Tag Archive: CBS News


“We got the bubble headed bleached blonde;  Comes on at five.  She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye.  It’s interesting when people die;  Give us dirty laundry.”  —  Don Henley, Dirty Laundry, 1982

Big Government is broken.

The same is true with Big Media.bigmedia

The decline of legacy media – newspapers, magazines, television and radio – has been well documented.

The corresponding rise of digital native media – social media, blogs, news aggregators – has also been covered to death, including by Almost DailyBrett.

What is gaining increased traction is the loss of trust in Big Media – major newspaper mastheads (i.e., New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal), Big Three networks, cable news – as evidenced by the latest Gallup survey of 1,025 results, hailing from all 50 states with a 95 percent confidence level with a scientifically valid margin-of-error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The Gallup results are stunning: Only four-out-of-every 10 Americans have a great deal or fair trust and confidence in the media to report the news fully, fairly and accurately. Translated six-out-of-every 10 Americans have expressed a vote of no-confidence in the media.

In 1998 just 17 years ago, 55 percent had a great-to-fair confidence in the media. Today that number is down to 40 percent … well outside of the margin of error. Yes, the decline is precipitous and real.

Among younger Americans (18-49), the trust and confidence level in media is only 36 percent. There also exists a major gap between Democrats, whose trust fell to a 14-year low of 54 percent. Only 32 percent of Republicans express great-to-fair confidence in Big Media.

Gallup pointed to the former NBC anchor Brian Williams caper in which the celebrated anchor embellished on his experiences including being hit while covering the Iraq invasion in 2003 as the canary in the mine as it applies to the media’s loss of confidence.williamssorrydude

Not mentioned by Gallup was the totally fabricated and subsequently retracted “A Rape on Campus” by Rolling Stone.

The Gallup results effectively validate the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, which reported a continued decline in trust in media from 53 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2015. The eye-raising result was how 72 percent of Millennials gravitate first and foremost to search engines for breaking news and information.

And you wonder why Time Magazine is suffering from anorexia? And what happened to Newsweek, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News? Which traditional media outlet will be the next to bite the dust?

The media, which celebrates throwing digital, broadcast and printed rocks at the high and mighty, is under assault. What is the answer?

Maybe Big Media needs help from the “Dark Side”? Yes, Big Media needs better public relations … pronto.

An Adversary In Need of An Adversary?

Reporters leaving the profession to enter the growing ranks of public relations pros (flacks if you prefer) have quickly been labeled as joining the “dark side.” The premise is one is saying goodbye to objectivity and selling her or his soul to become an advocate. This transition was a career defining choice for the author of Almost DailyBrett.

Despite the animosity, media needs public relations pros for news and information. In turn, the PR pros need media – whether it be legacy or digital native – to get out their messages to stakeholders. In effect, they are friendly adversaries.

Now it seems that Big Media needs PR counsel … yes from those very same flacks and spin doctors newspapers, broadcast, news aggregators, bloggers etc. so despise.

Quite simply, Big Media has an unprecedented crisis of public confidence. Big Media relishes in setting the agenda for how we are supposed to think and what we are supposed to think about. Doesn’t this assumption of this precious responsibility strike you as being a tad … arrogant?

And what about the notion of media elites and how they are there for you … always for you? Brian Williams was on the front lines … even when he wasn’t. Dan Rather wore traditional Afghani robes and became Gunga Dan. He was also part of the celebrated caper involving forged documents, exposed by bloggers, purporting that President George W. Bush received favorable National Guard treatment in 1972. Both Brian and Dan permanently lost their anchors chairs at NBC and CBS respectively.cbs2

There is also the issue of the media elites learning to the left with the notable exceptions of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. They piously declare the obvious is not true, even though the massive evidence points the other way. Do you really think it was a wise idea to donate $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation fair-and-balanced George Stephanopoulos of ABC News? And let’s not forget the $600,000 per year paid by NBC News to Chelsea Clinton for four reports.

Let’s face it: It will be a long-and-hard fight for Big Media to restore the trust and confidence of the American people.

Maybe the answer lies with the word, objectivity. How about a systematic effort backed by actual level-playing-field reporting – not just sanctimonious pronouncements of being fair and balanced – that begins the multi-year effort to prove that Big Media gets it when it comes to its obvious perception problems? The Economist continues to thrive namely because it is intelligent and equally offends those on both the left and right.

Most of all how about a little humility? Do you think that is possible, particularly those that occupy the Big Anchor positions in God’s Time Zone (e.g., EDT)?

Naaahhhhh!!!!

http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/30/media/media-trust-americans/index.html

http://www.gallup.com/poll/185927/americans-trust-media-remains-historical-low.aspx

http://www.scribd.com/doc/252750985/2015-Edelman-Trust-Barometer-Executive-Summary

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/75000-in-charitable-donations-or-massive-conflict-of-interest/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/chelseas-nbc-600k-tv-gig-and-aspiring-journalists/

 

 

 

 “All I’m saying is that the idea that there’s one set of rules for us and another set for everybody else is true.” – Former President William Jefferson Clinton

What is it about that Clintons that draws elite media into their gravitational pull?

Last year, we learned that Brian Williams’ (remember his heroic military exploits?) NBC News provided Chelsea Clinton with a $600,000 annual salary for four news reports. Wonder why Chelsea of all people landed this big-time six-figure job with the left-of-center network?.

This week (no pun intended), we read that ABC’s chief anchor and This Week host George Stephanopoulos made three donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling $75,000, but did not report these contributions to either the brass at ABC News or more importantly to his hundreds of thousands of viewers.clintonstephanopoulos

Why not disclose that you were ostensibly assisting the 501 (c) (3) foundation in championing AIDS prevention and battling deforestation, George? You do care about these subjects, right George? Is the Clinton Foundation the only non-profit addressing these issues? Why not write checks to other NGOs?

PR pros have long urged clients to adopt a policy of radical transparency. They would urge you (George) to be fully transparent in your financial contributions to your former employer, William Jefferson Clinton. Instead George, you took the stealth route until you were indeed caught by news aggregator, POLITICO.

In the aftermath of disclosure by the media, Stephanopoulos issued the de rigueur apology and ABC circled the wagons and defended their guy, but the damage was already done.

Can we now reasonably expect that ABC News will fairly and accurately cover the Clintons, including probable Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, when its chief anchor and former Clinton disciple knowingly hides his contributions to the massive Clinton Foundation?

Keep in mind, the Clinton Foundation is not your grandfather’s 501 (c) (3). It is not even the Carter Center. Instead, it does some good on the surface while deep down it is an avenue for those who need “advice” and cherish “access” to and through the Clinton’s, and make a nice donation to save Haiti as well.

ABC, NBC …

Power corrupts, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord John Dahlberg-Acton

Guess that absolute corrupting power applies to the ultimate gatekeepers, big-time media.

Almost DailyBrett questioned the decision of NBC’s brass to hire Chelsea Clinton for the outrageous sum of $600,000 per year, even before the Brian Williams implosion. Chelsea departed NBC prior to her mumsy throwing her proverbial hat into the presidential ring. Still the questions persist: Why Chelsea? Did NBC practice “checkbook journalism”? And once again, can we now reasonably expect that NBC News will fairly and accurately cover the Clintons, and by extension the Clinton Foundation?chelseanbc4

Another question that comes to mind as the presidency is an open seat in the 2016 quadrennial cycle is whether the networks and other left-of-center media can be expected to even be remotely fair and objective in covering the Republicans.

Whattyathink George Stephanopoulos?

Whattyathink Brian Williams?

Whattyathink Dan Rather?

ABC and NBC are not the only sinners in this drama. CBS lost its objectivity virginity when it comes to favoritism of the Clinton’s favorite political party with the infamous 2004 Rathergate and the phony military documents about George W. Bush’s National Guard duty. The documents were exposed as forgeries; Bush was re-elected and a bitter Rather decided to spend more time with his family.

This week, we learned the University of Virginia is suing Rolling Stone magazine for deliberately doctoring a photo of Associate Dean Nicole Eramo to make her appear to be a villain in the now-retracted 2014 “A Rape on Campus” story.rollingstonestory

The sensational account that came after the deliberate attempt to target a wealthy fraternity on a rich campus has been labeled as “impact journalism” by the Washington Post.

One must wonder what other forms of “impact journalism” the media elites have in mind.

Can hardly wait to check out the coming plethora of stories that “objectively” cover the Clintons.

Wonder if there will another standard of reporting for those who dare to disagree with Bill, Hill and Chelsea?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/05/14/george-stephanopoulos-donations-to-clinton-foundation-immediate-crisis-for-abc-news/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/15/us/politics/george-stephanopoulos-discloses-gifts-to-clinton-foundation.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/05/george-stephanopoulos-discloses-contribution-to-clinton-207120.html?hp=rc1_4

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/philanthropy/24491-the-philanthropic-problem-with-hillary-clinton-s-huge-speaking-fees.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/05/13/lawsuit-against-rolling-stone-claims-doctored-photograph-cast-dean-as-villain/?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/chelseas-nbc-600k-tv-gig-and-aspiring-journalists/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/youre-so-vain/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/its-like-deja-vu-all-over-again/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/impact-journalism/

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lordacton109401.html

http://rove.com/articles/585

 

 

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies” –Winston Churchill, 1943.

churchill

(Editor’s note: As a gubernatorial press secretary, I was accused of lying by a few members of the media. I will go to my grave convinced that I was telling the truth, but in the way that I wanted to tell the truth. It is hard to conceive the high stakes involved and the pressure upon presidential press secretaries as literally hundreds of lives could be compromised by loose lips and a lack of judgment. Read on.)

