Tag Archive: CNN


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

There are times when the First Amendment prevails.

There are times when arrogance and smugness fail.

There are times when there really are two sides to a story.

It’s amazing for Almost DailyBrett to watch and re-watch the July 18, 2016 interview between CNN’s Don Lemon and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on the supercharged subjects of race and policing, and realize the intensity, the passions, the issues and the rhetoric have not changed.

For Lemon, he was sitting side-by-side with Sheriff Clarke. The seven-figure anchor could not resort to the dependable “R” label under the first signs of intellectual pressure because the head Milwaukee County law enforcement officer is also … an African American.

Alas, the interview was not a satellite uplink, which would have provided Lemon with an easy forum for smirking, if not laughing during his reaction shots. The exchange was mano-a-mano and Lemon blinked, calling for a commercial break in the middle of the interview.

We’ll be right back, we’re going to go to break. Are you (Clarke) going to let me (Lemon) talk?” — Don Lemon in punt formation.

After the commercial appeals for legal tender, the interview continued with Sheriff Clarke back on offense and Lemon wondering … ‘who booked this guest?’ Dissent was talking back. Arrogance was being rejected. The other side of the story was being presented. First Amendment Rights were being exercised.

The optics were Sheriff Clarke refusing to be intimidated or to back down in the immediate aftermath of the death of three Baton Rouge peace officers, countering Lemon point-by-point with controlled intensity.

Clarke was well prepared for the interview with a defined agenda, compelling facts and information. Most of all, he was there on behalf of the law enforcement fraternity. He was standing up for all police officers, particularly those who paid the ultimate price for our safety.

David Alexander Clarke Jr. was the other side of the story, even though way too many in the Fourth Estate contend there is only one side to any story. They will make that determination without any help thank you very much.

Finis. Endo Musico.

The real question is, whether Lemon was prepared? Just as Apollo Creed did not take Rocky seriously, Lemon was obviously not ready to respond to the rhetorical exchange with Sheriff Clarke. The sheriff deals with the cruel world on the streets night-after-night rather than pontificating in a plush air-conditioned studio surrounded by adoring sycophants.

The CNN Apologencia will conclude that Lemon did not lose the exchange. Fair enough, but he did not win.

Four years later, the issue as everyone knows has exploded for two weeks and counting, reignited by the senseless Memorial Day murder of George Floyd by one Minneapolis police officer in particular and four officers in toto. All four officers are staring at some major jail time, up to 50 years for second-degree murder or being accomplices to murder by asphyxiation.

Due process will run its course.

In the meantime a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council — and even New York Mayor Bill De Blasio — have called for defunding police departments. Minneapolis would replace its peace officers with a “new transformative model for cultivating safety.” How does the “transformative model” work, if someone is breaking into your house or stealing your car?

Back in 2016, Donald Trump promised to end crime in America. The late Charles Krauthammer scoffed at this notion, reminding his readers and viewers that crime has been a plague on societies since Babylonian King Hammurabi — served from 1792-1750 BC — and his code of 282 laws. If Hammurabi was concerned with crime and punishment almost 4,000 years ago, why should we take thousands well-intentioned police officers off the beat because of few bad cops in the 21st Century?

Police officers put their lives on the line every day. Some pay the ultimate price for our safety. Sheriff David Clarke dared to stand-up for his fellow police officers, some of whom recently kneeled with peaceful protesters, while protecting communities from those selfishly exploiting a tense situation with violence and criminality.

When divisions expand and the mood becomes even more volatile and explosive, the public need for media professionalism and fairness becomes greater than ever.

Almost DailyBrett believes that dissent must not be silenced by partisan media intimidation.

Your author contends that arrogance and smugness must not prevail.

