Category: Media Relations


A “memorable” $211,703 Porsche or Land Rover?

A “visible” $86,423 Rolex?

And let’s not forget the applicable taxes on these two giveaways: $179,977 and $38,005 respectively.

For those scoring at home, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) provided $516,108 in goodies to one man: newly minted co-CEO Keith Block, 57.

The Salesforce.com Compensation Committee justified the corporate largesse in its proxy statement filing:

“In this case, the committee approved this award because it believed that recognizing Mr. Block’s leadership and success in achieving company goals was warranted, and that doing so in a memorable and visible way would be motivational not only for the executive, but for other employees who observe exceptional performance being rewarded in exceptional ways consistent with the company’s philosophy of paying for performance.”

Paying for exceptional performance?

Does Block walk on water? Does he change water into wine? Does he dole out loaves and fishes to feed the hungry?

Before being named co-CEO last August, Block was already earning $2.3 million annually in salary and bonuses (not including stock option exercises) as the company’s vice chairman, president and chief operating officer.

Almost DailyBrett extensively researched and taught the relationship between fiduciary responsibility (doing well) and corporate social responsibility (doing good) as a master’s student at University of Oregon and later as a PR professor at Central Washington University.

Your author also served as the director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI) for a decade including preparing 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K news releases and regulatory filings for financial media and the SEC.

More to the point, Almost DailyBrett is a long-time Republican, free-enterprise supporter, and up-to-now a more than satisfied shareholder of Salesforce.com founded by fellow USC alum Marc Benioff.

Let’s state here and now: giving away a cool car and groovy watch (plus paying related income taxes for these two goodies) is inconsistent with Salesforce’s fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders … including not trying to be SaaS-see,  yours truly.

God help the company’s corporate PR department.

Ready to make chicken salad out of chicken feces?

How do you defend the indefensible? How do you stand-up on behalf of the untenable? Did the Compensation Committee discuss its decision with the PR types before giving away a Porsche and a Rolex to Monsieur Block?

And where is Salesforce.com located? San Francisco.

Do you think Bernie, Kamala or Elizabeth supporters residing in the Sodom and Gomorrah by the Bay are going to seize about this outrageous caper as an example about everything wrong with corporate America?

Occupy Salesforce?

Publicly traded corporations (e.g., Salesforce) provide the products we need (e.g., enterprise software), employ millions (e.g., CRM, 29,000) and provide a return on capital to millions investing in their retirement, health care or children’s education.

Buy-side (i.e., mutual funds, retirement systems) and sell-side (i.e. Goldman, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley) institutions hold 82 percent of Salesforce’s 774 million shares outstanding.

In contrast, Almost DailyBrett is a lowly Charles Schwab retail investor with 300 shares.

If your author threatened to sell all of his shares because he is upset by the Keith Block giveaways, would company even notice, let alone care?

Heck, your author’s holding is a friggin’ corporate rounding error.

Salesforce has demonstrated by its regulatory filing temerity, it really doesn’t take fiscal stewardship and fiduciary responsibility seriously.

Actions speak louder than words. The perception and reality both stink.

No carefully massaged explanation and no amount of corporate social responsibility (CSR) – including calling for local tax increases to take care of the homeless – are going to change the undeniable fact that giving away a luxury car, a costly watch and paying the related taxes for one lousy executive … is wrong.

Dead wrong to be precise.

Almost DailyBrett editor’s note: According to Business Insider, the company did not disclose the exact make or model of Keith Block’s new car and watch. However, an educated guesstimate was made by the digital publication based upon the disclosed sales prices and related tax payments for the two luxury items. If the company actually bought Block a Lamborghini instead of a Porsche, your author will accept personal responsibility for the egregious mistake.

https://www.businessinsider.com/salesforce-ceo-keith-block-car-watch-2019-4

https://www1.salary.com/Keith-Block-Salary-Bonus-Stock-Options-for-SALESFORCE-COM-INC.html

https://www.salesforce.com/company/leadership/bios/bio-block/

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

 

 

 

“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

 “As a former journalist and former press secretary, you should know there has never been ‘objective journalism.’” – Professor teaching digital journalism to college students

“Never” leaves absolutely no room for nuance, much less retreat.

