Category: Digital Business


Almost DailyBrett must ask: Can public trust in the Journalism “profession” plummet any further?

Have the inmates finally taken over the elite asylums?

Is it finally time — actually past time — for professional accreditation of journalists, and to require compliance with a defined set of media standards for fairness, balance and objectivity?

Physicians must secure their doctorates in medicine, plus four years of residency. Lawyers are confronted with the Bar Exam upon the completion of law school. Accounting majors are faced with the CPA exam. Virtually anyone who wants to succeed in business needs to earn an MBA, preferably from a top school (i.e., USC, Oregon, Harvard, Wharton … ).

What then are present-day standards and best practices for objectivity, accuracy and fairness for future Journalists?

Some will point to a curricula of university-taught devotion to activism, and intolerance to any-and-all dissenting views? That’s what most in university ivory tower J-schools may think, but they are wrong. They have been off-base for decades.

What about credentials? Ever wonder why reporters, editors, correspondents are less respected more than ever by the American public? To suggest that journalists rank in the same league with used-car salesmen actually besmirches the good name of … used car salesmen.

The obvious answer lies with the question of professionalism or more to the point, the glaring lack of media professionalism. Who needs ethos or logos, when your reporting is your personal pathos? You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

The question of media accreditation — not talking about the mere issuance of credentials — is a perennial topic. Even mentioning the subject is the equivalent of a crucifix to a vampire for kicking-and-screaming reporters, editors, anchors and correspondents.

How much lower can public opinion of Journalism plummet when it comes to trust … or more to the point … lack of trust in the media? The profession’s approval rating is lower than … (gasp) the reviled, Donald Trump.

The Devil In The Details

Some may blame all of the media’s plunging public esteem all on Trump, the one-and-the-same who labeled journalists as “Enemies of the People.”

Some may say, he went too far with his comments and instinctively worry about chilling effects on the First Amendment. Trump can read public opinion surveys as well as anyone else and can easily conclude … the public is clearly dissatisfied with the media. They are an easy target, and attacking them obviously fires up his base of Independents and Republicans.

Heck, only one-third of Democrats trust most of the digital and/or conventional content they see from the media according to a Knight Foundation survey.  Independents, 13 percent. Republicans? Only three percent.

Maybe more telling is that one-quarter of all independents do not trust any of the content emanating from today’s media, actually higher than the 21 percent of Republicans who have zero trust in media reports.

The media is failing big time when it comes to trust. The numbers tell an undeniable quantitative story.

Truth be known, the slide in public esteem and trust began shortly after the glorified days of Woodward & Bernstein in the mid-1970s, and accelerated since then the race to the bottom. The arrival of digital media and the corresponding decline of print journalism only changed the business models, but not the down-to-the-right trajectory for the “profession.”

How does Journalism restore public trust in the news and information it provides?

Isn’t the Fourth Estate supposed to be the watchdogs of our Democracy? Who watches the watchdogs?

If there are going to be media accreditation, similar to public relations practitioners by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), who can objectively — there goes that word again — assume this task?

If the proverbial media fox is guarding the Journalism hen house — sets the standards for accreditation and best practices — how can the public trust the results let alone believe again in those who are supposed to provide with fair-and-balanced news and information?

The devil is in the details, but Almost DailyBrett believes that independent members need to be part of the process, similar to Boards of Directors for publicly traded companies.

There are some in the “profession” who will say the First Amendment “as we know it” will be threatened, if they are compelled to be tolerant, fair, balanced and objective to all points of view, not just the ones that advocate for redistribution Socialist Justice.

Almost DailyBrett is confident the First Amendment will live on, if journalists are accredited and conform to best practices of fairness, balance and objectivity.

The mission should be restoration of public trust in the media — and with it — the resurrection of the troubled profession.

There is a way. The question remains: Is there a ‘will.’

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/should-reporters-register-as-lobbyists/

https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/trust-in-media-down.php

Indicators of news media trust

“Yes, most likely.” — Boeing President and CEO David L. Calhoun asked if one of his airline customers will go out of business

Three little devastating words.

What is one of the Golden Rules of Public Relations? Don’t answer hypotheticals.

“What happens if the sun slams into the earth?

You can think we would all fry and die and the markets would close early, but you have the right to keep your thoughts to yourself and to deliver a boring response to a reporter, anchor or correspondent.

Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked Calhoun if an airline (e.g., one of Boeing’s customer) could go under, and he uttered those three little words starting with “Yes.”

