a potential reporter, even one sitting in an aisle seat on United.

Just as BP is no longer seen as an oil and gas company, but rather one that caused the massive Deepwater Horizon “spill,” United is now linked to inexplicable violence against one of its own paying customers, whose only crime was wanting to fly home to treat his patients.

The inexcusable exercise of violence and brutality against a 69-year-old Vietnamese refugee, Dr. David Dao, including losing two front teeth, sustaining a concussion, and suffering a broken nose — all because he committed the cardinal sin of refusing to leave a seat he purchased on an overbooked flight to accommodate a United employee — is now a viral social and legacy media legend.

Most likely, this horror video could also be the topic of a heavily covered jury trial (United will try to avoid this scenario at all costs by attempting to settle out of court), and possibly a congressional investigation (United probably will have to respond to a subpoena). There is very little chance United could prevail before any jury regardless of venue.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly told students at Central Washington University that company, non-profit, agency, government, politician brands are now “traded” on social media and blogging exchanges every second of every day.

These brands can soar (e.g., Tesla and Elon Musk) on glowing reports (and company common stock usually moves in tandem). They can also plunge into binary code oblivion triggered by a game-changing incident (i.e., Chipotle and E. coli; Volkswagen and “defeat software”; Wells Fargo, phony accounts; Anthony Weiner and his tweeted wiener).

So far, United investors and employees have lost an estimated $1.5 billion in market capitalization on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). On the social media stock exchange, the company has lost even more as millions around the world are shocked and appalled by about 60 seconds of gratitous violence video.

In China as well as other countries in East Asia that serve as United destinations, the bloody treatment of Dr. Dao is seen as a racist act. Is United racist? The answer really doesn’t matter when the perception in the Asian community (and other ethnic communities) is that United perpetrated a racially motivated attack.

Does PR Week rescind Oscar Munoz’ “Communicator of the Year” Award just as the Heisman Trust recalled the famous statue from Reggie Bush? The call seems easy.

What’s Next For United?

“I think corporate America needs to understand that we all want to be treated in the same manner with the same respect and the same dignity that they would treat their own family members. If they do that, wouldn’t it be great? So, will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, probably.” — Attorney Thomas Demetrio

United knows as evidenced by the live coverage of today’s Chicago news conference by Dr. Dao’s lawyers on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business and others, this story has “legs.” Just as BP found that out every day the Deepwater Horizon well was leaking, United will also realize this public relations nightmare will endure for weeks and months.

So what should United’s PR team do in the interim?

  1. The “service” company needs to dramatically alter its way of doing business. Literally thousands upon thousands are justifiably angry at United and other carriers for their well-documented and long-endured arrogance and disregard for their customers, the passengers.
  2. United needs to forever foreswear the use of violence on its aircraft except in the rare circumstances in which a passenger is a threat to themselves or others.
  3. The days of “overbooked flights” need to come to an end. If someone buys a ticket to a football game that person is entitled to that seat on the 30-yard line. If a passenger buys a ticket for a plane that passenger is entitled to seat 9C.
  4. The airlines need to enshrine this simple notion as a new policy and champion it. If they don’t, one suspects that Congress will do exactly that. Don’t try to lobby against this change. Be a part of the solution.
  5. Be nice. United, American and Delta – the so-called legacy carriers – need to shed their well-earned image of being rude, arrogant, un-empathetic and uncaring. For once an attorney is right: We all deserve respect and dignity.
  6. The lawyers will have a field day, starting with the discovery process. Sell-side analysts will downgrade the stock. Congressional committees will beat up Oscar Munoz. For United’s PR team, this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.
  7. Time can heal. Keep in mind, United’s brand will never be the same and will literally take years to turn the corner. One suspects United will somehow move forward. A little humility and the willingness to admit wrong, to learn and become change agents on behalf of customers and not just the bottom line, may one day lead to a better tomorrow.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2017/04/12/united-ceo-oscar-munoz-the-rise-and-fall-of-a-communicator-of-the-year/?utm_term=.c0660d2cfa9b&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/loss-of-control-how-to-safeguard-reputations-and-brands-in-a-digital-world/

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/attorney-for-united-airlines-passenger-dao-says-there-will-probably-be-a-lawsuit.html

 

 

 

 

“I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A; California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.” — The Mamas, The Papas, 1966

Let’s embark on a little California dreamin.’