According to my dear faculty colleague and friend (and presumably many more kindred spirits), objective journalism “never” existed even at times (e.g., 1960s and 1970s) when Walter Cronkite was widely regarded as “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

If you don’t believe the ex-cathedra summation by a Ph.D in Journalism, just visit your nearest modern-day college journalism/communication (indoctrination) classroom.

Or how about famous correspondents crying on national television when political results do not match their impeccably high moral standards (e.g., ABC’s Martha Raddatz on 2016 election night or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow upon the 2019 release of the Müller Report conclusions).

As a cub reporter covering politics on a daily basis way back in the stone-age 1970s, there were times when your Almost DailyBrett author nodded his head, rolled his eyes or told a cynical joke … as skeptical reporters are prone to do.

We all harbored our own personal opinions, just like everyone else.

The real question is whether our opinions unprofessionally showed up in our copy and/or broadcasts? Were we truly open-minded, professional and yes, objective in carrying out our responsibilities to readers and/or viewers?

The best reporters/correspondents covered both sides of a given issue (e.g., California’s Proposition 13 tax revolt), and most importantly did not allow their personal analysis and interpretation to corrupt and pollute their stories.

As a former press secretary to a Republican governor, Almost DailyBrett knew for a fact the vast majority of reporters, editors, and correspondents were philosophically aligned to the left side of the great political divide.

Having acknowledged the obvious, virtually every reporter played a great devil’s advocate to elicit the strongest (and most newsworthy) response from yours truly. In almost all cases our point of view was fairly represented in the resulting copy or broadcast.

There were times when your author detected a bias in the questioning toward a predetermined narrative. In these cases, all responses that corresponded to the story line were seized upon and all those that didn’t fit were ignored.

Your author called out these unprofessional reporters for exhibiting a preset philosophical bias, resulting in an unpleasant conversation.

These unfortunate instances were the exception then; they are the norm today.

What Are Future Journalists Being Taught In Today’s Universities And Colleges?

Instead of actually covering the news for a grateful public, are future reporters, editors and correspondents being groomed by doctrinaire university professors to be the next wave of social justice warriors with notepads, microphones and cameras?

Is their mission to take the side, to advance the cause, to silence the opposition and ultimately bring down a president?

Rather than reporting the news, will they use their journalistic licenses to fashion stories, which are really poorly disguised or denuded editorials, interpretation and analysis that conform to the narrative?

If the prescribed goal is an ever-present, all-powerful taxing, redistributive, gift-giving socialist society, will tomorrow’s “journalists” be only favorable in their coverage to facts that conform to the orthodoxy? Likewise, will they be cynical, dismissive and downright hostile to any statements that do not pass social justice litmus tests?

Maybe that explains journalistic mutations in the forms of Jim Acosta, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow?

It was widely known that Walter Cronkite was liberal in his political orientation. Having said that, he always insisted upon fairness – yes objectivity – in the coverage of Democrats and even Republicans.

Some will claim the media’s collective decline in public esteem is directly attributable to their new-found designation as “the enemy of the people.” They will place 100 percent of the blame at the feet of the 45th POTUS.

Almost DailyBrett believes the media elite needs to collectively reassess the unfortunate trend toward oppositional journalism, interpretation, analysis and editorializing, and once again embrace professionalism in the form of true objectivity.

Let’s hope objectivity can once again rise from the ashes.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/05/opinion/brinkley-walter-cronkite/index.html

https://cronkite.asu.edu/about/walter-cronkite-and-asu/walter-cronkite-biography

https://brandingforresults.com/walter-cronkite/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/dan-rather-father-of-affirmational-journalism/

“The news blindsided many liberals — particularly those with an ambient knowledge of Rachel Maddow’s nightly monologues on MSNBC.” – Amy Chozick, New York Times

“The 3 biggest losers from the Mueller report in order: the media, the media, the media.” – Rich Lowry, National Review

Trump won. The liberal media elite declared … “victory.”

The two-year hunt by oppositional journalists for WMDs came to an end. It was a dead scud.

The long-awaited $25 million Müller Report didn’t quite read the way they wanted. It was a dud.

Ahh … Rachel Maddow can rewrite it for you.

Chris Matthews is tan, rested and ready.

As they say in politics … “When in doubt, declare victory!’

