Tag Archive: Edward R. Murrow


“Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C. and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible.” — New York Times editorial,  May 1, 2020

“I thought it was an ‘Onion’ headline, not a New York Times headline. They should be embarrassed for themselves for even suggesting that idea.” — Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The Democratic National Committee should be tasked with oversight of an “unbiased, apolitical” into sexual dalliances to restore “trust” in its presumptive nominee for President, Joe Biden?

Almost DailyBrett must stop right here and ask: How can anyone combine DNC — let alone the RNC — and the words, “unbiased” and “apolitical” in the same sentence? The national committees of the two respective parties are the most political beings on this planet.

That’s why they exist.

Take for example the self-described “abortion access” reporter for CBS News, Kate Smith. She’s on the front lines with Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other abortion providers/advocates. CBS has to know that Smith is a fully committed advocate posing as reporter.  And yet the “Big Three” network tolerates this masquerade?

Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood simply hire Smith as its lead spokeswoman … and cut out the middle man?

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks played the roles of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee in the heralded movie, “The Post.” The plot line revolved around the decision of the Post management to publish “The Pentagon Papers,” a former Secretary of State Robert McNamara authorized study by Rand Corporation about the conditions on the ground in the Vietnam War.

It wasn’t pretty.

There were political threats. There was the prospect of a failed IPO for the Post on Wall Street. There were those who simply thought Katherine Graham couldn’t do the job. The Washington Post asserted its independence, and published the Rand Report.

CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, went to Southeast Asia, and came back with the truth. The Vietnam War was indeed, a “stalemate.”

Mass Media, An Oxymoron?

I always say mass media is now an oxymoron, because there is no mass media, really. Everyone’s getting their information and their content from different places, often those that affirm their preexisting beliefs.”  — Veteran television host/anchor Katie Couric

Some apologists may be tempted blame the media’s obvious loss of cherished independence and corresponding decline in public trust and approval as simply a reflection of the national divide in the Age of Trump. Too easy.

Consider the media’s record when it comes to the linkage between political philosophy and zippers. Your author has always contended that once the zipper comes down … it will always come down.

In chronological order there was the media belief in Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas (1991); the “It was consensual” mantra (1998);  The Me Too pile-on against Brett Kavanaugh (2019) and now … the call for the Democratic National Committee to serve as the Praetorian Guard of the Biden-raided hen-house.

There is a obvious pattern here, and more importantly there is the loss of professed independence of the media. Sides have been taken, and the loser is the general public, which has a right to know.

If the media ever regains its vaunted independence, it could go back to providing the nation and the world with news and information without stenographic interpretations. Will it cost a few shekels? Whattyathink CNN?

There were decades when CBS was fiercely independent when Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite held sway. Alas, next came disgraced anchor Dan Rather, who could not and would not suppress his partisan sympathies.

The rest is history. CBS and the vast majority of its brethren have changed their missions, seeing their new job to simply affirm preexisting viewpoints. And the result?

As General George C. Patton once said: “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/495989-sanders-mocks-ny-times-urging-dnc-to-investigate-biden-allegations-i-thought

https://www.foxnews.com/media/katie-couric-says-americans-watch-news-for-affirmation-not-information-seek-to-confirm-preexisting-beliefs

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/donald-trump-media-journalists-dont-bother-to-hide-partisanship/?

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/dan-rather-father-of-affirmational-journalism/

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

 

When has it been a bad day?

When your secretary calls and tells you that Mike Wallace and the “60 Minutes” crew are waiting in the lobby.

mikewallace

In my case, Mike Wallace was on the phone.

I was the press secretary for California Governor George Deukmejian in the late 1980s. The State of California had a well documented problem with its Victims of Violent Crime Program, administered by the state Department of General Services.

The idea behind the program was simple enough. After the courts came down with guilty verdicts, the perpetrators of violent crimes (i.e., rape, assault, robbery at gunpoint) were compelled forfeit assets to help pay restitution to their victims. The only problem was that these assets were getting tied up in miles of red tape for more than a year, adding to the anguish of those suffering the aftermath of these horrific crimes.

The embarrassing nature of this underperforming program was fodder for our political opponents, who openly questioned how a law-and-order Republican administration headed by the former Attorney General could have a Victims of Violent Crime program that simply wasn’t working. The controversy became the subject of statewide headlines.

Fortunately, the state Department of General Services under increased oversight of the Office of the Governor quickly reduced the case backlog and the average time period for payment to crime victims dropped from one year to six months. Further steps were being taken to reduce the waiting time to only 90 days. The criticism eventually started to subside as reporters moved on to other “good dirt” stories.

One of the justifiable criticisms of CBS’ “60 Minutes” news magazine is that it typically jumps into stories too late. The Victims of Violent Crime Story had already turned the corner, righted the ship…or whatever metaphor applies.

That is when Mr. Wallace gave me a call. I was listening to that famous voice that I heard since I was a teenager. I can still hear that resonance in my sleep. Mike Wallace was demanding an interview with the governor. I was thinking, “No way Miguel,” but my voice was telling Wallace that I will work on it. I even asked about his time schedule for the interview. I was so helpful.

The 60 Minutes interview was unavoidable. If you do not cooperate, the network will simply set up an ambush interview and my boss would be the target. We offered General Services director Tony Anthony to face the music. Wallace and his team accepted Tony for the interview.

It was my job to conduct preparatory “hot box” mock interviews with Tony to prepare him for Mike Wallace. The first thing I did was apologize to Tony. My technique was borrowed from then-Indiana head basketball coach Robert Montgomery Knight: Make practice so horrible, the game was relatively easy in comparison.

I played the role of Mike Wallace. Tony played Tony. Our strategy was simple. The Victims of Violent Crime Program is not what we wanted it to be. Yes, you are right Mr. Wallace. We are upset with the program’s performance, and we have already brought the backlog down to six months…but that isn’t good enough. We need to do more. And this is what we are doing. We will not be satisfied until we bring the backlog to a reasonable 90 days from application to delivery of restitution funds.

wallace

The modus operandi of Mike Wallace was to start a fight on camera. Our response was to avoid the punches, agree on camera and shift the focus to the future. The strategy worked. The “60 Minutes” piece included predictable interviews with victims of violent crime, who were justifiably frustrated and disappointed with the state’s administration of the program. We agreed with them, and state ex-cathedra that we were already seeing results to make this program better.

The Mike Wallace story ran. Tony did well in his unenviable task of facing Mike Wallace and the “60 Minutes” cameras. It really helped that Tony was a good guy and came across that way on camera. The damage could have been worse. We cooperated. We prepared through “hot box” mock interviews. We had a message. We had a plan. We delivered that message.

Upon Mike Wallace’s passing last night, one can safely conclude that he is a CBS legend in the same arena with Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid. Alas, I cannot say the same for Dan Rather(gate).

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57411010/60-minutes-icon-mike-wallace-dies-at-93/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/mike-wallace-dies-veteran-journalist-and-former-60-minutes-interviewer-was-93/2012/04/08/gIQAwzIu3S_story.html

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/edward-r-murrow/this-reporter/513/

http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=sevareideri

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18563_162-5170556.html

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