Category: PR Train Wrecks


“First of all, a campaign is a marathon, you know that. I don’t think he (Biden) was up for a marathon. I think he would have been worn down already in the campaign by this time if he had to be out there everyday.

“Plus, let’s be honest: He’s a bit of a gaffe machine. He’d be saying all sorts of different things.” — Liberal Political Pundit Bill Maher

Can Joe Biden take “The 5th” the clear way to the presidency?

Does he benefit that his name is not Donald Trump?

Can he simply follow Napoleon’s axiom: “Never interfere with the enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself”?

This is the year in which Covid giveth and Covid taketh.

The infectious disease has greatly reduced Joe Biden contacts with the media and the voters. And with the reduction of these contacts, the potential for embarrassing gaffes goes down as well.

Almost DailyBrett has adhered to two political truisms during his career: The first is you can’t beat someone with no one.

The second is the race for the Presidency is a choice, not a referendum. It always has been, it always will be.

The two truisms are complementary. For example, the 1980 challenger (e.g., Ronald Reagan) stepped up on the debate stage and said, “There you go again” to unpopular incumbent Jimmy Carter.

After the debate, David Broder of the Washington Post wrote: Carter had “accomplished almost every objective except the most important one: The destruction of Reagan’s credibility as a President.”

Some chief executives adopted Rose Garden strategies with no debates, attempting to ignore the challenger and run out the clock. Richard Nixon won the 1972  battle against George McGovern, but ultimately lost the war with Watergate two years later.

What happens when the challenger adopts a Del-a-Where Bunker Strategy (DBS)? Can Joe Biden go underground for four months, leaving all the warm-and-fuzzy partisan activist media to unleash their 24-7-365 fury on Donald Trump?

The basement strategy may sound tempting to Biden’s always nervous handlers, but he still has to emerge from his subterranean refuge to announce his choice for a vice president, a bleeding heartbeat away from the presidency. He also must deliver his Democratic Convention acceptance speech behind the safety of the warm-and-fuzzy teleprompter.

And he has to debate Donald Trump at least three times.

The first two can be carefully calibrated and controlled. The debates bring the greatest risk, turning a preferred referendum into a contentious choice with equal amounts of public attention on both the incumbent and the challenger.

Playing The Expectations Game

 “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” — White dude Biden to black radio show host Charlamagne Tha God

“To have that mindset, you must have the attitude that we, Black Americans, we own you. We can take you for granted. … That to me shows you that Black Americans are an appendage of a party. That’s the biggest turnoff I’ve heard from a politician in a long time.” — Black Entertainment Television (BET) Founder Robert Johnson

As the debates approach and expectations need to be managed the question becomes: How far can Democratic operatives talk down Joe Biden’s debating prospects without denigrating the former vice president?

And … How far can Democratic operatives talk up Donald Trump’s extensive stage presence and television experience (e.g., “The Apprentice”) without praising the president?

Do they acknowledge as Bill Maher said that Joe Biden is “a bit of a gaffe machine”? Okay, maybe more than “a bit.”

Even though Biden is sitting on a double-digit lead nationally and mostly within-the-margin of error (MOE) edges in battleground states (i.e., Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania), his support is predicated more on not being Donald Trump than on being Joe Biden.

Trump supporters by a 2/1 margin are more enthusiastic about the president. Biden backers are the mirror opposite; they are not enthusiastic about their guy, but detest and loathe (being kind here) Trump.

And there lies the temptation for the Biden team to glide toward the presidency, limiting appearance and interviews.

You can’t utter a gaffe if you don’t say anything.

Didn’t President Hillary Clinton adopt a similar strategy?

Who did she run against?

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/504617-bet-founder-bidens-you-aint-black-remark-biggest-turnoff-from-a-politician-in

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/maher-says-biden-sidelined-by-coronavirus-rules-helped-shut-down-gaffe-machine

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fox-news-poll-biden-widens-lead-over-trump-republicans-enthusiastic-but-fear-motivates-dems

Silence is deafening. “Activists” are winning. Crime is paying.