The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer declared the Müller report a great success, but no one seems to be clapping in the tony enclaves of Manhattan, Inside the Beltway or in Hollywood.

Let’s see how do Oppositional Journalists proclaim unmitigated victory? Has the comb-over dragon been slayed?

Our ratings are up (e.g., MSNBC … even CNN). Our print and digital subscriptions have soared (e.g., NYT, WAPO). They generated a combined 8,500 Russia probe stories to prove their point.

Almost DailyBrett remembers a time when objective journalists didn’t seem to care about their respective employers buying low and selling high.

Former FBI Director Robert S. Müller III was going to be the savior of the Republic. Let the impeachment proceedings begin!

Stephen Colbert still generated late-night “comedy,” but deep down inside … it’s painful. It has to hurt.

As Yoga Berra once said: “It’s like deja-vu all over again.” For the folks at CNN and MSNBC, it was a replay of November 8, 2016, even though some are now asserting a “cover-up” (e.g., MSNBC’s Joy Reid) and “obstruction of justice.”

Spin Control by the Media, For the Media

“They let all the normal rules of balanced reporting fly out the window as they competed with each other over who could land the biggest Pulitzer prize-winning Trump/Russia sucker punch that would KO the President they loathe.

“Only it turned out they were all punching thin air.” – Former CNN anchor Piers Morgan

“We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did.” – Jeff Zucker, CNN president

Walter Cronkite just turned over in his grave.

Almost DailyBrett has long advocated a return to the days in which political reporters were not serving as the Praetorian Guard for the progressive socialist left/Democratic Party.

Your author yearns for the days when most reporters/correspondents could claim the virtue of objectivity, and still pass the giggle test.

Yet as the ink dries on the Müller Report and President Trump basks in the glory of no collusion with Russia/no further indictments (not to mention media darling Michael Avenatti being led off in handcuffs for his $20 million blackmail attempt against Nike), the elite liberal media is resetting its bearings on electing a Democrat in 2020.

The question that must be asked: Have they learned anything from 2016?

Will they continue to arrogantly use the print and digital pages of the NYT and WAPO, let alone CNN and MSNBC, to denigrate the millions that work and live in the red states?

Remember the “Basket of Deplorables”?

The 12th Amendment (e.g., Electoral College) of the U.S. Constitution is NOT going to be amended/rescinded before the 2020 election, if ever.

Red states must be flipped for Bernie (or a reasonable facsimile) to become the 46th president of the United States. How many in Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania etc. follow liberal media talking heads and angry columnists?

In many ways it seems the elite liberal media types are talking to each other and preaching to the choir.

Democrats know they can only win California’s 55 electoral votes once regardless of the margin of victory. Hillary prevailed in the Golden State by 4 million votes. She only needed to win by one vote.

The liberal media elites will demand that red state voters change, and see the wisdom of social justice warriors commanding and controlling their lives through a greatly empowered government.

Almost DailyBrett suggests a little exercise of humility at CNN and others. If so, maybe the struggling network can return to the days of Bernard Shaw asking the tough question … even to the Democratic nominee at a presidential debate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/business/media/mueller-report-media.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/mueller-report/585631/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/22/chris_matthews_why_was_there_never_an_interrogation_of_trump_how_can_mueller_let_him_off_the_hook.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6847671/PIERS-MORGAN-Mueller-report-shows-collusion-disgraceful-hoax.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_7wPf9geSM

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

Ever wonder how Venezuela became … Venezuela?

Almost DailyBrett at one time expected that Amazon would announce Austin, Texas as the recipient of HQ2 with its estimated $50 billion total investment and upwards to 50,000 technology positions with full benefits.

As a major technology hub, Austin offers a well-trained workforce, the capital of a right-to-work state, no state income taxes, and politicians’ favorably predisposed to corporate capitalism. In addition, Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, which is based in … Austin.

Instead, Amazon selected Northern Virginia with it well-educated workforce and proximity to the infinite wisdom emanating within the Beltway. The other choice, which raised more than a few eyebrows, was heavily unionized and über-taxed Long Island.

The original thinking was Amazon would be welcomed with the prospect of providing 40,000 real positions with annual salaries averaging $150,000 and full benefits – not strip mall jobs – and $27.5 billion in new tax revenues during the course of 10 years. Yes, there were $3 billion in tax incentives from the State of New and New York City and these are always controversial.

Let’s see $3 billion in exchange for $27.5 billion in new revenues and 40,000 direct high-paying positions, not counting all the indirect economic activity supporting Amazon HQ2 in terms of suppliers, vendors and utilities.

Buy Low, Sell High?

Alas the United States is a divided nation, not just Democrats vs Republicans … but more to the point: Socialism vs. Capitalism.

Some wish to punish Amazon and its wealthiest dude on the planet boss, Jeff Bezos, for pioneering digital retail, employing 613,300, generating $232 billion in annual revenues, and stimulating $798 billion in investor market capitalization.

Amazon was greeted to Gotham by a buzz-saw of those who disdain capitalism in favor of command-and-control socialism.

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett imagined what it would be like to be relaying really bad news to the boss – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – and answering the flood of media calls.

The alternative of a root canal is looking real attractive right now.

Ever hear the one about banging your head against the wall?

It only feels good, when you … stop.

Is Amazon Serious?

Is Amazon just firing a shot across the bow?

“It (loss of Amazon investment) would certainly undermine confidence in governance. You can’t empower anti-capitalist ideologues and expect the capitalists to embrace them. I still think they will work this out, because the embarrassment would be severe.” – Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor of Urban Studies

“You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.” – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

“Threw away” constitutes fighting words.

These provocative words make it more difficult for the City of New York and Amazon to “work this out.” Why did da Mayor challenge Bezos’ manhood (we know it exists) in the first sentence of his prepared statement, and then charge the company with throwing away an opportunity in the concluding sentence.

Hey Mr. Mayor ever heard of the words … “disappointed”? … “concerned? … “let’s talk”?

If New York bids adieu to 25,000-to-40,000 Amazon positions and $27.5 billion in tax revenues in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ congressional district, will those who are cheering today be demanding social justice from New York state and city tomorrow?

Even China with its brand of authoritarian capitalism figured out that buying low and selling high is the best way to provide prosperity for its people.

New York had the prospect of becoming a lucrative technology hub … but it “threw away” that opportunity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/nyregion/amazon-hq2-queens.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/02/13/leaving-long-island-city-what-losing-amazon-hq2-would-mean-for-nycs-future/#18d48f01127c

https://nypost.com/2019/02/14/de-blasio-amazon-threw-away-great-opportunity-in-nyc/

 

 

“Nancy Pelosi needs to come back from Hawaii. Less hula, more moola for the Department (of Homeland Security) and Customs and Border Patrol, funding our border security.”  — Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway

The optics were awful.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi headed to Hawaii for resort time at the $1,000-to-$5,000 per night Fairmont Orchid, while the U.S. government was partially shut down.

In contrast, President Trump cancelled his Xmas and New Year’s planned vacation time at the Mar-a-Lago resort.

The story was covered by Fox News and the New York Post among others. For some reason, the New York Times, Washington Post and the big networks did not report Nancy’s between Xmas and New Year Kona spa days on the Big Island.

Reminds Almost DailyBrett of the adage: If Nancy swam in the Pacific and the New York Times passed on the story, did she still get wet?

Despite the fact her ideologically aligned media gave her a Mulligan, was it smart public relations/politics for the honorable speaker to depart for “Spa Without Walls” Hawaii with the rival president managing les affaires d’état from the Oval Office?

The Time-and-Place Rule

Every president is roundly criticized for playing golf (e.g., Trump), shooting baskets (e.g., Obama) or bike riding (George W. Bush). The implication is that presidents should have zero hobbies or interest in staying fit, while also blowing off some steam.

As a former press secretary, your author would gladly confirm my chief executive is indeed playing golf, shooting baskets bike riding etc., and would question the political motivation of those who had a problem with these healthy recreational activities.

Having said that, Almost DailyBrett contends presidents and congressional leaders need to practice The Time-and-Place Rule. The rhetorical questions: Is this the time? Is this the place?

For example, first-time-around California Governor Jerry Brown, who opposed Proposition 13, immediately befriended Howard Jarvis and became a born-again tax cutter. He remained in toasty Sacramento that summer, and directed the state in subvening $4 billion to the state’s 58 counties.

