Tag Archive: Capitol Press Corps.


“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

 

 

 

The series of intensely covered noisy protests at  state capitols in Madison and Columbus brought back vivid memories for me of those who repeatedly threatened during the 1980s to take over the governor’s reception area, yes, the reception area.

During my service as the press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, you could always count on one group or another to take over the governor’s reception area at least once, if not twice a week. Wonder how I ever slept at night?

And if you are thinking that occupying state capitols and governor’s reception areas only impacts GOP chief executives, keep in mind that our Democratic predecessor (successor?) by the name of Jerry Brown installed nicely varnished, but highly uncomfortable benches in the waiting area to discourage long-term visits. These benches were not very forgiving for reclining and sitting tushies.

calgov

The Theatre of the Absurd would play out each week in the following fashion. Let’s say a group with a clear (mis)understanding between the responsibilities of the federal and state governments decides to go to Sacramento (of all places) and demand that the US get out of Central America. Hint: Sacramento is nowhere near Washington, D.C. in terms of location, authority or infinite wisdom.

You see there was this irritating guy by the name of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas (and just like Jerry Brown, he is still there) that were waving red flags in Nicaragua and getting the executive branch so mad that they even sent a Marine Colonel down to the White House basement to lead the fight against them. What was the name of that colonel? Hmmm…

Anyway, the “US Out of Central America” crowd would call the always receptive and easily excitable Capitol Press Corps in Sacramento and say that they were going to occupy the governor’s reception area if they don’t get to see the governor. Of course, they never called and asked for an appointment in the first place. Details, details.

So the time would come and the protesters would arrive with the cameras and newsies coming along and demand to the always affable and she-has-seen-every-nut-case-more-than-once receptionist Jackie Habacker Grunwald that they must see the governor. Jackie would then ask politely if they had an appointment…”Appointment, we don’t need no stinking appointment.” And then the theatre performance would ensue.

My phone would soon be ringing inside the governor’s press office, about 25 feet away from the reception area and the first of several media calls would breathlessly announce that the governor’s reception area was being taken over.

And I would reply: “Again? How many times has it been this week?”

Reporter: “Will the governor see them?”

Me: “Do they have an appointment?”

Reporter: “So the governor is not going to see them?”

Me: “If he did, what should he do? The presence of US forces overseas is a responsibility of the federal government. Alas, we are just a mere nation-state.”

Reporter: “Well, I guess they are going to seize the reception area.”

Me: “And let me tell you what is going to happen. At five minutes to six, the state police are going to announce that the governor’s office is closing in five minutes and they will ask the protesters to leave…”

Reporter: “Ah…uh…”

Me: “And then at 6 pm, the state police are going to politely announce that the governor’s office is closed, so please depart…”

Reporter” “Ya…”

Me: ”And then at 6:05 pm, the state police will announce that anyone who does not leave will be escorted out, cited and eventually released, which is exactly what the protesters want…and guess what?”

Reporter: “What?”

Me: “You get to cover it all because you are being used.”

Reporter: “Used!”

Me: “And then you will call me next week when the next group comes in and demands to see the governor because of Paraquat spraying of marijuana or whatever, and then they will take over the reception area…and you get to cover that charade as well. Get the picture.”

Even though my attitude was sarcastic and some may even say jaded, the key point is to not overreact because that is what the protesters want. The public will eventually tire of these tactics and tune them out. Stick to your principles and ride it out. And remember when it comes to democracy: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/01/AR2011030106108.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ortega

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraquat

http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/governors-suits

Should we even be asking this question?

Deep down I wish we weren’t even discussing the personal opinions of reporters and editors, no matter how valid or repugnant; they should be irrelevant to the beats and the stories they are covering.

Isn’t it the duty of the media to report the news, not be the news?

If reporters or editors want to be news makers then they should run for public office, sing for a touring rock-and-roll band, dance on Broadway, play big-league ball…do things that warrant coverage…by someone else.

helenthomas

This may sound naïve, but I yearn for the notion of covering the news and not interpreting the news, and certainly not expressing personal opinions. Reporters interviewing reporters still has the same effect on me as someone taking their fingernails to a chalk board.

Helen Thomas of Hearst News Service has long been regarded as the dean of the Capitol Press Corps, and close to a legend to those who follow the Fourth Estate. She was always given the privilege of asking the first news conference question to the President of the United States.

However, her earlier question to the Leader of the Free World about “so-called terrorists” may have been one of the first clues about her true feelings (a daughter of Lebanese immigrants) about the Arab vs. Israeli conflict. Her most recent comments about getting the Jews “the hell out of Palestine” and sending them “home” to Germany and Poland ended her half-century-long career. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/07/AR2010060701493.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline

My purpose here is not to blast Thomas for un-arguably anti-Semitic remarks (there are plenty who will do just that), but to express concern about reporters and editors not being satisfied in just merely reporting the news.

Dan Rather is now an (largely) unemployed former anchor because he and his “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes embarked upon a 2004 campaign to discredit George W. Bush and remove him from office. Whether W. was a good president or not, worthy of re-election, was for the people to decide…I know this sounds quaint, but it is not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killian_documents_controversy

The trend has been toward “setting the agenda” for the nation to follow. Huh? I thought that was the president’s job and the leadership in Congress and the governor’s mansions…not the paper of record or the major networks.

Today is a sad day for American journalism. It is a day in which the White House ripped the comments of a reporter as “offensive and reprehensible.” Wonder how many reporters harbor similar views?

I hope we never find out.

Back in my Sacramento press secretary days, one frequently heard the motto: “When in doubt; declare victory!”

There were oodles of people about, in our case the Democrats in the State Legislature, that were itching to point out every one of our foibles or defeats (real or imagined) to an appreciative Capitol Press Corps. In turn, we wanted to stay within the bounds of the truth and play up the governor’s accomplishments and accolades.

It is apparent from today’s media coverage http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2009/Oct/09/analysis__he_won__but_for_what_.html that Barack Obama’s team didn’t even know the Prez had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and naturally they were surprised to learn that he won. Macht nichts! It’s time to go out to the Rose Garden and have the audacity to declare victory.

obamanobel

Should he have been a little sheepish since he has only been in office for a little less than nine months, and really has not established that much of a record. Heck, according to the esteemed political commentators at Saturday Night Live, he has no record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT5Kl38fSVY

To Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the White House communications staff, Nobel Prize wins don’t come around everyday. Bill Clinton wanted one so badly, he could almost taste it (no pun intended). Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Forget about being surprised. It’s time to go out and declare victory as there are plenty in Washington DC who will gladly declare defeat for you. And as Harry Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington DC, get a dog.”

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