And the “Pioneer Mother” became collateral damage in America’s Cultural Revolution.

She was one of the targets of America’s “Cancel Culture.” Today, she is out of sight in “safe storage.”

Will she ever see the light of day again, anywhere on the University of Oregon campus?

The six-foot tall bronze statue by Alexander Phimister Proctor was a 1932 gift to the university. She peacefully sat for almost eight decades in one of the most tranquil and beautiful parts of the UO campus.

That was the case until Saturday night, June 13.

That’s when mob rulers with sledge hammers arrived. The Pioneer Mother and her bronze colleague, the Pioneer, were toppled to the ground in wanton acts of vandalism as security slept and the campus administration cowered.

Now that violent protesters have leveled both statues, the university administration is faced with a decision: Should the statues be eventually restored on campus while a legitimate debate about their appropriateness is conducted or should the statues be permanently closed and moved away forever?

And who is the winner? What precedent is being established? What’s next for the destructive power of the sledge hammer?

We all know that history is the loser. Oregon came into the union on Feb. 14, 1859 as a free state. Oregon did not participate in slavery. There are no Confederate statues to be found in Oregon.

Almost DailyBrett is taking the “over” on the over/under scale as to whether the administration will simply express sympathy to the sentiments of the mob. They will rationalize the action was not misogynist because the Pioneer bit the dust as well.

Still your author must ask: ‘What did the Pioneer Mother do to anyone?’ 

Did she trample on Native Americans? Did she utter racist statements? Did she fly the Stars and Bars? Did she support Donald Trump?

As a University of Oregon alum (M.A. in 2012), a football season ticket holder, a Duck Athletic Fund member for three decades, and a resident of Eugene, your author is shocked — but not surprised — by the lack of local outcry by our politically sensitive community.

A few have contended the Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer collectively did not tell the agonizing story of the Native Americans at the time of the settlers. Fair enough. Isn’t the answer a respectful statue or memorial that salutes the contributions and tribulations of the first Oregonians?

Wouldn’t a compromise include representations of both the pioneers and the Native Americans? Isn’t dragging off the-never-to-be-seen-again Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer into “safe storage” a surrender to those who have no interest in history and no sense of decency?

For University of Oregon Michael H. Schill and his staff, they live and administer in perpetual quivering fear of the university’s faculty and students, both returning in the fall.

Which is a more difficult sell: Explaining why the Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer were restored while a debate ensues? Or simply bidding adieu to the Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer?

Oh … and let’s not forget to ask: Will the perpetrators ever be brought to justice?

At least we don’t have to argue about the “Civil War” anymore.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/06/15/statues-knocked-down-university-oregon

https://www.registerguard.com/news/20200613/activists-topple-pioneer-statues-on-university-of-oregon-campus

https://www.registerguard.com/news/20200615/schill-pioneer-statues-wonrsquot-return-to-previous-pedestals-on-university-of-oregon-campus

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

Back in the 1980s and into 1990s, Almost DailyBrett drove a sleek and sexy BMW 635csi.

She was beautiful. She was well-designed. She was high maintenance. It cost a fortune to take her out to dinner.

That was then, this is now.

Today Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) at $185 billion and counting has a higher market cap — stock price x number of shares — than the three legendary German auto designers/manufacturers combined (i.e., BMW. Daimler AG, Volkswagen) at $151 billion.

How can that be?

The time-tested names Bayerische Motoren Werke (1916),  Daimler (1926), and Volkswagen (1937) are legendary and enduring symbols of German engineering. Having acknowledged this undeniable fact and provided the totally justified praise, one still must ask: Do these companies and their respective stock prices point to the past or to the future?

After all a company’s stock price is a forward — rather than a — lagging indicator. Right?