His Republican opponent Attorney General Evelle Younger immediately left for Hawaii. The contrast could not have been greater. Brown working to implement Proposition 13. Younger basking in the islands. The predictable Jerry Brown negative campaign ads featured … you guessed it … Evelle Younger and hula music.

Younger never recovered from violating the Time-and-Place Rule, losing by more than 1 million votes in the fall 1978 general election.

“There Will Be No Hula Music”

Fast forwarding four years later, my boss then-Attorney General George Deukmejian had just won a hard-fought GOP primary for Governor of California.

When a reporter posed a seemingly benign question about his vacation plans, the Duke’s political instinct went into overdrive. “There will be no hula music.”

Translated, he was going to take a welcome vacation in California with his family. Hawaiian music would not played in his opponent’s radio and television ads.

George Deukmejian paid homage to the Time-and-Place rule and went on to win in November.

Did Nancy Pelosi violate the Time-and-Place rule? Yes.

Does it matter to her liberal media sycophants? No.

Does it undermine her faux concern for the 800,000 federal employees, who are not being paid? Yes.

Very few of them have the resources to listen to hula music real time, and enjoy the trappings of a $5,000 per night Hawaiian resort.

They would just like to have grocery money, let alone enough to indulge in a “Spa Without Walls.”

http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/22833/Nancy-Pelosi-Vacations-at-Fairmont-Orchid-During-Government-Shutdown.aspx

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nancy-pelosi-is-vacationing-at-hawaii-resort-during-shutdown

https://nypost.com/2018/12/30/kellyanne-conway-mocks-nancy-pelosi-over-hawaii-vacation-amid-shutdown/

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/im-not-allowed-to-talk-about-that-nancy-pelosi-office-wont-comment-on-her-shutdown-vacation-in-hawaii

 

 

 

Remember the Oakland Raiders and their “Commitment to Excellence”?

The Silver and Black catch-phrase was quietly buried along with its originator, Al Davis.

Is it time, actually past time, for the Pac-12 Conference to drop its divorced-from-reality tag: “Conference of Champions”?

Consider that only 35,000 (assuming you believe the “announced” official attendance) bothered to show up for the conference football “championship” game this past November 30. The game was an absolute non-factor in deciding which four teams made the College Football Playoff (CFP).

Why would any conference commissioner hold its football championship game on a gridlocked Friday night in a pro-football Mecca, while the real Power Five conferences play their championship games on Saturday?

The literal oceans of empty seats in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara sent an unmistakable signal to the sports world: If Pac-12 fans don’t care, why should you? What ya think Pac-12 boss Larry Scott?

Weigh that only two times has the Pac-12 qualified its teams for the College Football Playoff (i.e., Oregon in 2014 and Washington in 2016) out of a potential 20 spots over five years.

In bowl games, the conference is 4-12 in the past two years: 1-8, 2017-18; 3-4 2018-19.

The last time a Pac-12 team won the national title in football: USC in 2004.

The last time a Pac-12 team won the national title in men’s basketball: Arizona in the previous century,1997.

The last time a Pac-12 team won the national title in women’s basketball: Stanford, ditto for the 20th century, 1992.

The conference is fond of championing its NCAA Director’s Cup standings as tantamount to “athletic success,” most notably Stanford, UCLA, USC, Cal and Oregon. Does anyone really care about college sports outside of the aforementioned football, men’s and women’s basketball?

Yes, Oregon State is the current champion in baseball. Oregon won its seventh track-and-field championship in 2015 … but other than piling up Director’s Cup points, do these championships really matter to the sports public?

From Love to The Embarcadero

In 2009, the Pac-12 presidents hired Larry Scott away from the women’s tennis circuit (where love means nothing) to run the conference, which was falling behind the other Power Five conferences (i.e., SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12).

To Scott’s credit, he took the lead in creating the Pac-12 Network. He also brought in the Denver and Salt Lake City media markets into the fold with the expansion of the 10-school contiguous state balanced conference to include non-contiguous Colorado and Utah.

The aforementioned conference championship game was added to the mix, but for some reason Scott and his lieutenants can’t seem the figure out the Levi’s Stadium dog just won’t hunt after five tries.

When was the only time the conference championship ever sold out? The first game in 2011 held at the venue of the team with the best record, Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. Why not persist in awarding the championship game to the team with the best record?

Sure beats an empty tarped stadium with an “announced” crowd of 35,134 on a Friday night.

The conference’s men’s basketball tournament is held in Las Vegas. There are zero Pac-12 teams in Nevada. Are gambling tables and shows with lots of skin, the secret to drawing fans to watch the conference’s best?

John Canzano of the struggling Portland Oregonian penned a four-piece mammoth series essentially asking if the Pac-12 is getting the bang for its buck. The conference pays Scott $4.8 million per annum and devotes $6.9 million yearly for its offices near the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco.

Pac-12 members receive $31 million annually from the conference. By contrast, SEC members receive $41 million and the Big 10 universities garner $37 million from their respective conferences.

Certainly geography is not Scott’s fault, but it still must be his concern. The majority of Pac-12 members are situated three hours west of Bristol, Connecticut, the home of ESECPN. What Almost DailyBrett does not understand is the surrender implied in “Pac-12 After Dark.”

In order to provide ESPN and Fox with late evening “sports programming” for insomniacs in the Eastern and Central time zones, our fans and teams must sometimes wait until 7:45 pm to kick-off or tip-off our games. The alternative is 11 am kickoffs, fostering 8 am tailgates. Pass the orange juice.

Hey Larry instead of the networks deciding the times of our games, let’s team with Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors in courageously insisting the majority of our games be held between 12:30 pm and 5 pm local time for our fans on Saturdays.

As for the tagline: “Conference of Champions,” let’s shelve/deep six it until Pac-12 teams once again actually win some real championships.

https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2018/11/pac-12-larry-scott-leftout-part1.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/pac-12-after-midnight/

 

 

“If the Earth slammed into the Sun (or vice versa), what would the president do?” – CNN correspondent

“Guess, we would all fry and die.” – White House Trade Hawk Peter Navarro

Couldn’t believe that Navarro would answer CNN’s hypothetical question Friday about whether President Trump would impose $200 billion in even more tariffs on China, if the next 90 days of trade negotiations go nowhere.

Instead of bobbing, weaving and ducking the question, Navarro answered in the affirmative.

Why Peter, why?

American markets tanked Friday, led by a 558-point decline on the Dow.

The psychology on Wall Street is so negative right now. Traders are selling the bounces instead of buying on the dips. Forget about Buy Low, Sell High.

Why did the White House Press Office allow Navarro take an interview with CNN? Isn’t “prevention” one of the key components of effective crisis communications?

The liberal network openly despises … being nice here … Navarro’s boss (see Jim Acosta antics), and will not do the administration any favors whatsoever (e.g., benefit of the doubt).

Were you media trained, Peter?

Obviously, not.

Why didn’t you coordinate your talking points with Larry Kudlow?

Instead it was administration bad cop, trade hawk (Navarro) contradicting an administration good cop, trade dove (Kudlow), resulting in the media and markets seizing upon … Navarro’s negative response to a hypothetical question (e.g., more tariffs on China).

Shocking or more of the same from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue … or both?

It’s now painfully obvious the happy talking points/tweets emerging from last weekend’s G20 Xi-Trump summit over Argentinian steak were over-done … way over-done.

Earth And Sun Collide?

Can’t tell you how many times Almost DailyBrett has been asked hypothetical questions, posed by the media to generate headlines particularly on slow news days.

If asked by a member of the Capitol Press Corps in Sacramento what my boss would do if the earth did indeed slam into the sun, your author would without doubt take the following approach:

“The earth and the sun vary between 91 million and 94 million miles a part each year, and the earth has been around for 4.543 billion years. We are confident this trend, which is our friend, will continue.”

Always remember, conditions can and most likely change between now and later. If that is indeed the case, why answer a hypothetical?

Here’s an even better answer:

“As a policy, we do not answer hypothetical questions. We will say is that we are cautiously optimistic about our trade negotiations with China. We are not going to prejudge this process.”

Boring? Sure. That’s the point.

Do the markets sell off, putting more pressure on the U.S. negotiators? Not likely.

Are the reporters/correspondents disappointed? Oh well …

Should an administration speak in one voice? Always.

Kudlow and Navarro should not be separate spokesmen with conflicting philosophies on the same question. The Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr duel would have gone viral in the 21st Century with the NASDAQ dipping into correction territory.

Kudlow mentions the potential of extending the moratorium on tariffs for another 90 days Friday, if the negotiations are making progress … markets go up.

A little later Friday Navarro confirms the possibility of raising $200 billion in additional tariffs, if the negotiations go nowhere … and the markets are pounded.

Who’s on first?

Maybe, Mr. Art of the Deal wants to deliberately send confusing, ambiguous signals to the Chinese to keep them off guard … Good Cop vs. Bad Cop?

Unfortunately, this latest market selloff and the related overly negative market psychology could have been avoided by simply refusing to answer hypothetical questions, and by an administration speaking in one voice.

Is that too much to ask?

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/hypothetical-question.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/07/investing/stock-market-today-navarro-kudlow/index.html

https://www.space.com/17081-how-far-is-earth-from-the-sun.html

https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/19833/about-how-many-revolutions-has-the-earth-made-around-the-sun

 

 

 

“I must be a mushroom because everyone keeps me in the dark and feeds me bullshit.” – Urban Dictionary

The rocket scientists at General Motors made the decision to close five factories in the United States and Canada, impacting 14,000 workers/15 percent of salaried employees. Meanwhile the GM truck production lines would keep on humming … in Mexico and China.

GM tenderly issued a Monday news results about these Ohio, Michigan and Maryland facilities/people … saying they will be unallocated in 2019.” 

Unallocated?

Hard to believe that any PR pro worth his or her salt could actually write these words, and with a straight face actually advocate for their approval with management.

Almost DailyBrett concurs with CBS Money Watch in its designation of “unallocated” as one of the worst corporate euphemisms ever employed, if not the absolute worst.

No one is laughing, General Motors.

Before going further, Almost DailyBrett will remind readers of the four tenets of Crisis Communications:

  1. Tell The Truth
  2. Tell It All
  3. Tell It Fast
  4. Move On

There is little doubt that GM’s corporate PR types toyed with the idea of dumping this dead-dog factory closure announcement on the ultimate bad news distribution day of any year – Black Friday or the second day of the long Thanksgiving Weekend.

Nice way for big bad GM to give thanks to its affected workers during the holidays?

Ultimately, the folks who used the ridiculous, twisted in knots verb – “unallocated” – couldn’t bring themselves to drop this bomb the day after Thanksgiving, so they opted for the following Monday, November 26.

And yet, there was the little matter of the resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who carried Ohio and Michigan.

The Fifth Tenet of Crisis Communications

There may even be a fifth tenet of Crisis Communications: Never Blindside The Boss.

Could GM inform Donald Trump concurrently with the factory closures/14,000 layoffs announcement? Not a chance.

Even at the risk of a leak/premature disclosure, General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra had no choice but to pick up the phone and call the president this past weekend.

The alternative of the mushroom treatment, keeping POTUS in the dark and feeding him fertilizer, was clearly not an option. The resulting Trump tweets about being disappointed could well have reflected that he was furious, if he was not informed in advance.

In a series of wrong calls, give GM credit for getting this one right … there was absolutely no upside in blindsiding the president.

Seven Layoffs in Three Years

When the Internet Bubble burst in March 2000, the technology business – particularly semiconductors — crashed into the wall … and there were no skid marks.

For Almost DailyBrett’s employer, LSI Logic, we enjoyed a post-split share price of $90 in 2000, full-running factories, $2.7 billion in revenues, and about 7,700 employees.

Within three years, our stock price plunged to $3, we eliminated two factories, revenues sank to $1.8 billion, and our workforce was reduced to 3,900.

In short, we did everything we could … to survive.

Included in this effort was the issuance of seven news releases, announcing a cumulative series of job cuts and factory curtailments-closures (i.e., Gresham, Colorado Springs, Santa Clara). Eliminating jobs and closing factory gates does not get better with age.

We also instinctively knew there were certain audiences, who needed to be briefed in advance, preferably hours before the news release crossed the wires. Predictably, they (i.e., governors, city council members, county supervisors …) were disappointed, but they understood the economic imperative of our decisions.

The GM case is much trickier. The company received a $39.7 billion taxpayer bailout in the dark days of 2009. Is this “unallocation” of factories and people the way GM says thanks to America during Thanksgiving?

At least Mary Barra picked up the phone and called the big boss.

Can you imagine being a fly on the proverbial Oval Office wall?

