Tag Archive: Dirty Harry


It’s been all downward-to-the-right for the media since the days of Walter Cronkite.

Quick: Name the Big Three Network anchors?

Can’t do it? Join the club.

Oh have times changed.

In 1972, the revered anchor of the CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite, was the most trusted man in America.

In 2017, do we trust Sean Hannity of Fox News to be “fair and balanced” with the news?

Do we trust Rachel Maddow of MSNBC to be objective?

Do we trust the latest political “comedian” on Comedy Central to be thoughtful?

Do we trust what we read on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook to be accurate?

Fair. Balanced. Objective. Thoughtful. Accurate. Those were all words that applied to Cronkite. Do they apply anymore?

As Almost DailyBrett mentioned before, the public gave the media a 72 percent approval rating in 1976 and only 32 percent in 2016.

Gallup’s surveys reflect a corresponding slide by Democrats, Independents and particularly Republicans in the past two decades.

In 1997, 64 percent of Democrats reported a great deal/fair amount of trust in the media. In 2016, that figure declined to 51 percent, a 13 percent drop.

For independents, the erosion in the last 20 years was 53 percent (just above the Mendoza Line) to 30 percent last year, a 23 percent decline.

For Republicans, 41 percent of GOP voters expressed a great deal/fair amount of trust in the media in 1997. That figure was 14 percent in 2016, a stunning 27 percent erosion in two decades.

In a match-up between CNN and Donald Trump, 89 percent of GOP voters expressed confidence in the president while only 9 percent sided with the number three cable news network.

Is there any plausible reason to optimistically hope these results will improve in the Trump era?

For CNN, it has now dropped to number three in a three-way race of major cable news outlets having been surpassed by liberal MSNBC for the number two slot behind No. 1 conservative Fox News.

Liberal? Liberal? Conservative?  What happened to honest brokers of information?

From Reporting to Interpreting?

Want to make a slow Friday night even slower? Watch “Washington Week in Review” on PBS in which reporters interview … reporters.

It used to be that reporters/correspondents covered the news. Now we are all entitled to their “interpretation.”

Remember what Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” said about opinions? Every reporter, editor, correspondent has one and you are privileged to hear what they have to say. Instead of covering the news makers, they see themselves as the real news.

Except … this Donald Trump character seems to get in the way, particularly with his nocturnal tweets.

Should university journalism schools abandon teaching the quaint notion of objectively informing the public that desperately wants straight news?

How about simply declaring the stakes are too high to be truly objective, and encourage future reporters/correspondents to openly display their partisan instincts and guide the public in affirming their own deeply held political philosophies?

And then journalists can write and broadcast about the deeply divided nation they helped foster.

Should journalism schools endeavor to generate more of the likes of Dan Rather and Brian Williams? Almost DailyBrett doesn’t need to regurgitate how the two elite former champions of CBS and NBC respectively brought lasting shame to the media.

What strategies should schools of journalism and communication adopt to restore professionalism to the profession? Surely the task is worthy, particularly bringing objectivity back into to the classroom discussion.

Is it time to inform the public once again?

Will we know that journalism has recovered when the next Walter Cronkite becomes the most trusted man/woman in America?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/07/13/daily-202-trump-is-the-disrupter-in-chief-in-an-age-of-disruption/5966a386e9b69b7071abcb23/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amid-turmoil-fox-news-holds-on-to-no-1-spot-as-msnbc-surges-1499601601

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31152849

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/anchors-bring-new-era-network-stability-article-1.1922051

http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/

 

 

“Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

Weren’t we all repeatedly told by mumsy to never discuss religion and politics in polite company?

Wouldn’t you expect this admonition to particularly apply to your dear friends and family?

And what are the impacts of these unwise political discussions on the most important public relations of all? Your own PR and personal brand.fbpolitics

Then why do far too many of us insist on bloviating and pontificating our unrestrained and unvarnished political views on Facebook, and other digitally eternal social media sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and others?

Don’t we have enough to do?

Before delving any further into this issue, Almost DailyBrett must pose the following rhetorical question: What are we expecting when we bombard our family and friends (or LinkedIn connections) with unrestrained political diatribe, regardless of whether it comes from the progressive left or the patriotic right?

Don’t the vast majority of our friends and family already know our political views? Don’t they harbor their own political opinions? Are they really persuadable at this point in time?clintontrumpdebate

For most Americans, you have to be living under a rock if you don’t have a well-formed and mostly unchanging opinion about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to the Real Clear Politics average, almost 59 percent of national poll respondents have a negative view of Hillary and nearly 62 percent are thumbs down on The Donald.

The political pros tell us these two are the most unpopular respective nominees in the long histories of the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a result, most of us have formed an unalterable opinion about both of these pols, and they are hardening, not softening … if that’s still possible.

If all the above is true, Almost DailyBrett must ask why do we bother offering our political views to people who we regard as friends and family? Do we enjoy making them react as if someone took their finger nails to a chalkboard?

Do we secretly enjoy being passive, aggressive?

Unfriending A “Friend” Because of Politics

Who is ultimately responsible for an unfriending decision because of political digital intercourse?

  1. The “friend” who frequently offers political opinions to one and all via a few digital key strokes with no consideration of how these comments are going to be construed.
  2. Or the “friend” who takes personal affront to repeated political commentary, more often than not, negative about the opposition, and angrily unfriends the so-called friend.buckleyquote

The late conservative commentator William F. Buckley is probably smiling from heaven as a result of the Pew Research Journalism Project, which revealed that liberals are more likely than their conservative counterparts to unfriend someone with contrary political views (e.g., conservatives).

However, the same study opined that conservatives are more likely to gravitate to their own kind online and have less exposure to competing points of view.

Which is better? How about none of the above?

If the Nielsen ratings folks are correct, the Monday, September 26 debate between Hillary and The Donald will be the most watched and streamed presidential debate in the history of the country, if not from a purely infotainment standpoint.

If that is indeed the case — and there is zero reason to suggest it won’t be — then why will we insist upon offering our biased opinion before-during-after this encounter to our friends and family via Facebook and other social media?

Weren’t they also watching the same feed and avoiding the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints?

Didn’t they already form an opinion about what they watched on their own and/or had their views reinforced by Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, Chris Matthews on MSNBC, George Stephanopoulos on ABC or David Axelrod on CNN?

Former football coach Lou Holtz once said: “If you can’t add value to silence, then shut up.”

Considering that minds have been made up and are unlikely to change … and we really respect and value our friends and family … wouldn’t it be best to refrain from offering our own version of political invective?

Silence can indeed be golden.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/10/21/liberals-are-more-likely-to-unfriend-you-over-politics-online-and-off/

http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/#social-media-conservatives-more-likely-to-have-like-minded-friends

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton_vs_johnson_vs_stein-5952.html

 

 

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” – Winston Churchill

It (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speech) called into question the efficacy of any deal the administration might strike with Iran over its nuclear program; it likely renewed momentum for another round of Iranian sanctions on the Hill; it positioned the GOP politically as the party more worried about Israeli security, and, despite the White House’s best efforts, made the president appear petty and churlish.” – James Oliphant, National Journalbibicongress

To Almost DailyBrett, it appears to be a new dawn of pettiness.

What happened to taking the high road?

How about some Churchillian “tact”?

Seems like all the above is in short supply these days.

Drifting Further Apart

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”

Let’s face it: There are 7 billion+ inhabiting our planet and everyone has a derriere and an opinion too.

Some we don’t want to hear; there are just as many that we don’t respect.

In the case of President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the former made it absolutely clear that he tuned out the speech of the latter. Aren’t the U.S. and Israel strategic, democratic “allies”?

The reason for the presidential tune-out? The former (e.g., executive branch) didn’t invite the latter to speak before a joint session of Congress (e.g., legislative branch). They (e.g., Obama and Netanyahu) also don’t like each other … pass the sand shovels and plastic buckets.

Is the White House’s behavior “petty and churlish?” The answer is “yes” according to one major publication and presumably others think so as well.

There is the far more important global issue of Israel’s survival and whether or not the warm-and-fuzzy Mullahs of Iran gets their hands on nuclear bombs.

There is also the mounting inability-to-converse behavior that is being exhibited as we seemingly grow further apart, even as technology is rapidly improving our ability to instantaneously “communicate.”

“Alone Together”

The Economist in its cover story this week, “Planet of the phones,” reported the 2 billion smart phones in circulation right now will grow to 4 billion in just five years-time. The stately British newspaper also projected that 80 percent of adults will have smart phones by 2020 as Moore’s Law holds sway and the number of apps/features doubles each-and-every 18-24 months.

The computing/communicating power of these hand-held mobile devices is awesome. What is not so fantabulous is how these devices in far too many ways help us in avoiding each other. M.I.T. Professor Sherry Turkle wrote her latest book: “Alone Together, What We Expect From Technology and Less From Each Other.”turkle

Taking a page from Rene Descartes and moving it to the 21st Century, Turkle told a recent TED Talk Conference (Technology, Entertainment and Design) that the new mantra very well could be: “I connect, therefore I am.”

And while we are digitally connected, we can avoid analog interaction (e.g., actual conversation) with others … and best of all, we conquer our fear of being alone. Yes we are in the presence of our fellow humans, but alas they have their faces buried in their smart-phone screen just as we do.

Is the barista taking too long making your grande no-whip mocha?

Do you feel alone?

Do you feel exposed?

Quick: Pull out your smart phone.

Turkle also said the smart-phone obsessed have a solution for being in the same room with those, who they may not want to know. It’s called the Goldilocks Effect for the Alone Together crowd, all present, but at the same time not there: “Not too close. Not too far. Just right.”

Maybe President Obama could have stopped by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress, and brought along his Blackberry? He could have texted, surfed golf course websites for tee times, checked his approval ratings etc. He would have been there, and yet not been there at the same time. Perfect.

From a public relations standpoint, his press secretary could proclaim the president while irked by the proceedings and the message was big enough to be there … even though he was mentally elsewhere.

Aren’t there executives who claim to be listening at board meetings, while they are texting at the same time, the ultimate in multi-tasking? Why can’t the über-chief executive do exactly the same thing?

At least the National Journal would not be accusing him of being petty and churlish.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/netanyahu-delivers-just-what-obama-feared-20150303

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/obama-aide-calls-netanyahu-visit-destructive-to-relations/2015/02/25/1f1d5b0c-bce6-11e4-9dfb-03366e719af8_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/netanyahus-churchillian-warning/2015/03/05/60ae7fd4-c366-11e4-9ec2-b418f57a4a99_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/33365-tact-is-the-ability-to-tell-someone-to-go-to

 

 

 

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News! If so, well-played, sir. Your inability to look past the length of your nose and complete lack of logic make you a shoo-in.”

“I’m puking in my mouth.

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”

gtf

Maybe this Perfect Idiot Douche-o-Rama should compete for a doctorate?

Or a pundit on Fox News?

Never in recorded history has a humble blog drawn so much vitriol when the stakes were so low.

At Least The Name Was Spelled Right

Far worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all.” – Former Presidential Communications Director Pat Buchanan

“Communicators need to learn how to handle the hecklers on social media.  It is now a required skill. I know of two agencies and three Silicon Valley companies who include this in their pre-employment tests. What a great real-life example to show them (students)!“ — Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire Vice President

Writing a provocative blog (e.g., Almost DailyBrett) is not for the meek and mild. My December 3 post about the recent strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTF) at the University of Oregon is a case in point. Fortunately, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation union (GTFF) finally caved in to the university and no further damage was done to the school’s 25,000 students and/or faculty.

If one is not willing to venture an opinion and take calculated chances, then why write a blog in the first place? Think of it this way: A blog is the most discretionary of all reads.

There is a huge difference between being provocative-controversial and being notorious. The first is responsible; the latter, irresponsible.

So what are the best ways to respond to online hecklers, yes even those who take issue with: “Your tactics here are a clear sign of your ignorance and privilege”?_MG_1292 (3)

 

Dem’s fighting words, but one must pick her-or-his battles.

Taking the High Road

The juvenile level of discourse you’ve displayed in these comments makes me embarrassed that you have a degree from my alma mater (e.g., M.A. from the University of Oregon).”

What are effective strategies when it comes to responding to the most determined of online hecklers?