Visiting the BMW Museum and BMW World in München in 2017, your author was impressed by the company’s century-long achievements when it came to the design of internal combustion engine automobiles and motorcycles. Having said that, the story fell off — literally the wheels came off — when it comes to electric vehicles (EV). The BMW offering is an ugly duckling.

Is this Bavarian econo-box with an electric charger, “The Ultimate Driving Machine?” Seriously?

Do you think that Elon Musk is quivering in his boots? The BMW i3 EV box looks like … a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf. Are those auto also-rans now competitors to BMW?

Considering that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen — let alone long-time American and Japanese competitors — have been making gas powered vehicles for decades, do they really want to cannibalize their existing businesses? Are their collective hearts really into no gasoline, no emission, clean and environmentally responsible EVs?

The answer may be found in their ugly EVs. Can you see the difference between the sleek lines of the 20th Century BMW 635 csi and the boxy contours of the 21st Century BMW i3 EV? Did the same company design these vehicles?

What happened? Why is BMW going backward?

Tesla Is A Pure Play

Before going further, Almost DailyBrett must provide a consumer warning after buying and selling Tesla stock five times before, making a nice profit four times. Your author owns a handful of TSLA shares now as he writes this submission.

Musk will never be hampered with the concern about competing against his own business. Tesla designs and manufactures EVs, ion lithium batteries and related software. Does the South Africa Wunderkind have a singleness of purpose? Of course not, he also guides privately held SpaceX in his spare time as the company propelled Americans into space for the first time since 1998.

As $400 million net worth Mr. Wonderful investor Kevin O’Leary recently said, Tesla is the way that investors can participate in the SpaceX story. Tesla is four figures expensive and has an astronomical 89 times forward earnings P/E ratio (stock price/forward annualized earnings per share). Shareholders need to watch this volatile stock carefully and take Maalox on the side.

For the time being, TSLA is a trading stock not a long-term buy and hold.

Now that the requisite investor warning has been issued, it’s perfectly acceptable to be dazzled by the beauty of Tesla’s sexy cars. In an absolute marketing coup, Musk showed off Tesla’s truck, semi and most of all its sexy lineup of cars — Model S sedan, MSRP $74,990, Model 3 sedan, $37,990 and Model X SUV, $79,990 — to car aficionado former Tonight Show host/comedian Jay Leno.

“Jay Leno’s Garage” is a prime-time show, following “Shark Tank,” on Wall Street on steroids network, CNBC. One can only imagine the average wealth of “Garage” and “Tank” viewers. Heck, Musk and Leno even showed off the Tesla roadster, which will only set you back about $200,000.

Is it time for Almost DailyBrett to trade in his Miata roadster? Don’t think so.

When it comes to Tesla, the company is pointed toward a no-combustion engine, no gas-guzzling and no emissions-into-the-atmosphere future.

While other companies are kicking and screaming as they are being dragged along to the electric vehicle horizon, Tesla is the pioneer, best in breed and No. 1 EV and ion lithium battery innovator all rolled into one.

Is TSLA a cult stock, based upon the Steve Jobs-type innovation of Elon Musk? Yes.

Is that a good enough reason, not to buy the stock? Does sex sell?

https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/DAX:IND/members

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/every-electric-car-ev-range-audi-chevy-tesla/

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/wealth-management/112315/net-worth-shark-tank-cast.asp#2-kevin-oleary

 

There is no joy that comes from giving a student a “Falcon,” let alone three “Falcons.”

And yet as a former tenure-track university professor, one learned to always adhere to a carefully written and periodically strengthened (before a given term begins) class syllabus to ensure every student is treated and graded fairly.

If a student believes he or she has been wronged in the submission of the final grade, the first course of action is to appeal directly to the instructor. The second is to take the case to the applicable department chair, who will either sustain or change the decision of the professor. The third is a comparable appeal to the college dean with the same set of options.

And finally, there is the university Board of Academic Appeals. The ruling of this board is final for either party.

Almost DailyBrett was taken before the board in spring 2018 for three failing grades he gave as it turned out … to an African-American student. Even though your author is happily retired, he still has present-day reflections about this process.