And most of all, there are always two sides to a given story and both deserve their day in the courtroom of public opinion.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/veto-proof-majority-of-minneapolis-city-council-supports-defunding-police-mayor-objects/

https://www.kgun9.com/news/national/sheriff-clarke-on-recent-police-shootings-i-predicted-this

https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/07/18/don-lemon-sheriff-david-clarke-police-shootings-full-intv-ctn.cnn

 

 

 

 

“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

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

“Political opposition”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hold On Mr. President!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Record player?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You Know” Four Times In One Sentence?

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

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

Eleven words. How tough was that?

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

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

That is the essence of communication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know?

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

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

CNN’s “lower-third” chyrons have rendered the Democratic National Committee … redundant.

Nielsen’s third-place out of the top three cable news networks CNN can’t resist mudslinging against Donald Trump with the most incendiary words this side of Pravda. 

“Angry”

“Mistakes”

“Melts Down”

“Ignored”

“Propaganda Session”

During Trump’s spirited defense of his administration’s record on the response to the Corona Virus Monday, CNN quickly flashed chyrons to undercut the words of the President of the United States of America.

Has CNN replaced the thoughtful journalism it used to practice with unvarnished propaganda of its own … against in its view a loathed, despised and hated president?

The answer is obvious.

CNN in its desperate attempts to improve upon its perpetual third-place Nielsen rating — dropped the straight journalistic tradition of Bernard Shaw — and raised the level of scorched earth partisanship to an art form.

One of the causes for CNN’s ratings nadir is there are no reasons anymore for moderate-to-conservative independents and Republicans to watch the once admired network.

“Press Pandemic”

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

“Every question from Acosta is an effort to score political points rather than elicit information. It is a press pandemic that continues to rage without relief.” — George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley

The grandstanding of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, including “mansplaining” medicine to Dr. Deborah Birx, has drawn scorn for months, if not years, to literally no effect.

The nightly incendiary commentary lineup of CNN’s prime-time lineup of partisan polemics — Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper — has left CNN’s once-revered news division in the dust. When the choice came down to objectivity vs. partisan politics, CNN has made and compounded its unfortunate decision.

And now attention is being given to the subliminal codes being sent to CNN’s maybe still impressionable audience through the use of exploitative chyrons, electronically generated captions superimposed on television screens. The lack of any semblance of trust in CNN has resulted in today’s careful monitoring of these lower-third devices.

Similar to the mesmerizing stock tickers flowing beneath the talking sell-side analyst heads on market news CNBC, the CNN chyrons compete for the attention of its viewing audience against the news and information being provided by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the balance of the White House Corona Virus task force.

Nixon-Agnew speechwriter turned New York Times columnist William Safire (1929-2009), looking down from heaven, never imagined a respectable national network would use the same words of politics to “confound, obscure and occasionally to inspire.” 

Is CNN a “nattering nabob of negativism?”

CNN is basically telling viewers, ‘We know better. We decide what is true and what is false. And to make sure you are not believing the president … and more importantly, you vote against him in November, our chyrons are dog whistles to hopefully influence a still impressionable electorate.’

Almost DailyBrett must ask: Isn’t that the definition of shameless unapologetic partisan media?

CNN mavens and their defenders at university journalism schools will engage in WhatAboutism as in what about the lower-third of Fox News screens? While your at it CNN, what about the MSNBC chyrons?

As mom once told you: “Two wrongs don’t make a right” … let alone three wrongs.

Divided America desperately needs a truly professional all-news network, which is dedicated to ascertaining both sides of a given story. CNN used to hold that distinction, but alas those days are gone..

Is a return to Walter Cronkite objectivity too much to ask?

https://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-chyrons-trump-coronavirus-briefing-2020-4

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/jonathan-karl-vs-jim-acosta/?

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

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/not-pretending-to-be-fair-anymore/

Deborah L. Birx, M.D.

“It (Trump acquittal celebration) was dark because he’s made clear that his mind is dark. This is somebody in deep psychological distress right now. Self-pitying, insecure, angry. He doesn’t accept abstract concepts like right or wrong, like morality or immorality, like true or false. He recognizes what is good for him in the moment.” — New CNN White House correspondent John Harwood

Right or wrong? Morality or immorality? True or false? Does this dispassionate interpretation say more about Donald Trump or John Harwood?

To his credit, Harwood earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics from a good school, Duke University. Alas, he did not earn a bachelor’s or better yet … an advanced degree in psychology (e.g., study of mind and behavior) or psychiatry (e.g., study of the treatment of mental illness).

With that undeniable information in mind, Almost DailyBrett must ask: On what basis is Harwood able to appear on elite national television and “diagnose” the president as being “in deep psychological distress?”

The day after President Trump’s oh-so-predictable-for-months easy acquittal by the U.S. Senate, POTUS #45 was last seen happily displaying the front page of the Washington Post, conjuring images of Harry Truman holding up the 1948 Chicago Tribune headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

No reporter, editor, anchor, correspondent ever questioned Truman’s psychological fitness, so why is it open season on the present incumbent?

“I have asked this question a number of times in (the media) describing the president’s state of mind, he’s angry, he’s unhinged and all of these negative attributes, prescribed by the arm-chair psychologists in the media.” — Long-time media analyst for the Washington Post, CNN and Fox News Howard Kurtz

As far as Almost DailyBrett knows, the only elite media commentator with any academic credentials to credibly analyze a public figure’s state of mind is the late Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer. He earned his M.D. in Psychiatry from Harvard University in 1975.

“Trump is right. It (elite liberal media) is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing, masquerading as news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

And they are self-anointed psychological and psychiatric analysts as well.

Never Took A Psychology Class In College

Almost DailyBrett holds two academic degrees, a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting journalism from the University of Southern California in 1978, and a master’s degree in communication and society from the University of Oregon in 2012.

Your author went on to become a political reporter, a gubernatorial press secretary, a semiconductor industry communicator and a university professor in public relations, corporate communications and investor relations. Having said all of that, there was never even one class in psychology or psychiatry, much less a degree in either subject.

Unlike Charles Krauthammer, we know Harwood does not have a degree in either of these subjects along with certainly dozens and dozens of elite media practitioners.

If that is indeed the case, why do they believe they are qualified to publicly diagnose — without violating the medical privacy HIPAA — psychological impairment of a certain offending politician?

And with this precedent established will they (reporters, correspondents) make similar mental fitness conclusions for others in the future, who are not part of the their political party?

Could this practice be based upon simple unbridled arrogance as well?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly analyzed the empirically demonstrated loss of public esteem for the elite media during the course of the last four decades-plus as demonstrated by the Gallup Organization.

Are elite media adding to the political division in our country?

With only 41 percent nationally approving of their performance (less than Trump’s approval rating), including only 36 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans, the answer is obvious.

And when a White House “correspondent” and other elites goes way beyond their pay grades and training to question the sanity of a “vulgar” and “vindictive” president, is there any wonder why the esteem of the media has taken such a nose dive in our center right country (e.g., median voter)?

You don’t need an advanced degree in psychology or psychiatry to understand why.

 

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/not-pretending-to-be-fair-anymore/

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

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/is-msnbc-less-fair-than-cnn/

“Campaigns End. Revolutions Endure.” — Bernie Sanders campaign motto on his website, “Our Revolution”

Bernie is genuine.

Bernie is a true believer.

Bernie’s “Movement” has momentum or in campaign parlance, The Big Mo.

Bernie is good to the last drop with nearly 100 percent name recognition.

Just as the Republican establishment was too late in 2015/2016 in waking up to the populist campaign of Donald J. Trump, Democrats are confronting the reality of Vermont’s Independent Senator, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders as the party nominee for the 46th President of the United States.

With one week to go to the Iowa caucus, Bernie is surging in the Hawkeye State. The first in the nation New Hampshire primary is one week later. Bernie is leading in the Granite State as well.

One or two weeks is a political lifetime to borrow a well-worn political cliche, but the reality of Bernie is … the reality of Bernie. A plurality of Democrats are feeling the Bern.

Bernie’s en fuego.

As a carnivorous political animal with a long track record in electoral campaigns, lobbying and government, Almost DailyBrett can humbly sense momentum in polling and from the results of seven Democratic candidate debates.

Sanders — not Elizabeth Warren — is The Leader of the progressive tide. Warren is Hillary Clinton on steroids without the charm. The party gave Hillary her turn in 2016. She lost to Trump.

It’s now the progressives turn, and they have their undisputed champion.

Some may contend that Almost DailyBrett is overly influenced by his home town of über-liberal, über-progressive Eugene, Oregon and surrounding Lane County. The last time Lane County voted Republican for president was Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972 … barely.

Bernie for President signs — some professional and many others home made — are everywhere.

Eugene is a college town and Bernie draws substantial support from the 22,760 Millennial/Z-Gen student-body of the University of Oregon. Eugene can be seen as anecdotal, not representative of the Democratic electorate as a whole.

That doesn’t mean Sanders is not gaining steam with his candidacy bordering on a similar Barack Obama-style movement in 2008.

Hillary Doesn’t Like Bernie

“Nobody likes him (Bernie). Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney … .” — Hillary Clinton’s Hulu interview about Bernie Sanders

“I know she (Hillary) said ‘no one likes me.’ I know this is not the type of rhetoric we need right now when we are trying to bring the Democratic Party together.” — Bernie Sanders in response

“When Hillary says ‘no one likes him,’ no one likes her. That’s why she lost, no one liked her.” — President Donald Trump interviewed at Davos

With enemies like Hillary, who needs friends?

FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., appear at a rally at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, N.C. . (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Just as Trump ran against the “Deep State,” Sanders wants to run against the Democratic Industrial Complex (DIC) represented by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Some have complained that Bernie is less concerned with the party (e.g., he is not a registered Democrat), but more focused on The Movement. And yet we can today plausibly visualize his nomination this coming July in Milwaukee as the party’s choice for president.

The Presidency Is A Choice, Not a Referendum

“We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” — POTUS 2019 State of the Union Address

Regardless of what the Bernie supporters say or the Bernie detractors contend, the honorable senator from Vermont has not been properly vetted. Since the prospect of Bernie as the nominee, much less president was considered to be remote … elite media collectively concluded … ‘Why bother?’

The media and punditocracy dismissed Sanders as an aging socialist with no chance of winning the Democratic nomination in a country in which economic-freedom capitalism has worked spectacularly well (e.g., sustained growth, jobs, low unemployment, expanding 401Ks and IRAs).

Donald Trump will not win any personality contests, but he has been the president for more than three years. The coming election will not be a referendum on Trump, but a distinct choice between the incumbent president and quite possibly … Bernie Sanders.

Without reciting the real questions about Bernie’s big government Democratic socialist revolution and inquiring how it will be financed and its impact on our free enterprise economy, one must ask whether Bernie can flip any red states without losing any blue states?

Almost DailyBrett can state with 100 percent impunity (trying to be humble here … and failing): If the red states stay red, Trump is re-elected game, set and match.

A Sanders candidacy may result in one-party California becoming even bluer, if that is even possible. The same will be true for Ben and Jerry’s Vermont. Ditto for Rhode Island and Maryland. Will Virginia, Colorado and Nevada stay in the azul column?

Reportedly, the news desk at CNN has become very concerned at the prospect of Sanders nomination. The same may be true at MSNBC … or not.

 

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/01/25/could-it-be-bernie

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/01/23/democratic_attacks_on_sanders_are_long_overdue_142213.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/21/clinton-savages-bernie-sanders-points-sexism-his-campaign/

https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/bernie-is-frightening-the-democrats/

The same creepy New York maximum solidarity cell, which housed Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, later where sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide, now serves as the jail for incarcerated porn-star lawyer and media hound, Michael Avenatti.