  1. Avoid Writing Blogs When Upset and Frustrated in the First Place

There are times when you want to give someone or some organization a piece of your mind. That is not the time to write a blog. Your posts need to be thoughtful and based upon concrete facts to back your assertions. This is not to say that you cannot be provocative and controversial. Most blogs do not draw comments, generate Facebook “shares” and/or cause fur to fly. Every once in awhile this is indeed the case

  1. Never Engage in a Public Urination Contest

Learn how to be offensive without being OFFENSIVE. Dirty Harry (e.g., Clint Eastwood) always expressed his point of view (sometimes with his .44 Magnum), but most of the time he went just a tad too far. For a blogger you can respond to the heckler and parry back the verbal volleys, but you should never lose your cool and engage in a public urination battle. The results will not be pretty. There are times you want to engage the heckler, and there are others when you want to leave unanswered the charge/allegation. Your pride is not injured, if you allow the heckler to have the last word.Dirty Harry (1971)

 

  1. Pick and Choose Your Battles

The intent of the heckler is to bully, intimidate and silence dissent. Some are just not used to anyone standing up to them. We all have the First Amendment of Free Speech. A blogger has just as much right to compete in the Marketplace of Ideas as anyone else. If the heckler resorts to childish name calling, utters ugly slurs or demonstrates racist, sexist or other nasty behavior, it is best to NOT post that individual’s comments and to disengage.

  1. Allow the Heckler to Build Your SEO, Then Disengage

Keep in mind, the heckler is doing you the blogger a huge favor. The search engines (e.g., bots) take note of digital activity … the ones and zeroes of binary code … flowing to-and-from your blog URL. Every foray from the heckler can be met in kind with a witty and/or clever reply. For you this is a victory in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) arena. Let the invectives fly across cyberspace.

  1. Always Take the High Road

Turning the other cheek results in two throbbing cheeks even in the online space. Engaging the heckler to demonstrate that your dissent will not be silenced is noble, provided you are cool, calm and collected … and always take the high road. Remember: You wrote the blog. The heckler(s) is/are responding. As the instigator, you are the one driving the story.

  1. Don’t Lose Any Sleep

As a tadpole, you learned some variation of “sticks and stones will break my bones … “ These wise words still apply all of these decades later. Get a good night’s sleep. Maybe your next blog will draw even more hecklers.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2012/07/27/5-tips-for-dealing-with-hecklers-on-twitter/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/03/09/how-to-deal-with-blog-hecklers/

 

All social media sites are not created equal.

They are not monolithic. They are not one-size-fits-all.

Facebook gives you access to your “friends.”

LinkedIn provides you with “connections.”

In all due respect to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sandra “Lean In” Sandberg, which group of people – “friends” or “connections” — is going to be most beneficial in finding a job, building a network or running down business leads?

Wall Street, based on the performance of the two respective stocks, knows for certain the answer to this question. Are you still not convinced and/or “connected”?

“In my opinion…you would be serving the department best by working in public relations,” – San Francisco PD lieutenant.

“Opinions are like a..holes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan in “The Dead Pool.”

resume

When it comes to writing a cover letter, preparing a curriculum vitae or using social media for a job-search campaign, everyone has opinions. Here are some of mine.

Some contend that hiring managers and recruiters don’t read cover letters. I couldn’t disagree more. Every job worth its salt deserves and requires a carefully crafted, targeted cover letter.

Some say that hiring letters should repeat everything in the resume. I respectfully disagree.

Think of it this way:

The cover letter is intended to entice the hiring manager/recruiter to read the resume.

The resume is intended to convince the powers that be to bring you in for an interview.

The interview leads to references being checked and a big fat HR packet being overnighted to your place of residence.

Some worship at the altar of the one-page resume. I opine that your resume should tell your story, tell it truthfully, tell it completely and most of all, tell it well. And in this digital age where everything is submitted online…who cares (besides the Flat Earth Society) whether a resume takes more than one page? I don’t.

Some are relatively agnostic about LinkedIn. I say it’s time to keep the digital faith.

Upscale six-figure employment search strategy website, The Ladders, surveyed 30 recruiters and found they spent only 6.25-second on the average resume. In particular, they check out a candidate’s name, current title and employer; previous title and company; previous position, start/end dates; current position start/end dates, and education.

There is no reason to question this empirical research. Everything else in our digital-information-overload society is being reduced to 20-second bites, six-second videos and 140-character tweets, so it just makes sense that recruiters are spending only 6.25-seconds on resumes. What that means is that resumes need to effectively tell your story and tell it quickly and concisely.

The same is true with cover letters. They need to fit within the borders of one computer screen because they need to be cut-and-pasted right into the email. Don’t ask for someone to click on a document unless you want to risk her or him tapping the delete key instead.

And let’s not forget that recruiters are pounding PC and tablet keys to access their social media outlet of choice, LinkedIn.