Guess what? The entire airline sector took a dive (pardon the poor Almost DailyBrett pun) as well as one of their chief suppliers … that would be … Boeing. The company’s PR department reportedly tried to “walk back” Calhoun’s gaffe, but as they say … ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

Almost DailyBrett must first ask: Why “Today”?  Why now?

Even before Covid-19 sell-off, the company was responsible for two Boeing 737 Max-8 failure airplane crashes. As a former shareholder, your author knows the airline passenger market is on its back. Boeing turned into a ‘sell.’ It’s still a ‘sell.’

What’s the “great” news to bestow to the aeronautics rocket scientists at Today. Considering that Boeing is the ultimate B2B (business-to-business) is Today’s audience, your audience? Wouldn’t CNBC, Fox Business, Wall Street Journal or even Aviation Week be more appropriate media for Boeing?

Your Mother Always Told You To Tell The Truth

So did Immanuel Kant.

A former Silicon Valley colleague made a valid point that Boeing boss Calhoun should be given credit for telling the truth, and nothing but the truth.

True, but Calhoun went too far. Questions about the financial health of each and everyone of Boeing’s airline customers should be left to the … carriers themselves.

What was the alternative (besides declining the Today interview request)? How about not responding to the question, simply acknowledge the interrogative, say you can’t speak for individual airlines and pivot the discussion back to Boeing. The technique is known as Acknowledge-Bridge-SOCO (Strategic Operating Communications Objective).

SOCO is the answer, which coincides with predetermined before the Today interview Boeing’s agenda, not the wishes of Mizz Guthrie.

As a former press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian, your author and our press office staff parried each and every hypothetical question. It was our rule. It was our political discipline.

Consider one of the many questions that we received about legislation pending in the state Legislature, and whether the governor would sign or veto a bill? Unless it was one of the rare cases in which the governor deliberately wanted to send a discouraging message in advance — the bill would be DOA — we implemented our sacrosanct rule about not responding to hypotheticals.

Reporters would often voice their displeasure, but our answer made sense … bills are often amended. They are shelved in committee. They fail on the floor of one or the other house. You can’t make a judgment on a bill if and until it reaches the governor in its final form.

In governance, it’s sound public policy to plan for the future — California 2010 project in 1987. The Golden State foresaw the equivalent of the population of the State of Illinois moving to California. That prediction turned out to be true.

Having said that, there is zero upside with thinking out loud in the on-the-record presence of a reporter. Unless you have the internal green light from your management to float a trial balloon, the practice of speculating about the future is inherently dangerous.

And if you do venture into the hypothetical minefield, mind your own knitting (one metaphor following another),

Calhoun’s greatest sin in the eyes of Almost DailyBrett was conjecturing out loud about the business future of one of Boeing’s customers. That’s the carrier’s prerogative and responsibility, not Boeing, the B2B supplier.

Boeing’s PR department deserves more than its fair share of blame for this gaffe. Today was a bad choice at the worst time possible.

Calhoun was not adequately media trained, particularly when it comes to never answering hypotheticals.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/coronavirus-pandemic-could-force-major-u-s-airline-out-business-n1205036

http://www.boeing.com/company/bios/david-l-calhoun.page

 

 

Which Californian would you rather have running your business: Tim Cook or Gavin Newsom?

Taking into account that Covid-19 indiscriminately hit both Apple and the State of California at the same time in the same place, which entity performed better under nearly identical circumstances?

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch, California with the nation’s highest income taxes (13.3 percent at the apex) and an average sales tax of 8.66 percent recently reported its record $21 billion surplus is now an unprecedented $54.3 billion deficit … that’s a staggering $75.3 billion switch if you are scoring at home. Nonetheless, the state found $75 million in the form of a pander payment to California illegal aliens.

Will they be eligible to vote … some day?

As the chief executive officer of $260 billion Apple with $44 billion in cash reserves, Tim Cook just announced the reopening some of Apple’s national stores this week with many more to follow. The company achieved a 37.8 percent gross margin and 14.3 percent to the bottom line in FY 2019, returning quarterly dividends of $0.82 per share for its shareholders.

As a member of the growing California Diaspora and a best-in-breed investor, who would Almost DailyBrett choose as a responsible fiscal steward?

Hint: Apple shares are up 7.25 percent this year, despite the Corona virus. As CNBC’s Jim Cramer repeatedly has proclaimed, he is only interested in a stock’s future. Share prices are a leading … not trailing … indicator of future performance.