Jody Powell “The Other Side of the Story” and Larry Speakes “Speaking Out” were Presidential press secretaries of sequential administrations (Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981) and (Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989). They hailed from opposite sides of the great American political divide, but their experiences working with difficult US political media, particularly the White House Press Corps, unites them based upon common experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jody_Powell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Speakes

They also were both guilty of lying to the media and by extension the general public to protect the lives of American service men and women as well as civilians. Are their actions any more acceptable or deplorable today nearly two decades later?

Both Powell and Speakes were placed in remarkably similar, extremely delicate positions involving the confidentiality of imminent American military intervention: Powell, the American rescue mission of hostages taken by Iran in April, 1980; and Speakes, the American invasion of Grenada in October, 1983.

Despite the similarities, there is one key difference: Powell was briefed about the rescue mission in advance and was compelled to lie to protect its confidentiality and with it, American lives; Speakes was misled by the National Security Advisor and subsequently was accused of deliberately lying by the media.

Jack Nelson, the LA Times Washington, D.C. bureau chief, confronted Powell point-blank during the Iranian hostage crisis asking: “You aren’t thinking about doing anything drastic like launching a rescue mission, are you?”

“This was the moment of truth, or more accurately, of deception,” Powell remembered. “Now I was faced with a direct question. With a swallow that I hoped was not noticeable, I began to recite all the reasons why a rescue mission would not make any sense.”

jody-powell

Even though there were similarities about the need to protect lives and not jeopardize an American military operation, the Powell and Speakes dilemmas were not exactly the same. Speakes stated categorically: “(National Security Advisor) Rear Admiral John Poindexter hung me out to dry, and I didn’t even know it.”

Instead of Jack Anderson of the LA Times, it was Bill Plante of CBS News asking the direct question. Speakes relayed Plante’s question to Poindexter, the president’s National Security Advisor, and was told that an invasion of Grenada was “preposterous” and that he (Speakes) should “knock it down hard.”

Later Plante asked a second question of Speakes, after hearing reports of US mobilization in the Caribbean. This time, White House Chief of Staff James Baker, told Speakes to “be careful about what you say” and asked him to report to the White House mess the following morning at 5:45 am. Speakes was finally told the truth at this meeting and asked to announce the invasion to the media at 7 am.

speakes

“Not only was I furious about having been deceived, but I had been given just an hour or so to go through dozens of pages of material and prepare myself to present it to the press and to the world in some coherent fashion,” Speakes said. “That was treatment about as unfair as I had ever received. I had never been so mad in my life, but I knew there was nothing I could do except choke it down and head out there in front of the press and try to do my job.”

Powell even asked Plante what he would have done if the Reagan White House was truthful and confirmed the Grenada invasion plans: “I don’t know; we would have tried to find some way to use what we know without endangering the operation.” That answer begs the question as to exactly how CBS could air that story without alerting the Marxist rebels and compromising the US invasion and the lives of American military personnel and civilians on the island.

“That in itself would seem to confirm the wisdom of the White House judgment,” Powell said. “You cannot expect government to leave such questions in the hands of the fourth estate. The consequences for error are too severe.”

These two situations, not identical but similar, bring up another intriguing question: Is it best to keep the press secretary in the dark about highly classified national security matters, thus not putting that individual in the position of having to deliberately lie?

Or is it better to brief the lead spokesman and leaving it to her or his judgment as to when it is permissible and even wise to lie?

“I have always preached to members of the White House staff, ‘Tell me everything, so I’ll know not only what to say, but what not to say,” Speakes said. “…Ninety percent of the politicians deal with press secretaries in the same fashion. Two exceptions were Jimmy Carter, who gave extraordinary access to Jody Powell, and Dwight Eisenhower, who did the same with Jim Hagerty. It’s no accident that Hagerty and Powell were two of the best press secretaries of all time.”

Powell sympathized with Speakes predicament stating: “Mr. Speakes made it clear if a lie was required and he was sent out to tell it, he wanted to know what was at stake. And he was exactly right. Keeping the press secretary in the dark can create serious problems.”

Powell said this unfortunate practice erodes the effectiveness of the press secretary. “Putting the guy whose business is information in a position that makes him appear to be uninformed, out of touch, and not trusted makes no sense over the long haul.”

More to the point, Powell said: “…If a secret is worthy lying about to protect, it makes sense to come up with the most effective lie possible…Dealing with the press, particularly in ticklish situations, is very much an art. You cannot treat the press secretary like a robot and then expect him to perform like an artist.”

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