What if … California voted to secede from the union?

calexit

The state would inform Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. that all of its myriad of laws-and-regulations are now-and-forever “null-and-void.” Instead, the world’s sixth largest economy with a $2.42 trillion GDP would be going alone.

Welcome back: California Republic.

The precedent was set when South Carolina, an “S”-state, voted to secede from the union in 1860. Now California, another “S”-state as in “Sanctuary California,” could vote on Calexit next year.

Naturally, constitutional and historical scholars have a habit of getting in the way. They will point to the U.S. Constitution, which would need to be amended by a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress and then approval by three-quarters (38 out-of-50 or more) of state legislatures.

Besides, wasn’t a similar secession program settled at Appomattox Court House in 1865?

appomattox

Details, details, details.

If California votes to leave the union, couldn’t the state’s legion of fighting attorneys simply stipulate, pontificate and bloviate the Golden State is no longer part of the United States? The result would be that all federal laws … including the Constitution … are null, void, not biding and simply not applicable.

Finis. Endo Musico

The ball would then be thrown into Donald Trump’s court. Does he envision himself as the 21st Century comb-over Abraham Lincoln saving the union for the second time?

Would he be willing to go to war with California to save the union?

Trump is already implying a massive loss of funding to the state, if it dares declare itself a “sanctuary state,” defying to not notify federal authorities, when criminal aliens are apprehended.

Let’s say he follows through on his threat; the California Republic responds as suggested by former Speaker Willie Brown by withholding funds from Washington, D.C., and ultimately votes to secede from the union.

What comes next?

The California Republic

“California could very well become an organized non-payer.” – Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown 

As a former press secretary of the Governor of California (George Deukmejian, 1983-1991), the author of Almost DailyBrett must ask: What would characterize a stand-alone, California Republic?

  1. California would be at least the world’s third-independent, one-party C-state opposing the wishes of the United States of America: California, China, Cuba. Republicans and members of similar subversive political parties would be subject to “extreme vetting” before receiving visas to enter sanctuary California.
  2. California’s highest 13.3 percent income tax rate would be combined with the present federal top income tax rate of 39.6 percent for a total marginal rate of 52.9 percent, all heading to the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento. Those making less than $60,000 per year (e.g., California definition of wealth) would pay a lower rate on a sliding progressive scale. Each of the state’s 58 counties would be mandated to impose a minimum sales tax rate of 10 percent.

Meg-lev trains are expensive.

  1. Consistent with the California Sanctuary State … err Sanctuary Republic status, there would be no reason for a southern border, let alone a northern border with Oregon or an eastern border with Nevada and Arizona. Anyone could come and go as they please. The words, “contraband,” “illegal” and “undocumented” would be eliminated from the republic’s dictionaries.
  2. In order to avoid any and all unpleasantness with other nations (e.g., USA), California would establish a Department of Peace. The department would then oversee the republic’s Peace Army, Peace Navy, Peace Air Force, Peace Marines and Peace Coast Guard. Peace weapons would never be loaded, let alone fired.
  3. To stop real crime, the republic would establish a Department of Corporate Prosecution taking dead legal aim at those who buy low and sell high, employ tens of thousands, and make the products we need and use on a daily basis. These deep-pocket achievers deserve their just desserts before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  4. California’s golden poppy would be replaced by cannabis as the republic’s official flower. These dynamic “flowers” can be used for ornamental, medicinal and recreation purposes. Sorry golden poppy your days in the sun are done. The same is true for childhood immunizations.
  5. The republic’s colleges and universities will replace annoying grading, testing and reading with everyone receiving the highest grade possible. The state would be flooded with 4.0 GPAs. Faculty would be instructed to provide trigger warnings, guarantee safe spaces, and excuse students subjected to opposing points of view.
  6. Hollywierd would dictate California’s culture and would serve as the republic’s propaganda ministry, ultimately controlling all legacy and digital media connections within the republic’s boundaries and beyond. There would be no need for a TMZ.
  7. California would impose strict mortgage and rent controls statewide insuring that no fixer-up bungalow in San Jose could exceed $1.6 million with an outlay of $1,000 per month in property taxes. Glad we got that settled.
  8. And finally all California commuters would be required to use electric, solar, wind or biomass transportation for their five-mile trips that take 45-minutes or more.