Before proceeding with this epistle, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provisions must be upheld. The student in question is not be named and will not be identified. For the purposes of this discussion, the last letter of the Greek alphabet — “Omega” — will be substituted to protect the student’s identity.

Sports Illustrated photo – Kevin in the end zone

Omega submitted a petition to the Board of Academic Appeals including accusing your author on multiple occasions of being a “racist.” My consistent grading reflected the fact the student in question recorded five or more unexcused absences during 20-teaching-days courses, plus not working with classmate teams. The result as prescribed in the syllabi, three failing grades.

These “Falcons” were not instances of “can’t” — Omega was a good writer, solid presenter, a talented graphic artist — but of “won’t.” Someone, who for whatever reason refuses to attend class and team meetings, when they have all the tools to succeed and thrive is particularly sad.

Almost DailyBrett totally rejects this hateful R-label and is proud of his lifelong record of working successfully with the African-American community. Your author always displayed proudly in his offices a 1976 Sports Illustrated photograph of himself with LB Rod Martin (left) and S Dennis Thurman (right) from the USC vs. UCLA game. The same image is on the home wall of history as this post is being composed.

In the end, your author’s grading decisions were affirmed by the Board of Academic Appeals, which is comprised of faculty members and students. The reason in my humble opinion (IMHO) lies with the tight consistent language in the syllabi — the language was identical — for all three classes. The same set of rules applied to all students, ensuring a level playing field.

What About Today’s Cancel Culture?

Another professor faced with Omega’s non-performance in his class, did not give the student a “Falcon.” Regardless of the strict language in his syllabus, the student was given an “incomplete.” That professor was not taken to the Board of Academic Appeals. Was he smarter? Is discretion the better part of valor?

Considering today’s permissive, fearful and intolerant political atmosphere, would Almost DailyBrett be facing suspension for giving three falcons to an African-American student? Would the Board of Academic Appeals be disbanded for sustaining a tenure-track assistant professor’s grading? Would your author be shown the door upon being accused of racism?

The likely answers to all three of these questions are … ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’

Almost DailyBrett is ready to believe virtually anything in our new Cultural Revolution when the statue of Winston Churchill, who beat racist fascist Nazi Germany, is defaced, and arguably the greatest epic movie of all time, “Gone With The Wind,” is dropped by HBO.

When will the books be burned?

An effective Democracy must be a nation of laws and agreed-upon procedures. If these laws and procedures are inadequate for today’s civilization, they can be and should be amended.

But what happens to those who enforce the laws and the rules? What about those who go by the book or the syllabus? What about those who are merely accused of the stupidity of singling out individuals just because the hue of their skin? Do they deserve to suspended, terminated and put out to pasture just for doing their jobs?

As a retired professor and active blogger contemplates the specter of facing the music just two years ago, one must wonder what would have happened if spring 2018 was actually spring 2020?

Would the student in question be the focus of the university review or would your author be shown the door after being accused and doing his job?

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: The term “Falcon” was first heard by your author during his USC undergraduate days, shortly after The Wheel was invented. It’s use in this blog in no way minimizes the seriousness of giving a failing grade to any student.

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-ferpa

https://www.cwu.edu/academic-appeals/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/leaving-on-your-own-terms/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/never-answer-hypotheticals/

“I would like to get my reputation restored, and I will engage in all lawful means from our legal system to ensure that occurs. It is the height of ludicrosity for anyone to suggest that a single bone in my body is racist.” — UCLA Accounting and Law Professor Gordon Klein

“There is no way in hell that black lives matter to you. You are one of, if not, THE most racist human that I have ever encountered in a professional setting.” — Former student Whitney Woods tweet about incoming ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication dean Sonya Forte Duhe.

Not incoming anymore. Duhe was accused of racism and microagressions.

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical of academia.” — First Daughter Ivanka Trump upon the cancellation of her Wichita State University commencement address.