El Chapo was convicted in 2019 for his notorious leadership of the dangerous Sinaloa drug cartel. He is now serving a life sentence in the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” a federal supermax correctional facility in Colorado. Guzman was housed the same Gotham jail cell, while awaiting his trial and life conviction.

Epstein was pondering his own sex trafficking trial, when he was found dead (from suicidal hanging) in the same infamous cell last August. A predictable media storm broke out about what went so horribly wrong with the prisoner oversight at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). Conspiracy theories abounded since then, and still do to this day.

Avenatti once dreamed of running for president of the United States.

He sued the president of the United States on behalf of his porn star client, Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). He was the darling of the major news networks … until he wasn’t.

Many Americans including Almost DailyBrett, have repeatedly wondered: When will white-color criminals actually serve jail time?

To describe Avenatti as a fraud is way too kind. He is charged with trying to extort Nike of $25 million, presumably to pay off his reported $10 million in accumulated debt.

And today, we read about Avenatti suffering in jail. He needs three blankets in order to sleep in his cold cell hell. He is having difficulties preparing for his upcoming Nike extortion trial.

Avenatti is being kept in solidarity confinement — a Special Housing Unit (SHU) — for “his own safety.” Guess mixing him with the jail population would not be a good idea. Considering his notoriety, other inmates may not take too kindly to having a big-shot attorney in their midst and may engage in attitude adjustment.

There Are Cases In Which Even Effective PR Cannot Help

How the mighty have fallen?

Avenatti was going to take out POTUS #45. He was cat nip for elite media (e.g., CNN, NBC … ).

Avenatti was a much sought after media star, now he is an inmate.

Almost DailyBrett recognizes there are particular cases when the die is cast, and effective and talented public relations counsel simply will not and cannot work … any longer.

Even if only half of the charges against him are true, Avenatti would still draw predictable questions about how he can live with himself. Does he even care?

Besides attempting to extort $20 million, swindling his client Daniels out of $300,000 in royalties for her book (“Full Disclosure”), and using a portion for his Ferrari lease, Avenatti has racked up $10 million in debts to his second wife, the State of Washington among others.

Avenatti faces a 36-count indictment in California for stealing client funds, tax crimes, bank fraud, false testimony, and aggravated identity fraud. For each and other charge from Nike to Stormy from fraud to theft, his answer is the same … “not guilty.”

He is being persecuted by the Trump administration. Sure.

Almost DailyBrett will plead guilty today (and maybe earlier as well) for harboring a healthy sense of the German compound noun, Schadenfreude. The word translates to being happy when someone else is sad … or in this case, sad, angry and incarcerated.

Harvard Constitutional and Criminal Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told the story about how he was once cancelled as a guest for one of CNN’s talking heads’ prime-time liberal opinion shows. The breathless CNN guest booker informed Dershowitz that he was being cancelled because of the availability of … you guessed it … MIchael Avenatti.

Wonder if CNN has any second thoughts about that decision, assuming CNN is actually capable of having any regrets?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michael-avenatti-jailed-in-isolated-unit-that-held-el-chapo-its-for-his-own-safety-warden-says/2020/01/21/e8525e82-3c8e-11ea-8872-5df698785a4e_story.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/21/judge-orders-michael-avenatti-prosecutors-to-explain-jail-conditions.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51201138

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/michael-avenatti-pleads-not-guilty-to-ripping-off-stormy-daniels.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michael-avenatti-faces-36-count-indictment-california-n993391

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-media-elevated-michael-avenatti-to-stardom-his-felony-conviction-reflects-on-them

 

“That’s one of the reasons why Trump kind of wants you to watch CNN instead of MSNBC. Because he knows on MSNBC no one will be defending him … Because we don’t bring on liars. I don’t bring on a liar. I won’t do that.” — MSNBC “Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell on Al Franken’s January 12 podcast.