Is all of the above, California Dreamin?

“We’re cracking some eggs here, and some of it is going to be messy.” – Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia)

“Be quick – but don’t hurry.” – Legendary Coach John Wooden

It was the worst of times; it was the best of times.

Take one administration and two crucial announcements (i.e., January 27 Muslim travel ban; February 1 Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch East Room nomination ceremony), and then scratch your head about how the first one was botched up beyond any recognition, and how well the second was expertly choreographed.airportdemo

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly counsels the first was thrown out naked late on a Friday afternoon, the prescribed day to bury bad news. No one knew who was on first at the Trump White House … let alone second or third.

Seven countries were selected for “extreme vetting.” Why these nations (e.g., Somalia, Yemen, Iran …) and not others (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan …)? Why folks from these seven with green cards? How about a briefing from senior administration officials?

And you wonder why so many showed up at airports to demonstrate, bloviate and pontificate?

President Donald Trump told Bill O’Reilly on his Sunday pre-Super Bowl interview the announcement went well. Using that standard, Stalingrad was perfectly executed as well until the Russians surrounded Germany’s Sixth Army.

Four days later, Trump presented Appellate Justice Gorsuch to the nation in a prime-time nomination. Gorsuch came from the list of 10 potential Supreme Court justices rolled out in the campaign. He is relatively young at 49, telegenic, articulate, went to the right schools (i.e., Columbia, Harvard, Oxford) and has a record as a strict constructionist.gorsuch

Good announcement by Trump/Gorsuch, which makes the appellate court justice a prohibitive favorite to be confirmed by the Republican Senate.

Timing and Packaging Are Everything

Let’s face it, not every announcement deserves an East Room ceremony or a news conference. Some can be handled just fine with a news release, but with well-coached resources to brief editors, reporters, correspondents about the perceived wisdom behind them.

If you issue an executive order (e.g., Muslim countries extreme vetting) late Friday afternoon, the media is justifiably suspicious. Why? Friday afternoon announcements play on that evening’s news and continue into Saturday – it’s the weekend.

Even though the immediacy and widespread nature of digital technology has changed the world, Saturday is still Saturday. The day-after-Thanksgiving Friday is particularly juicy for dumping the dead dog on the doorstep.trainwreck

The words “train wreck,” “debacle,” “fiasco,” “disaster,” “FUBAR,” etc. all apply to the way this controversial announcement was made. Was the Trump administration trying to hide this executive order on a Friday afternoon? Maybe. Maybe not. There is little doubt this is a textbook case of a frenetic administration being in too much of a hurry.

If the Neil Gorsuch nomination was handled the same way (e.g., late Friday afternoon announcement with no briefings), the immediate reaction would be even more intense. The nomination, which is anything but a slam dunk even in a GOP controlled Senate, would be off to a rocky rather than a smooth start.

Instead, the announcement was made on a Tuesday night in prime time. It had all the trappings of the White House. Trump made the introduction and Gorsuch delivered a reasoned overview of his judicial philosophy – a good judge doesn’t like the result of all of his/her rulings – immediately making life difficult for his political enemies.