So what are strategies that one should adopt in preparing a LinkedIn profile page? Here are few of my humble suggestions:

linkedin_logo_11

● Sweat the details when it comes to your introductory JPEG mug shot. One immediate difference between a conventional resume and LinkedIn is the ability to incorporate a photo. A good photo is worth a thousand words. What kinds of words does your photo convey about you? What does your photo say about your professionalism, competency and ability to work well in a team?

● If a recruiter/hiring manager is only spending an average of 6.25 seconds with a resume, conceivably the same can be true with your LinkedIn profile…unless you make effective use LinkedIn’s plug-and-play tools. Begin with a profile statement that immediately outlines your raison d’etre, your strengths and immediate Return on Investment (ROI).

●Add your blog. Add your PowerPoints. Add your videos. Add your conference papers. Add your awards. Add your published work. Add your classroom work. Recruiters think of LinkedIn as one-stop shopping, so should you. http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbrett

● One of the key differentiators between LinkedIn and a conventional resume is your digital profile goes so much further than a standard curriculum vitae. Besides the ability to incorporate your digital content, you can also use the social media to market your personal brand through the use of references. As opposed to the standard, “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of a resume, your LinkedIn page can include a dozen or more references sprinkled throughout the recap of your present and previous positions. Word-of-mouth advertising is without a doubt, the best advertising.

● The Boy Scout motto is simply, “Be Prepared.” Don’t wait for caca to happen to you when it comes to your career, even if you believe your job is secure. Your LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing digital tool. You can change it anytime, 24/7/365. Don’t wait until you are surprisingly laid off or cashiered to start building your connections into a network. This is a process that should never end. Trust me, people notice if you have 500+ connections, and they want to know who has accepted your LinkedIn connection requests..

Think of it this way: Every connection is a friend. And just like dollars in my wallet, I want to have as many “friends” as I can.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/03/26/what-your-resume-is-up-against/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577293664148110928.html

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVlYMctb7Y4

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/linkedin-resume/

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”  — General George S. Patton.

“…Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Neither General George nor President Thomas could conceive of fiber-optic cable. Breaking the German siege of Bastogne would have been so much easier with Internet telephony. Imagine Thomas Jefferson tweeting about the Declaration of Independence and then letting all of his friends know about it on Facebook?

The Economist’s http://www.economist.com/  special report on Social Networking offers some staggering numbers. Facebook www.facebook.com has 350 million users, making it the third largest “nation” in the world after China and India. That’s pretty impressive for a firm that was created in a Harvard dorm room by Mark Zuckerberg in 2003. Sorry Thomas, the Facebook nation is even bigger than the one that you and an earlier George W. founded.

There is more, much more. Facebook, the world’s second most accessed URL after Google, is updated 55 million times daily and 3.5 pieces of content are shared among the users each week. Facebook is bigger than any television network on the planet. The tremendous growth of Facebook, Twitter www.twitter.com, LinkedIn.com www.linkedin.com validates the “network effect,” meaning that the value of a communications network rises exponentially with the number of connected users.

Does that mean the hot social media site of today will be the hot social media site of tomorrow? Ask MySpace, which saw its share of the US social media market plummet from 67 percent to 30 percent in just one year. The innovators will keep innovating and those on top should never be comfortable. The winners of tomorrow may not even be born today.

What does the growth of conversational marketing via social media mean to professional communicators? One thing is certain is that we have to compete in this digital marketplace of ideas. Suppression of competing thoughts and ideas as difficult as it was in the past is just impossible now.

China may temporarily block this social media site or that social media outlet, but pretty soon the math gets out of control. Let’s see: 1.2 billion people, millions of PCs, thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable and oodles of ideas, ideas and even more ideas.

As Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the “Dead Pool” said, “Opinions are like (fill in the blank). Everyone has one.”

As professional communicators, we need to use our diplomacy and tact to deliver an important message to management: We aren’t just competing to make the sale, attract investors, hire the best and the brightest, we are in an eternal public relations tug-of-war made both easier and more difficult by ubiquitous uploading of information via digital technology. Just as social media with its ones and zeroes can make it easier to reach literally millions of users instantaneously, these same tools can be harnessed by competitors to “deposition” your company, your NGO, your educational institution, your government entity.

As we set out to compete, we need to realize that getting unanimous agreement for the product, concept or idea that we are peddling is not possible (save Steve Jobs and the iPad). Instead, we need to employ our skills and wits to develop winning strategies, bringing a critical mass behind our noble cause.

What did General Patton say about letting the other guy die for his country?

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