It’s one thing to pretend to be fair and objective, when in reality you’re not. It’s another to remove all doubt, and …. be happy about it.

O’Donnell may have already raised arrogance to an art form, but does he really have to be gleeful about MSNBC winning the race to the bottom when it comes to fairness or to be more precise, the lack of fairness?

“One third of their (CNN) payroll loves Trump. So you’re guaranteed on any hour of CNN to a minimum one-third of the programming supportive of Trump. Some people on their payroll saying, ‘Here’s why Trump’s right.'” — MSNBC’s O’Donnell on CNN programming

O’Donnell was lamenting that CNN actually has guests that are one-third (really?) sympathetic to Trump, and will actually present why the president is right. The representation of both sides of the story does not exist on his “Last Word” and conceivably other MSNBC programs.

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask:

Are we reaching a new low point when not only are cable networks partisan (i.e., MSNBC and CNN, liberal, Fox News, conservative), but these media outlets blacklist any and all other voices who do not pass a sacred litmus test?

It’s not just a case in which viewers are selecting their own “news,” but they are not even being offered any semblance of any other point of view as a comparison … at least not on MSNBC.

The intensification of pro-Democratic bias/anti-Trump content on MSNBC as a counter to pro-Republican/pro-Trump programming on Fox News is paying off in terms of ratings (e.g., eyeballs) and with them, advertising.

According to Nielsen, Fox News Channel (FNC) won 2019 with a nightly average viewership of 2.57 million. MSNBC is second with 1.80 million evening viewers. CNN is third with … 1 million prime time viewers. If the world already has one MSNBC, why does it need another.

Whattyathink, CNN?

When Arizona Republican Senator Martha McSally last week refused to answer a question from a CNN Capitol Hill reporter, calling him a “liberal hack,” the network anchors were shocked … yes absolutely shocked. Deep down inside they were oh-so-happy, but does that make CNN any more relevant as the third horse in a two-horse race?

What did former GE Chairman Jack Welch say about market share? You either want to be No. 1 (Fox) or No. 2 (MSNBC) … number three should be rethinking their programming focus (CNN).

No More Masquerades

“The media is so messed up. It’s disheartening to me. … CNN is biased to the left … They are indistinguishable from MSNBC.” — Megyn Kelly, former NBC and Fox News journalist

“As reporters, we masquerade as being objective. We masquerade as being neutral. We masquerade as being without bias. These things are not true, and they are unrealistic.” — Lara Logan, former CBS News correspondent

As a former cub reporter for two suburban dailies and as a public relations practitioner for three decades, Almost DailyBrett understands completely that reporters/editors/correspondents come to their respective jobs with a healthy degree of skepticism and preordained political views (e.g., overwhelmingly liberal).

The real question comes down to professionalism. Can a reporter/editor/correspondent/anchor keep their personal views out of their copy?

The best reporters can do that, but cable television in particular has literally 24 hours of programming to fill. Journalists are now charged with offering interpretation (e.g., The Commentariat) of the news. Does this duty inflate their own sense of worth, and lead to the absurdity of reporters interviewing … fellow reporters?

Are journalistic standards of professionalism, fairness and objectivity gone forever to the delight of advertisers and our two political parties?

As consumers of mass media, are we responsible for the news we receive?

The vast majority of us are obviously asking for media, which conforms to our political views. Are we surprised to learn that our nation is more divided than at any time since the Civil War?

Our polarized media is without doubt aiding and abetting our division.

Is there anyway to put the brakes to this ever spiraling journalistic race to the bottom?

https://deadline.com/2019/12/cable-ratings-2019-list-fox-news-total-viewers-espn-18-49-demo-120281

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

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/01/25/megyn_kelly_cnn_became_the_thing_trump_said_they_were_indistinguishable_from_msnbc.html

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