All of this assessment brings Almost DailyBrett to the key question: Are any lessons going to be learned by the Trumpians from these two major announcements separated by only 96 hours?

Can you teach a 71-year-old dog new tricks?

And if so, will the 3 a.m. habitual tweeter listen to sound public relations advice?

Is the Trump administration going to learn from the Gorsuch rollout, and impose a discipline that requires doing less in order to do better?

Or are the major actions/announcements of this administration going to be a hit/miss proposition? And if there are too many misses, will Trump be seen in history as a totally undisciplined, inept chief executive – the Martin Van Buren of his time?

Do you think Trump cares about legacy? Seems like a silly question.

Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary, dismisses early polling by saying the public will make their ultimate judgment about the actions of the administration.

If there are more extreme vetting rollouts and less Neil Gorsuch nomination ceremonies, the popular verdict seems  obvious.

http://www.rove.com/article/2-2-17-WSJ?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=KR%20Weekly%202217&utm_content=KR%20Weekly%202217+CID_6a70bdf69d24718680bee348a4b81c66&utm_source=Weekly%20Email&utm_term=Amateur%20Ho

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-first-week-leaves-washington-and-the-white-house-staffpanting-1486163284

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions

 

 

“One hundred and forty characters are suitable to expressing an impulse, but not an argument. It is the rhetorical equivalent of a groan, a shriek, a sneer or a burp. If reason and persuasion are what our politics lacks and needs, Twitter is not the answer.” — Nationally Syndicated Columnist Michael Gerson

At 71-years young, Donald John Trump is the oldest to take the presidential oath of office.

One would suspect a man of his age would be next-to-clueless about social media/digital technology — (remember out-of-touch George H.W. Bush and his amazement about the supermarket scanner?) — but one would be wrong.trump-twitter

Just as FDR used the radio-and-its-widespread-network for his fireside chats; Ronald Reagan five decades later repeatedly went before the cameras to go directly to the people and bypass Congress. Why should we be surprised that Trump is using Twitter to go around the media?

Agenda Setting Theory means that elite media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, ABC, CBS, NBC) pose the topics for the grateful masses to think about. Trump’s Twitter posts are usurping this cherished interpretive media role, and the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate are not amused.

Have the Nixon days of the “nattering nabobs of negativism” returned with a daily war being waged between the elite media and the White House? Is the media appalled or secretly thrilled to have such an adversary to bring crashing to the earth?spicer

Sean Spicer is the present press secretary for the 45th chief executive. How long will he hold this job? Obama had three press secretaries (i.e., Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Josh Earnest) during the span of eight years. Almost DailyBrett will take the over on the question of whether this president will have three-or-more press secretaries.

One of the daily problems facing Spicer is pleasing his insatiable boss, while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the piranha covering the White House. Serving as press secretary may ultimately be rewarding in the form of a best-selling, tell-all book, but for now it is most likely the supreme thankless job on the planet.

Digital Is Eternal

“Are you insinuating that I am a purveyor of terminological inexactitudes?” – Winston Churchill

As California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary (1987-1989), the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about whereabouts his my boss (e.g., the governor went home to Gloria, the kids and the beagles). Your author was never concerned about what he was going to say in response to media questions (e.g., The Duke’s political judgment was superb/his message consistency was outstanding), and what he did at night … presumably he slept soundly.

Spicer and the Trump communication team always need to worry about political judgment/discipline, and particularly what the energizer-bunny president is doing at 3 am … namely his love affair with Twitter’s 140-characters.trumptwitterhillary

Are the Trump communicators tempted to program their smart phones to send S-O-S signals every time the boss fires off another tweet? Heck, sleep is way overrated anyway. Think of it this way, when a POTUS tweet is sent from God’s time zone (EST), it is already 8 am in London, 9 am in Berlin and 11 am in Moscow.

For the media on presidential “death watch” (those who must stay up in the White House briefing room as the president ostensibly sleeps), they now have something to do: Monitor the POTUS Twitter account.

Is there any way to mitigate and moderate what The Donald decides to tweet, save being in the president’s living quarters at 3 am (EST)? Would he listen to his communication pros anyway? The hardest part of the job for Trump’s  press secretary may be responding to wire service calls at all hours of the morning to add color to a tweet that he saw at the same time as the reporters.

Some of the 140-missives may make perfect sense and will be consistent with the policies and the programs of the administration. Others … well, they could be about almost anything including inaugural crowd sizes or “alternative facts.”

Considering the government’s record of telling the truth has been less than stellar over the decades (e.g., LBJ’s “Credibility Gap” during Vietnam, Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and Jody Powell’s “Right to Lie” during the Iran hostage crisis), are we surprised an administration is resorting to terminological inexactitudes?

What is breathtaking is the number in the first week alone, but more noticeable is the speed, namely through 140-characters or less Twitter.

How many tweets will POTUS fire off its cyberspace in four years or maybe eight years? Will there be any political-and-editorial discipline imposed?

Don’t count on it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-a-tweeting-president-is-so-bad-for-our-politics/2017/01/26/9a6892a8-e3f0-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.06b7a51ec1ce&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/presidenc1/tp/List-Of-Obama-Press-Secretaries.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33875.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/the-other-side-of-the-story/

 

 

 

 

Leave it to Lane Kiffin to be fired from a job (Alabama offensive coordinator) that he already quit.

That’s Lame … Kiffin.kiffinsaban

As a result, Kiffin won’t be on the sideline tomorrow for the biggest college football game in America as the Crimson Tide defends its national title in a rematch with Clemson in the “Natty.” His failed USC successor Steve “Moonshine” Sarkisian will be calling the plays for Alabama.

Who will ESECPN’s Kirk Herbstreit gush about for three-plus hours without Kiffin huddling behind his little laminated card? If you took a gulp of beer every time Herbstreit heaped fawning praise on Kiffin during last year’s Natty, you would have been smashed by the second quarter.

It seems as if a little dark rain cloud follows Lane’s every step of his rocky career. With Kiffin, there is an abundance of football talent, and yet a gaping deficit in personal public relations.firelanekiffin

Consider that Kiffin was shown the door by the Oakland Raiders, publicly called a liar by the late Al Davis. He skipped out on the Tennessee Volunteers after one season, leaving the school, team and coach staff in the lurch. He was fired in the LAX parking lot at 2:30 am by then-USC Athletic Director Pat Haden when too much became too much.

And now by “mutual” consent with legendary Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, Kiffin will not be the offensive coordinator for the best team in the land in the biggest game of the year.

If you are keeping score at home, here are the raw numbers for Kiffin’s another-chance-after-another-chance career: Oakland, 5-15; Tennessee, 7-6; USC, 28-15 for a grand total of 40 wins and 36 losses. Give Kiffin credit: He has turned mediocrity into a lucrative (read millions) art form.

And now he is the incoming head coach of the … (drum roll) … Florida Atlantic University Owls (2016: 3-9) of Conference USA. You have to wonder if the administration at FAU is so desperate that it would reach out to such a tarnished commodity behind a laminated clipboard. How long will it take before Kiffin embarrasses FAU? Three years? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

The above question implies that Kiffin will actually spend three years at FAU. Considering Kiffin’s track record, three years is most likely a stretch.kiffinbillboard

How does Lane Kiffin keeping failing only to be given new life time-and-time again? It’s akin to giving Anthony Weiner access to Twitter once again. The result is not going to be pretty.

It would be hard for Almost DailyBrett to make up all of these transgressions: Airport parking lot termination, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, departed team buses, jersey changing incidents, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, the sun glasses, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.kiffinshades

When the Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban hired Kiffin as his offensive coordinator three years ago, didn’t you know the Great State of Alabama was not big enough to hold both of their legendary egos and related arrogance at the same time?

The public explanation for Kiffin’s latest dismissal is that he was not devoting the time and effort necessary for a team preparing for the Natty. Kiffin was also hiring his FAU staff and recruiting players for the Boca Raton-based school.kiffinhoodie

Something tells Almost DailyBrett that Kiffin was garnering way too much attention (i.e., Herbstreit on ESECPN, Gary Danielson on CBS) and taking too much credit away from Saban. If Alabama wins Monday, he will tie the immortal Paul “Bear” Bryant with a record six national championships.

Somebody needed to go, and it was the one who was already going.

What’s curious is after one former failed USC coach being dismissed as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Saban is now relaying on another former failed USC coach.

If Steve Sarkisian learned anything from the legendary mistakes of Lane Kiffin, it’s good to humble and to allow the boss to receive the lion’s share of the Crimson Tide glory.

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/kiffin_is_as_kiffin_does.html

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-just-cant-stop-sabotaging-010217

http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/01/02/

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-florida-atlantic-fau-alabama-salary-contract-head-coach-hired-where-is-roster-recruiting-121216

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

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2017/01/02/lane-kiffin-abruptly-out-alabamas-oc-steve-sarkisian-take-over/96081884/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/media-vultures-circling-over-kiffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

 

“ … You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘Basket of Deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” – Hillary Clinton, Speaking at a Democratic-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 9, 2016hillarydeplorables

“ … There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it … And so my job is not to worry about those people.” – Mitt Romney, Speaking at a Republican-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 18, 2012

A gaffe is a gaffe is a gaffe … You name it! … Uttered by two electoral losers and separated by four years, plus a week or two.

It is never a good idea to insult literally millions of potential voters with a series of unfortunate and intemperate fighting words. So why engage in name calling just because the immediate audience is friendly and having a great time at the expense of others?

As Nancy Reagan would say: “Just say no.”

In our digital age, the microphones are more sensitive and effective than ever. The tiny cameras and video recorders are disguised as smart phones, and they’re first rate. They are always ‘on,’ which means the candidates too must be always ‘on.’

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly and consistently counseled that it is always wise to be offensive without being offensive. Advance and advocate your point of view, but always be respectful of all voters. They are more than mere demographics to be hunted down with search engines guided by algorithms.

There are many shaking their heads and washing their hands wondering why Hillary Clinton is not forming an administration today. The same was true, questioning why Mitt Romney was not preparing his inaugural address four years ago.romney47

The simple answer is both were seriously flawed candidates, who twice embarked upon a presidential campaign odyssey (Hillary, 2008 and 2016; Mitt, 2008 and 2012) and came up short.

Breaking the Blue Wall

“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard-working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” – President-elect Donald Trump Tweet about Hillary’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ comment

There were so many political experts who wondered out loud for weeks whether The Donald had a realistic Electoral College road-map to the Presidency. They used Poker analogies to suggest that Trump had to run an unlikely, inside-straight to win.

Pundit thinking and conventional wisdom revolved around the conjecture that all of the Barack Obama states from 2008 and 2012 were safely tucked away behind the Blue (State) Wall (e.g., Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa).bluewall

As it turned out, Trump did not have a perfect poker hand as he lost Virginia and Colorado, but did manage to hold Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. The real damage occurred as die blaue Mauer crumbled, overturning the Keystone, Wolverine, Dairy and Hawkeye States and their collective 52 electoral votes and placing them into Trump’s red column.

As the ballots are still being counted, Trump won more than 60 million votes. How many of these people were offended about being pigeonholed as racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic Deplorables? The fundraising audience laughed at her description and answered affirmatively to Hillary’s question, “Right?”

To be fair, Almost DailyBrett must point out that Hillary subsequently apologized for this unfortunate stereotype, but the toothpaste was already out of the tube, the bell had already been wrung, the bullet was already out of the chamber …

Was the ‘Deplorables’ remark the only reason that Hillary lost the presidency to a seriously flawed alternative? The answer is obviously negative, and all of the post-mortems will point to a litany of reasons, some valid, some not.

This blog on several occasions (e.g., Outrageous Al Smith Memorial Dinner remarks) scored Trump for time-after-time failing to demonstrate political discipline.

As it turns out he was not the only one, who strayed off script and may have caused a wall to crumble and for a new era to begin.

One must wonder whether Hillary is waking up in the middle of the night and thinking: ‘What could have been …?’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/09/clinton-half-of-trumps-supporters-fit-in-basket-of-deplorables/

https://newrepublic.com/article/138615/deplorables-got-last-laugh

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video

 

 

Never thought the author of Almost DailyBrett would ever see the day.

Guess there is a first time for everything.

Yes I did it. I wrote-in my choice for President of the United States: Speaker Paul Ryan.

Today, I submitted my ballot. The deed is done.ballot

Some may contend that I threw my vote away.

Some may warn that my write-in vote will not be counted.

Some may scold that I helped put a Clinton back in the White House.

Personally, I have to live with myself.

Voting for big-legalized drugs/Snowden-pardon supporter Gary Johnson is a non-starter.

Jill Stein? Please.

Back in the 1990s, I never voted for a Clinton for president. There is zero chance I would do that now.

The prospect of putting the country’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of the most politically undisciplined party nominee in the history of the Republic (understatement), Donald Trump, is a bet I am not willing to make.

To little ole me, not voting is irresponsible and quite frankly, not an option.

By writing this blog post I am not seeking a medal or some kind of accolade, but sharing my personal journey as I contemplated for weeks and months literally the worst presidential choice ever … and the polls bear out this point.120811014459-romney-ryan-vp-2-horizontal-gallery

My reasoning: I voted for Paul Ryan to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president four years ago. I am very comfortable with the prospect of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the White House.

The Shining City on the Hill

“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will report that I appeal to your best hopes not your worst fears … “—Former President Ronald Reagan, 1992

Even though Almost DailyBrett for seven-plus years attempted to be as even-handed as it can be and avoid partisan screed, your author is mortal and has a definitive political view.

Politically, I cut my teeth covering as a 20-something reporter the 1978 Proposition 13 tax revolt in California. Because of crippling 15-18 percent annual inflation and related-skyrocketing property tax bills, people were being asked to choose between their homes and essential services. They chose their residences.

Four years later, I served as the press director for the (George) Deukmejian Campaign Committee. One year after surviving an assassination attempt, Reagan campaigned for us. Even at 71-years-young, he looked like a million bucks to a young, impressionable media aide. From that day forward, I am proud to describe myself as a Reaganite.reaganduke

My outlook is realistic, but always positive. My beliefs include controlling the debt, stimulating full-time private sector jobs with the complete array of benefits, fostering a robust export-driven economy, and protecting our exceptional country from all adversaries … foreign and domestic.

The dystopian, inward approach to the world preached by one Donald J. Trump is not Reaganesque, and it is not Republican.

Did I listen carefully to all of the candidates during the lengthy primary season? Absolutely. I was hoping a true-Reagan conservative would emerge from the pack. That result did not happen.

There was a time, and Almost DailyBrett cannot pinpoint a date, but it became evident that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee of the Democrat Party and Donald Trump would serve as the standard bearer of the Republican Party.

This choice was unpalatable then and it is totally unacceptable now.

As a result, I wrote in Speaker Ryan. Regardless of who prevails next Tuesday, I am confident Paul Ryan will be serving as a living example of the checks and balances our Founding Fathers envisioned.

I will sleep better knowing he is on the job.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/politics/john-kasich-donald-trump-john-mccain-endorsement/index.html

http://www.speaker.gov/

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/nancy-reagan-death-donald-trump-2016-213709

 

 

“ … Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. … For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.” – Donald Trump drawing boos at the Al Smith charity dinner

trumphillarysmith

 

Ronald Reagan turned over in his grave with that nasty remark.