Ivanka was just the latest woman to follow in the university speaker cancellation footsteps of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice.

After 39 years of teaching at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and School of Law, Professor Gordon Klein and his family are receiving threats of violence and are protected round-the-clock. His career at UCLA is over.

Instead of earning praise for a job well done, Klein is being ridiculed because he insisted that his students take their finals (the entire grade for his class) in Principles of Taxation on time.

If there is a day set aside for finals in the course syllabus, that is the prescribed day for each-and-every student. The purpose of a syllabus is to prescribe a level playing field and a reasonable set of expectations for all students.

As a USC graduate, Almost DailyBrett is not always predisposed to the other school in Los Angeles. One also suspects that Baby Boomer Klein was very close to retirement; he was an easy lamb to sacrifice by the junior campus of the University of California.

Who Runs Our Universities?

“In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story.” — Legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

“Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

Do you think Dr. Kissinger would be allowed to speak on a college campus? Forget about it.

Six years ago, your author was faced with an intriguing choice: Pursue a Ph.D with a fellowship at the aforementioned ASU Cronkite School or accept an offer as a tenure track Assistant Professor in Public Relations at Central Washington University. Big town/hot summers vs. small town/cold winters. Almost DailyBrett chose the latter.

The dream of teaching public relations, corporate communications and investor relations as a professor came true. The first inclination was to teach until the 70th birthday arrived. Whether tenure was achieved or not was secondary.

Three years ago, Almost DailyBrett decided the fourth academic year on campus would be the last. With F-U money invested and owning a nice comfortable house free and clear with wife Jeanne in Eugene, the decision to come home was made. Looking back, there are absolutely no regrets.

Your author left professional life at a time and place of his own choosing.

Would that have been the case, if your author was completing his tenure year — this past academic year — in his 65th year on the planet? Otherwise was there a rainy pasture in his future?

Even though CWU is located in relatively conservative Ellensburg, the seat of the State of Washington’s Kittitas County, Almost DailyBrett must personally question his own survival prospects on campus … any campus.

Before every COM 476 Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, students chanted: “Buy Low Sell High!”

Is “Buy Low Sell High” a microaggression comprised by the adjective “micro” and the noun it modifies, “aggression?” If a term of speech is micro, is it an aggression? Does it matter on today’s campuses? Does anything matter other than being affixed with the “racist” label?

Almost DailyBrett suspects his career as a Republican gubernatorial press secretary, corporate public relations director, international public relations agency senior VP and a director for a technology trade association … every position … each would serve as a potential strike against him.

Ivanka was denied an opportunity to speak.

Professor Sonya Duhe was denied an opportunity to serve.

Professor Gordon Klein was denied the opportunity to cap a great career and leave on his own terms.

Almost DailyBrett departed at a time and place of his own choosing. There is a satisfaction that comes from making the right choice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/ucla-professor-no-racism-in-refusing-to-cancel-final/2020/06/10/f5e6410e-ab82-11ea-a43b-be9f6494a87d_story.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/ucla-professor-suspended-under-police-protection-after-threats

https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/accounting/faculty/klein

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/06/06/cronkite-faculty-letter-incoming-dean-sonya-duhe-accused-racism-harm-schools-reputation/3166596001/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/asu-journalism-dean-out-microaggressions-police-good-tweet

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/coming-home/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/the-other-american-dream-f-u-money/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/is-the-word-racist-becoming-cliche/

https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article243436826.html

 

Comparing one year to another in a different era is always an inexact science.

It’s easy to poke holes in any comparison and thus attempt to render the point meaningless, but this author will not go down easily.

The “perfect storm” of volatile factors in 2020 reminds Almost DailyBrett of a terrible year … 1968.

Certainly, there are no direct equivalents of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy (and let’s keep it that way).

Neither is there a similarity to the eye-opening Tet Offensive nor directly related deaths of US soldiers, which exposed that America was systematically misled and deceived about the Vietnam War.