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=treat%20em%20like%20a%20mushroom

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worst-corporate-euphemism-ever-gms-unallocated-factories-a-contender/

https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2018/11/28/General-Motors-layoffs-factory-shutdown-Lordstown-Ohio/stories/201811280038

 

 

 

“Richard Nixon came back from his loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and won the presidency in 1968. He will be the model for winning again.” – Mark Penn and Andrew Stein, Wall Street Journal op-ed

“You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” – Richard Nixon’s “last news conference” after losing the California governorship in 1962

Ready For Hillary 4.0 knows the history of The New Nixon 3.0.

For Nixon, 1968 was the charm.

If the American electorate missed its opportunity in 1960 (Nixon 1.0).

And California voters didn’t get it in 1962 (Nixon 2.0).

Perhaps America would appreciate the new and improved “Nixon’s The One” six years later?

After two crushing defeats, Richard Milhous Nixon (3.0) became POTUS #37.

Conversely, Hillary was “inevitable” in 2008 … until #44 Obama won.

And Hillary was “inevitable” in 2016 … until she lost to # 45 Trump.

And now she is gearing up for her third “inevitable” #46 campaign/election next year.

As some things change in the Democratic Party, others remain the same.

Don’t bet against Nancy as “Madam Speaker,” and “Madam Secretary” Hillary as the nominee.

Will we be treated to the inevitable Clinton Restoration four years later than originally planned?

Hillary Now More Than Ever

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.” – Penn and Stein, November 11

 “Dear God, please, yes.” – Trump campaign advisor Kellyanne Conway

The massive public relations/marketing challenge facing Hillary’s 2020 campaign team will be how to repackage an inferior 2008 and 2016 product and offer her as new and fresh for the upcoming 2019-2020 presidential cycle?

Reminds one of the 2009 eye-brow raising Domino’s Pizza advertising campaign in which the company confessed to its crust “tasting like cardboard,” and its sauce “tasting like ketchup” and worst of all, Domino’s was selling an “imitation pizza.”

The company pivoted off this act of contrition and promised to do better … and more than survived.

Penn and Stein implied the Hillary First Lady years constituted Hillary 1.0. Her tenure as an ostensibly positioned moderate senator served as Hillary 2.0. Her progressive campaign in 2016 represented Hillary 3.0

And Hillary the 2020 “firebrand,” taking Trump by storm, will be Hillary 4.0.

The real question is not whether Hillary will run, but will Sturm und Drang Hillary be able to flip any red states, regardless of whether or not she reassembles the Obama coalition?

Following In Nixon’s Footsteps

Two years are a political lifetime.

The economy is strong, now. The country is at relative peace. Divided government usually translates into little chance of turbo partisan legislation ever getting through both houses, let alone to the president’s desk.

Impeachment? Hillary understands impeachment, and there is little, if no chance, that Trump will be convicted in the GOP expanded Senate.

Why bother?

What happens if the economy starts going south and the markets are no longer volatile, but instead are heading straight down? What about unforeseen exogenous events overseas, possibly requiring a U.S. military response? What about Donald Trump’s act wearing thin after all these years?

In 1968, there were zero torch-light parades demanding the return from exile for Richard Nixon.

Having said that, the Vietnam War and the popular revolt against this quagmire prompted #36 Lyndon Johnson to resign. The Democrats were a hot Chicago mess. There was an opening for the Old Nixon to become the New President Nixon.

Hillary is not a new, exciting commodity (e.g., second-place Beto), having lost not once, but twice. And yet, no one knows the exact political landscape one year from now, let alone on November 3, 2020.

Will Hillary successfully recalibrate her brand, persona and reputation to prompt Democrats and independents to once again back Hillary with new ingredients? If Nixon could be successfully repackaged even with his legendary paranoia, doesn’t that mean that Hillary could be The One for 2020?

Or maybe: “Hillary Now More Than Ever”?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-will-run-again-1541963599

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/12/clinton-aide-2020-run-983684

https://twitter.com/hashtag/hillary2020?lang=en

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/10/24/hillary-2020-trump-better-hope-not/?utm_term=.a374f8034d09

https://www.inc.com/cynthia-than/dominos-admitted-their-pizza-tastes-like-cardboard-and-won-back-our-trust.html

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