Apple is a leader. California is a laggard.

The same is true with other best-in-breed publicly traded companies including Salesforce.com, Gilead Sciences, Lululemon Athletica, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA and Starbucks. Is the present iteration of California anywhere close to … best in breed?

If California was publicly traded, would a responsible investor select the Golden State or no state income tax Texas and/or Florida?

As the former press secretary for the former Governor of California George Deukmejian (1928-2018), my love for the Golden State is true … your author loathes the present crew in Sacramento. Just ask Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Peddling A False Choice

The bull statue on Wall Street and the True Value hardware store on Main Street are not mutually exclusive.

The countless suggestions of a Berlin Wall type of divide between the two streets is a false choice. Even the stately The Economist fell into this trap.

The reason is simple, millions of investors who live on Main Street, the side streets and the suburbs. Gallup reported that 55 percent of Americans own stocks and/or stock based mutual funds … before Covid 19. America’s Investor Class certainly took a hit with the virus, but there are tangible results indicating without any doubt that investors are coming back, money is coming off the sidelines … heck the NASDAQ is up for the year.

Those who project the end of Capitalism may even be the same to predict the Republicans were the Whigs of the 21st Century, heading for extinction. Whatever happened to these rocket scientists?

Many in America’s investor class are fond of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds and other versions of mutual funds. Your author is an investor in Fidelity’s Contrafund with $112 billion assets under management (AUM). The fund invests in large caps including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway (think Warren Buffett), Adobe, Google …

Cash needs to be a significant portion of any responsible portfolio, which should include a mutual fund or two.

Almost DailyBrett must pause and ask the investor class (anyone who would care to listen), how about being the manager of your own mutual fund (no fees or commissions)? Why not build a portfolio with your own selection of best-in-breed stocks (e.g., Apple)?

To some, this approach may be too risky. To others, do you really need a paid-by-you investment advisor to tell you that Nike is the number athletic apparel manufacturer in the world? Why not buy the stock when the next inevitable dip comes around?

Buy Low Sell High.

For the most part, America’s Investor Class radiates out from Main Street. To suggest that Wall Street needs to be reined in and economic freedom should be curtailed by those who determine the so-called Public Good is contrary to the best interests of millions investing for retirement, a child’s education, a dream house or a new business.

It takes a free market to raise a child.

Wall Street is Main Street.

P.S. Be careful about investing in The State of California.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/07/the-market-v-the-real-economy?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/07/california-faces-a-staggering-54-billion-budget-deficit-due-to-economic-devastation-from-coronavirus.html

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/10/apple-reports-fourth-quarter-results/

State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/california-to-give-cash-payments-to-immigrants-hurt-by-coronavirus.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/californias-growing-diaspora/

What Percent Of Americans Own Stocks?

State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2020

“The surest way to undermine the credibility of the White House press corps is to behave like the political opposition. Don’t give speeches from the White House briefing room.” — ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on his CNN colleague Jim Acosta, “Front Row At The Trump Show”

“Political opposition”?

As in political opposition to President Trump and with it, the Republican Party?

How about … The Democratic National Committee, ACLU, NARAL, NOW, ADA, Planned Parenthood, Move On, … and on, and on … as tangible examples of political opposition?

If all of the above apply as political adversaries with prescribed agendas, what about opposition media?

Let’s ask: What’s the difference between opposition media and the NRA? Both are narrow special interests with defined agendas. The latter registers to lobby.

Almost DailyBrett has been outspoken in yearning for the return of professional, dispassionate and objective reporting of relevant news and information for the benefit of the American public … particularly in this time of crisis.

As measured by Gallup, The Edelman Trust Barometer and others, public esteem and corresponding trust in the media (e.g., White House press corps) without any doubt whatsoever has been plummeting.

If the credibility of the White House press corps has been undermined as Monsieur Karl suggests — and the Boys and Girls on the Bus are now the political opposition with a clear philosophical and policy agenda — shouldn’t they be required to register to lobby under the auspices of the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA)?

If the openly expressed goals of the vast majority of White House Press Corps and so many more in media citadels of New York, Washington DC, Atlanta … is the removal of President Trump from office and the thwarting of the Republican Senate Majority policy program, don’t these quests equate to lobbying executive and legislative branches of government?

Wouldn’t it not be sound public policy to require reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors — using their awesome communication powers to influence the electorate and change policy — to state for the public record what they have become … unregistered-to-date lobbyists with notepads and microphones?

“Hold On Mr. President!”

Almost DailyBrett can already hear the complaints about a “chilling effect” on our cherished First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Do other special interests sacrifice their constitutional rights (e.g., NPR) upon registering as lobbyists at the federal or state levels?

Why should today’s partisan media be held to a different standard? Don’t they believe in public accountability?

As a young press secretary, your author remembers venturing into the White House briefing room with Reagan deputy press secretary Larry Speakes at the podium. Helen Thomas (UPI), Leslie Stahl (CBS), Chris Wallace (NBC) and Sam Donaldson (ABC) were sitting in the first row.

In the history of the planet, never assembled was a better and more formidable group of skeptical Devil’s Advocates … but they were not opposition media.

They were tough (read Donaldson’s “Hold On Mr. President!”) but they were fair and did not resort to partisan grandstanding or pose hateful questions implying POTUS has “blood on his hands.”

Some may want to ask Almost DailyBrett whether the few conservative media outlets, such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, should be compelled to registered as lobbyists. Your author says ‘yes’ to the former and ‘no’ to the latter. The neoliberal Wall Street Journal editorial board offers its take on national policy and direction on its editorial pages … anyone can read them … but they do not lobby.

During the course of his lengthy career in communications stretching from cub reporter to tenure-track professor of public relations, Almost DailyBrett witnessed the sad transformation of media organizations from the responsible providers of news and information to crass disseminators of partisan vitriol to further divide the American public.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Your author doesn’t want to provide CNN’s Jim Acosta (referenced by Jonathan Karl in the quote above) any more attention.

Having said that, his demagogic behavior and obvious loathing of the president should serve as Exhibit A … as to how partisan media has mutated and why they should come clean … leaving absolutely no doubt about their partisan public policy agendas for the executive and legislative branches of government.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) was approved for a reason. Opposition media should register just like any other special interest.

https://lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov/amended_lda_guide.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/planned-parenthoods-ambassador-to-cbs-news/?

https://www.foxnews.com/media/president-trump-media-hostility-coronavirus-briefings

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/america-loses-trust-in-media-at-the-worst-time/

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

“Play the radio, make sure the television — the, excuse me — make sure you have the record player on at night … make sure the kids hear words.” — Former ice President Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Debate, Sept. 12, 2019

Record player?

Every day Wall Street is assessing, “The Cuomo Effect.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Covid-19 briefings on the impact of the Corona virus on the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country are moving markets … mostly upwards.

Not only is New York the most impacted state as a result of the spread of the virus, it also serves as the venue for the NYSE and NASDAQ and not-so-coincidentally the major networks.

Almost DailyBrett is still mystified the White House’s Corona Virus task force never adopted the idea of holding its briefings during market hours (e.g., 9:30 am to 4 pm EDT), particularly earlier when remarks from President Trump, Vice President Pence, Drs. Fauci and Birx would have greatest impact.

In turn Governor Cuomo has been Mr. Carpe Diem. Each morning has been his turn to preach the gospel of Covid-19 response. Is there any wonder, where he acquired his oratorical skills? His father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015), electrified the 1984 Democratic Convention with his keynote address.

Your author fondly remembers reading Mario Cuomo’s 1982 diaries about his New York gubernatorial campaign. That was the same year my boss, George Deukmejian (another New York native), ran and won the governorship of California. The Duke also read Mario’s diaries. The same is true for former California governor Jerry Brown.

As a former public relations professor, your author is particularly impressed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presence, persona, pacing, command of the language and skillful use of PowerPoint. Almost DailyBrett has been waiting … literally for years … for politicians to skillfully employ PowerPoint, which has long been de rigueur for technology and academic presentations.

“You Know” Four Times In One Sentence?

“Um, you know, there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, uh, that, uh, you know, was totally different than a- than the- it’s called, he called it, the, you know, the World War II, he had the war- the the War Production Board.” — Joe Biden COVID-19 comments Friday, April 17 on CNN

During World War II, President Roosevelt established the War Production Board.

Eleven words. How tough was that?

The hyperventilating “WhatAboutism” crowd is already getting their collective knickers in a twist to identify comparable Bidenesque rhetorical wrestling matches with President Trump. The president is confident when he speaks … maybe too confident … while Biden struggles and struggle and struggles.