Consider that 2020 and 1968 will always be remembered as election years with flash-point incumbents.

Americans have been cooped up indoors for months, way too many losing their livelihoods in a provoked recession, and then the weather grew hotter and George Floyd was senselessly murdered by a Minneapolis criminal cop.

And similar to 1968 (e.g., Chicago riot), legitimate protesters had their voices and actions drowned out by organized anarchists (sounds like an oxymoron, but sadly it’s not) who want to hurt people, steal, burn and create havoc. If one Googles “Antifa Portland,” 619,000 results pour back in 0.33 of a second.

Reflecting back on 1968 — your author was 13-years-very-young — it literally took another decade-plus until America settled down again in the 1980s. Will it take that long after what is setting up to be a rotten, 2020?

There were more than a few, who detested the violence on university campuses and in the streets back in 1968. They became a political force of their own: “The Silent Majority.”

Is it deja vu all over again?

The Rebirth of the Silent Majority?

What about the overwhelming majority of Americans, who are sickened by what happened to defenseless George Floyd … begging for the right to breathe on Memorial Day? They want the officers responsible, particularly one in particular, to face severe music. Justice must be done.

Having said that, the preponderance of Americans are staying away from the streets. They are incredulous by what they’re seeing on television and social media.

Didn’t the overwhelming number of voters elect and re-elect the first-ever African-American president, Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012? We were internationally celebrated for being open and fair-minded. Are Obama’s historic elections now irrelevant?

The George Floyd murder comes across as an exploited opportunity by many who just want to destroy communities. They are looters, stealing from expensive stores. There are trigger-happy Yahoos with assault weapons — allegedly protecting places of business — just looking for any excuse to open fire.

Cable television and the Internet in 2020 are delivering these horrific videos and placing them in our collective faces. Didn’t television in 1968 bring the carnage of Vietnam into our living rooms on a nightly basis? At the time, the U.S. military drafted literally thousands to fight in rice paddies in a war, which was never explained, much less declared.

Then-candidate Richard Milhous Nixon called for a restoration of “law and order” on the 1968 campaign trail. Do we want another officer putting his knee on the neck of an unarmed man? The answer is an easy, ‘no.’ This abominable practice must stop now and forever.

At the same time, a riot usurping a protest is still a riot.

Can we conclude that a 21st Century equivalent of the 1960s Silent Majority detests and loathes rioters breaking windows, looting stores, burning vehicles, assaulting police officers, fire fighters, security personnel, chasing and intimidating reporters, and destroying Starbucks … just because it’s corporate Starbucks?

The Silent Majority wants to turn down the sound, cancel out the noise and return to some sense of normalcy.

Almost DailyBrett will be the first to admit making the wrong call in the 2016 election. This year started with rising markets, the best economy in one-half century, a positive atmosphere for any disciplined incumbent … assuming the incumbent is capable of political discipline.

Oh what a strange trip it has been: The Covid-19 outbreak, the unprecedented lock down, the forced recession, masked people fighting unmasked people, and then and now … the George Floyd murder and out-of-control chaos.

What’s next? There will be more. It’s not Morning in America, more like Midnight on the Streets.

Just as a turn of events spiraled out of control in 1968, the same seems to be true in 2020.

Who benefits and who does not — we need to be honest — no one knows.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/what-happened-to-the-exceptional-nation-that-twice-elected-barack-obama/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This is someone (President of the United States) whose grasp of science is at the third-grade level.” – New York Times science and health “beat” reporter Donald McNeil, Jr. during his May 12 CNN interview. He also called on the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to resign.

“Donald McNeil went too far in expressing his personal views . His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and to not offer his own opinions.” — New York Times management rebuking McNeil

Reporters should not be part of the story, let alone be the story.

The acceleration of the decline in public esteem in elite media is not solely attributable to the Fourth Estate’s collective hatred of the president, and ensuing pack mentality that ensures that any reporter, correspondent, anchor can never be seen as being even a tiny bit sympathetic to Donald Trump.