Putting partisan politics to the side (if that’s still possible), The Great Communicator clearly understood and practiced the discipline of knowing, appreciating and respecting your audience.

In many ways the answer is just so simple: The Five W’s and One H of Journalism:

What does the audience expect?

When is the event?

Where is the venue?

Who is attending?

Why is the occasion important?

How will you appreciate and respect your audience?

There was Reagan’s solemn 1984 speech at the cliffs of Normandy on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

There was his 1987 “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” address in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.

There was “There you go again” quip to Jimmy Carter in the most watched presidential debate (up-to-this-year) in American history in 1980.

And there was his farewell address to the nation as he was departing the White House in 1989.

The Normandy and Farewell speeches were not overtly political. It would have been wrong in both cases to write and deliver a stem-winder in either of these venues. The media and pundit reaction would be justifiably critical, if The Gipper had misused these settings and occasions.

The Berlin Wall speech and the Cleveland debate were both political in nature. They both offered the opportunity to score political points at the expense of the leader of the Soviet Union and the 39th president of the United States.

As Harry Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog.”

As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Serving As Referee

Al Smith was the first Roman Catholic to earn a presidential nomination, losing to Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928. Since 1945, the New York Archdiocese has sponsored an annual white-tie dinner at the stately Waldorf Astoria in his honor and to benefit Catholic charities.

Even though the two parties’ respective nominees have attended this fundraising dinner since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the audience expects and wants satirical/self-deprecating humor from the candidates. That tradition remained intact until this past Thursday night.

Less than 24 hours after the two combatants refused to shake hands twice at the final Clinton vs. Trump debate, Cardinal Dolan knew that he would have to serve as a buffer sitting in between Hillary and The Donald, who quite obviously loathe each other.

Nonetheless, the expectations for the speeches from the two candidates were still there. The public relations/reputation management task for each nominee and their respective staffers was to prepare and deliver remarks that demonstrate knowledge, appreciation and respect for the audience.trumpsmith

Sadly that discipline was not there, particularly for Donald Trump.

Why did he think even for a nanosecond that stating that Hillary was “so corrupt” before a mixed-audience was going to meet the standards of the evening?

Worse The Donald’s remarks about Hillary pretending to not hate Catholics in a room in which literally dozens had been schooled with the Baltimore Catechism drew the boos and catcalls they deserved.

Among the litany of problems associated with Trump’s campaign, one of the most basic is a total lack of political discipline. He obviously does not listen to his advisors, who know political campaigns and how to set and respond to audience expectations.

Two GOP standard bearers could not be more different: Ronald Reagan was a model of political discipline and simplicity of message. Donald Trump cannot and will not maintain political discipline, and Hillary knows it.

More importantly, the nation knows The Donald does not have the temperament to deliver audience-specific remarks, let alone be trusted with access to our nuclear codes.

The expectations are that Hillary will become the 45th chief executive of the United States and the first president who happens to be a woman, when the polls in California, Oregon and Washington close at 11 pm EST. 8 pm PST on November 8.

Almost DailyBrett will boldly predict: Hillary will be elected one hour earlier when Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona … and maybe even Utah (gasp) are recorded in the blue column … if not sooner. This is a wave election in which Hillary will receive the better part of 400 electoral votes, if not more.

Will The Donald wake up on November 9 and realize that he did not even attempt for a nanosecond during the past 17 months to know, appreciate and respect his audiences?

Forget it. He didn’t listen to any wisdom when it mattered. And he certainly won’t accept any guidance when it doesn’t matter anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/politics/al-smith-dinner-clinton-trump.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/politics/al-smith-catholic-dinner-memorable-lines-hillary-clinton-donald-trump/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/20/the-very-bad-jokes-hillary-clinton-and-donald-trump-told-at-the-al-smith-dinner/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Smith_Memorial_Foundation_Dinner

 

 

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