Your author would stop a student reaching for his … it was always a male … fourth “you know” crutch word in the same sentence. The Millennial was obviously nervous and maybe a little ashamed in front of fellow students. The job was to slow him down and help him concentrate on delivering a succinct understandable message.

That is the essence of communication.

The real question for today is could Joe Biden serve as Governor of New York, let alone President of the United States, and rally us in days of crisis? Yes Joe is from Del-a-where not New York, but we are putting this obvious point aside for the sake of discussion.

Joe … ‘I knew Mario Cuomo. Mario Cuomo was a friend of mine … and you are no Mario Cuomo’ … make that no Andrew Cuomo as well.

Could Joe Biden present Andrew Cuomo’s corona virus response briefings each day with anything close to the same presence and command? As mentioned Andrew is a skilled orator, but he will not be the Democratic nominee for the presidency.

The answer should be obvious. Joe Biden is not Andrew Cuomo … not even close.

Would the majority of Democrats opt to re-run the presidential primary season, if they could? You bet ya.

Some may point to Joe Biden’s adolescent stuttering. Some may remember Almost DailyBrett’s youthful stammering issue. These problems can be overcome with deliberation, preparation and confidence. The former is running for the presidency. Can he ever inspire or will he always struggle to find the next word.

You know?

https://www.businessinsider.com/joe-biden-record-player-democratic-debate-abc-houston-2019-9

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/what-about-whataboutism/

New York, N.Y. – The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today announced the formation of a sister exchange/wholly owned subsidiary, the Toilet Paper Stock Exchange (TPSE).

The “Tipsie”  began trading today with its first full flush of excitement at 9:30 am (EDT), 6:30 am (PDT).

The commodity units utilized for Tipsie trading are known as Resources Of Limited Life (ROLLS). Digital Trading Platforms (TP) have been established by the TPSE to facilitate the buying and selling of increasingly valuable toilet paper.

“We have never in our lifetimes witnessed the unbelievable demand for the ultimate recession proof product: toilet paper,” said Stacey Cunningham, NYSE Group president. “One way or the other, we all will use this strategic commodity each day, sometimes multiple times a day.

“If we must use ROLLS, and some even resort to evil hoarding of this product (see Costco), why can’t investors trade these ROLLS, employing our TPs under the regulatory oversight of the newly created federal Toilet Paper Exchange Commission or TPEC?”

The “Tipsie” immediately reported brisk initial trading with each ROLL fetching an average price of $69.95, representing a total market capitalization (number of rolls issued x sales price) exceeding $1 trillion.

Only Microsoft ($1.20 trillion) and Apple ($1.11 trillion)at the close of trading on the final day of Q1 2020 rival toilet paper in attainment of 13-digit institutional (i.e., buy and sell side) and retail investor inflows (not to be confused with outflows).

Cunningham cautioned investors to fully expect the trading of ROLLS to remain volatile and fluid for the duration of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) global pandemic. The unprecedented and inexplicable demand of toilet is expected to continue for weeks, if not months.

“Just like any other market — from tulips to Internet start-ups to toilet paper — we must guard against commodification,” said Cunningham. “Most of all we need to cover our … derrieres … if the demand for toilet paper falls and the supply of ROLLS run out. Otherwise, we may feel a little … Tipsie.”

Safe Harbor Cautionary Statement — Institutional and retails investors are summarily cautioned that trading on the increasingly volatile and fluid  TPSE or “Tipsie” requires a certain degree of risk in which the value of ROLLS may actually fluctuate regardless of whether the TPSE or TPs (Trading Platforms) are utliized. The TPSE expressly follows the dictates of the Toilet Paper Exchange Commission (TPEC), the federal Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Security Exchange Commission and other regulatory bodies.

About the Toilet Paper Stock Exchange (“Tipsie”)

The Toilet Paper Stock Exchange or “Tipsie” is a sister trading platform to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a wholly owned subsidiary. The express purpose of the Tipsie is to facilitate the orderly buying and selling of Resource of Limited Life or (ROLLS), using the exchanges digital trading platforms or (TPs).

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: 

Serious consideration was given to taking a pass on this blog’s annual “April Fool’s” post for obvious reasons. However, the strange global obsession with all things toilet paper is a strange global obsession. Buy reasonable amounts of toilet paper, if you can. More importantly, stay healthy. Stay very safe.

— TPSE —

https://ir.theice.com/governance/executive-management-team/default.aspx

 

 

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

 

“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

“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/

“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

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