Tag Archive: Cognitive Dissonance


… With this election, my heart is filled with the greatest hope, because I know this man (George Deukmejian) … I say the man with the experience, the knowledge, the integrity to do the job is the man that’s here on the platform with us tonight, George Deukmejian. Elect him Governor.” – President Ronald Reagan

It was the summer of ‘82.

Attorney General George Deukmejian two months before prevailed in a rough Republican gubernatorial primary.  The contested issue: Which candidate was closer to Ronald Reagan.

Now the focus shifted to the fall campaign.

The date was August 24. The scene was a $500 fundraising reception at the Beverly Wilshire, The guest of honor, Ronald Reagan.

A voice announced: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The President of the United States.”

Walking through the door was a smiling, handsome 71-year-old man with a full black mane of hair. He was at the time the oldest president in American history.

Just 17-months earlier, he almost succumbed to an assassin’s bullet.

But on this particular Tuesday evening … he looked like a million bucks.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, it was a life-changing, transformational moment.

For a 27-years young campaign press director, seeing the president of the United States up close and personal for the first time, Reagan came across as a kind man with a radiant demeanor.

Reagan approached the podium, awaiting his introduction by my boss, George Deukmejian.

Even though Reagan was the most powerful man on earth, there was not even the merest glimmer of arrogance, let alone someone who saw himself as a counter-punching street fighter.

Reagan commanded the room, even with an ever-present an aw-shucks grin on his face.

Many argue about Reagan’s place in history, but there’s no debate in your author’s mind about his persona and presence. He will always be The President of the United States of my lifetime.

Born a Democrat

Just like Ronald Reagan, your author was born into a Democratic family.

Could have sworn that Nixon’s first name was “Damn.”

As Almost DailyBrett wrote on the sad occasion of the passing last month of George Deukmejian, he was the governor who changed my life.

What also drastically altered my view of the world was a 1981 two-week trip to the Soviet Union.

The magnificence of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s in Moscow, the Hermitage and the summer palace of the Czars in St. Petersburg are worth the trip itself. The coverage of the World Cup by Fox Sports is bringing back memories of that game-changing trip.

There was also the comment of my best friend who made the trip with me: “They (Soviet leaders) treat their people like caca (different word than the actual).”

Communism did not work then, and will not work now. Get over it.

Reagan was labeled as a “Cold Warrior” as if that term was a pejorative. He saw it as a badge of courage. His vision was simple: the U.S. wins and the Soviet Union loses.

Looking back at the confluence of the 1981 trip in-and-out of the Soviet Union, my job as the press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, and the magnetic presence of Ronald Reagan, your author made the decision to become a loyal Reaganite Republican.

Under the Cognitive Dissonance Theory, the only way someone will change entrenched philosophical positions is with the presence of COMPELLING NEW information. Reagan was the completion of that philosophical shift.

Visiting The Reagan Library

Politics was just as rough in the 1980s as it has been since the birth of a nation in the late 18th Century.

The difference was a sense of civility as Chris Matthews wrote in his book, “Tip And The Gipper, When Politics Worked.”

Last year during a second visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and factoring in the present political climate even with a Republican in the White House and leading both houses of Congress, your author kept on looking toward heaven quietly asking …

Could you come back?’ ‘Please!’

https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/82482d

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LwOCanMkAY

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/the-governor-who-changed-my-life/

 

 

“With best wishes to Kevin who understands what this is all about” – Jody Powell

“When the news seemed to me then and now, to be wrong, unsupportable, and unfair.” – President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powellpowellsignature

One of my most cherished possessions is a personally signed copy of Jody Powell’s 1984 book about presidential public relations and the media, “The Other Side of the Story.”

Powell passed way-too-young (65) of an apparent heart attack seven years ago, making my copy of this hardbound book irreplaceable.

Today, the author of Almost DailyBrett assigns new PR students Powell’s remembrances of his brain-fart disclosure to the media of Jimmy Carter smacking a “the killer rabbit” with a canoe oar, “A Grave Mistake,” and more importantly do PR pros in extreme circumstances have “The Right to Lie”?powellbriefing

Powell is seen through the lens of history as one of the very best to serve as the chief spokesman and communications strategist for the leader of the free world. Without a doubt that will be Jody’s lasting legacy. Alas, he served a president who was besieged with 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, out-of-control inflation and economic malaise.

Despite Powell’s best efforts, Carter was excused from the presidency in 1980, winning only six states + DC or 49 electoral votes. Powell eventually shook off the loss, and provided wisdom to all PR pros with his “The Other Side of the Story.”

This simple title also should serve as a reminder to us all that with all issues, there is indeed another side to the story.

To my horror, your author remembers being told there is no other side of the story when it comes to a major criminal justice issue. My training as a political/business public relations professional is there are indeed two sides to every story, and you are simply not doing your job if you don’t comprehend the opposing argument.

How can you fashion a winning rebuttal?

Getting Out of Our Filter Bubbles

One of the tenets of public relations theory (don’t glaze over) is Cognitive Dissonance or the practice of re-examining a hard-felt position upon the presence of compelling new information. John F. Kennedy through his charm and conviction was able to gain support from Republicans despite setbacks (e.g., Bay of Pigs). Conversely, Ronald Reagan’s success and communication skills led to the formation of a new-at-the-time political force, The Reagan Democrats.

Does Cognitive Dissonance still apply today in our woefully divided, gridlocked society?

Looking into my crystal ball, will President Hillary Clinton be “primaried” (new verb) in 2020 by Bernie-Sanders-progressives, if she works with Speaker Paul Ryan? There is zero doubt that Clinton and Ryan see the world differently, but at the same time it is their job to work together for the benefit of the country.powellbook

 

In order to do just that, both sides need to appreciate there is indeed The Other Side of the Story. Even more germane, is this notion is at the heart of the Marketplace of Ideas.

For example, many decry the fact that an estimated 2 million are incarcerated in American jails and prisons, a disproportionate number hail from minority communities. Is that the only side of the story that matters?

As press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration doubled the size of the state’s prison system, which was a godsend considering the massive overcrowding issue the Golden State faces to this day.

Were we being mean, hateful and vindictive or were we responding to the public who did not want criminals in their neighborhoods and in the streets?

Are there indeed two sides (mass incarceration and public safety) to this criminal justice issue?

In a more intense sense, there is a reason why ISIS is so evil, so angry and so violent? Is there a side to their story we should try to comprehend? Yes. At the same time, we need to respond to their attacks on soft targets in the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. We have our side of the story as well.

Almost DailyBrett knows instinctively that Donald Trump will soon and thankfully fade from the airwaves and digital screens. The ensuring period of global Schadenfreude will pass as well.

Will we reach a point in which we respect there really are two sides to virtually every story? When and if we do, we will become a much more civil society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/us/politics/15powell.html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091402738.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

 

 

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