It was the same pack mentality that unofficially declared any positive discussion of Trump’s 2016 electoral chances (exception: FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten) was strictly verboten in print, digital format and broadcast. In effect, the media became a major part of the story and may have unintentionally suppressed Hillary Clinton’s GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, thus aiding and abetting Donald Trump’s narrow upset victory.

Almost DailyBrett noticed a disturbing trend years ago, even before Trump’s Apprentice days: Reporters interviewing reporters.

Wait. Aren’t reporters supposed to be covering news makers, the important achievers in our society? As a member of the great unwashed, your author wants to hear from Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx when it comes to virology, not Donald McNeil, Jr., who graduated summa cum laude from Cal Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in …  rhetoric.

And yet instead of a credentialed medical expert, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was interviewing McNeil about the Covid-19 outbreak and America’s response.

On what basis of fact does McNeil conclude that President Trump’s grasp of science is at the “third grade level,” “sycophant” Vice President Mike Pence should not be serving as the chair of the Corona Virus Task Force, and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield (MD, Georgetown University, 1977) should resign.

Should we all be wearing masks even outdoors, Dr. McNeil?

It’s a rare day when Almost DailyBrett totally agrees with the editors at the New York Times, but McNeil expressed his obviously biased political views and did not even attempt for even a nanosecond to report any facts. The rebuke from the New York Times was essentially a slap on the wrist.

Your author believes that if McNeil was to appear on one of the many ubiquitous reporters interviewing reporters shows, he should stick to his coverage based upon facts learned. Now that he has called for Redfield to resign from his leadership at the Centers for Disease Control, how can McNeil cover the agency fairly?

McNeil is now jaded and exposed. He needs to be taken off the beat. He is not impartial. All of his subsequent copy is now and forever suspect. The fault is McNeil’s, and McNeil’s alone.

The next time McNeil editorializing occurs (Almost DailyBrett is taking the “over”), the blame will be directed to the management of the New York Times.

Taking A Vow Of Poverty

“It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” — CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, Feb. 27, 1968

Your author remembers J-School back in the Stone Age (1975-1978).

We learned how to gather facts and report the news professionally, fairly and objectively with the views of both sides represented regardless of our personal expression.

As we all took a vow of poverty, our opinions were irrelevant and most of all … should not enter into our copy or scripts.

What mattered were the ex-cathedra statements and fallacies of our elected leaders. We were there to cover them … not to preach, pontificate or bloviate. Right, Jim Acosta of CNN?

And there it is, Washington Week In Review on PBS with panelists enlisted from more than 100 reporters (curiously none from cable market leader, Fox News). Each Friday night, if you didn’t have anything better to do, reporters kibbutz and provide you with their hallowed personal opinions. The “interpretation” disease is now widespread and mutating.

One commenter pointed to Almost DailyBrett’s admiration of the professionalism and demand for both sides of any story to be covered by revered former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. It was the very same Cronkite, who based upon years of coverage including on the ground in Southeast Asia declared the Vietnam War as a “stalemate.

Wasn’t Cronkite offering his opinion?

He was making a conclusion based on the on-the-ground facts immediately following the Tet Offensive, which made it clear the Communists had grabbed the upper hand in Vietnam. Declaring the Vietnam War as a “stalemate” was actually a mild description. America lost the war. The end came with helicopters on the roof of the collapsing American embassy in Saigon in 1975.

Isn’t Cronkite’s Vietnam declaration the same as McNeil’s opinion making?

Incorporating Cronkite and McNeil in the same sentence, besmirches the good name of 1972’s “Most Trusted Man In America.”

https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/05/12/donald-g-mcneil-jr-senate-hearing-coronavirus-sot-amanpour-vpx.cnn

https://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/panelists

https://www.usnews.com/news/ken-walshs-washington/articles/2018-02-27/50-years-ago-walter-cronkite-changed-a-nation

“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

%d bloggers like this: