Tag Archive: First Amendment


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

 

 

 

 

“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/

“Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands, considering the slow response?” — NBC’s “Meet The Press” anchor Chuck Todd to Vice President Joe Biden this morning.

“I think that is a little too harsh.” — Biden answer.

The late great Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert just turned over in his grave.

Russert (1950-2008) served as the much-respected and well-liked host of NBC’s Sunday morning interview show for a record 16 years.

Todd’s unrestrained arrogance, spawned his February suggestion that Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters amounted to a “digital brownshirt brigade.”

Sanders is Jewish. The reaction from the repeatedly persecuted Jewish community was swift and certain. Nazi imagery and comparisons do not belong in American political discourse.

Almost DailyBrett is not devoting this post to simply beating up Chuck Todd, but to contend that America needs balanced, objective journalism now more than ever. Instead, we are hearing open suggestions the president’s hands are soaked in blood and images of storm troopers.

Will NBC take well overdue disciplinary action against Todd, just as the network did against former MSNBC host Chris Matthews? Will Todd be forced to apologize to Bernie Sanders, let alone Donald Trump?

Forget about it.

Esteem for America Media? Downward to the Right

Even before the Corona virus (COVID-19) extracted its deadly toll on the USA and the world, the trust of the American public in mass media was rapidly losing altitude.

The steady decline in American approval in mass media, which began in the mid-1970s, is actually accelerating its continuous downward-to-the-right loss of trust trend.

If the media was publicly traded, even a dim-witted investor would have sold this “dog with fleas” (Gordon Gekko quote) years ago.

Worse, there seems to be no bottom in sight when it comes to the media. If an institution cannot reach its nadir point and keeps falling in terms of public esteem or to be more precise, lack of public esteem, how can the media demonstrate any recovery … even a dead-cat bounce?

According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, mass media recorded a -17 percent score when it comes to competence, and an additional -7 percent in terms of ethical behavior. Conversely, business scores +14 in competence and -2 percent when ethics is weighed.

Only government is worse, minus 40 percent in competence and minus 19 percent in ethics.

Cessation of Presidential Corona Virus Broadcasts?

“If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we (collective media) should, all of us, stop broadcasting it (presidential corona task force briefings).” — MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow

If the media en-masse decides what we as great unwashed Americans are permitted to see or not see, isn’t that another word for censorship?

If the government attempted even for a nano-second or two to impose any type of limitation on media coverage, wouldn’t Mizz Maddow be the first screaming about a chilling impact on sacred First Amendment rights of free speech?

Maybe the president’s veracity is not the issue. Could the real catalyst for Maddow’s call for a “broadcasting stop” be President Trump’s improving approval ratings, particularly his handling of America’s corona virus response?

According to Gallup, the nation’s hospitals hold an 88 percent approval rating compared to a 10 percent disapprove score.

Vice President Mike Pence (e.g., Corona virus task force chairman) clocks in with a 61 percent to 32 percent approval/disapproval rating.

President Trump has drawn a 60 percent thumbs up and a 38 percent thumbs down result.

The media? The lowest score of them all … 44 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove.

Whattyathink Chuck “Blood on the President’s Hands” Todd? Any comment from “stop broadcasting” presidential pandemic briefings, Rachel Maddow?

Almost DailyBrett has zero doubt that many — certainly not all — in the media want America to fail in the face of this global pandemic, and with that crisis Trump is not re-elected.

Count how many times the media use the noun/verb fail in the coming days, weeks and months of reporting/interpreting with related commentary from unnamed sources.

If a Democrat was in the White House, the collective mass media swooning would remind one of the gushing coverage of a … New York Governor Andrew Cuomo briefing.

If there is any doubt, spend some time with Pew Research’s results demonstrating a pronounced division by political preference when it comes to trust in the media. Democrats are mostly trustful; Republicans are distrustful.

The reason? The loss of integrity by the majority in the media, who fail the objectivity test and cannot hide their personal loathing of the president and for the most part, any and all Republicans.

If the mass media aids and abets the nation in failing in the face of the corona virus pandemic and as a result President Trump is not re-elected, will the arrogance in media centers subside? Not a chance.

Will the sense of unrestrained power and importance grow and mutate in news rooms and political bureaus?

Will they claim another Nixonian scalp, this one with blood on his hands?

Conversely, will America applaud its oppositional media or will the public eventually become even more fearful and distrustful of the networks and/or major mastheads?

Will we have created an even bigger monster?

Will the American people ask, ‘who is going to watch, the watchers’?

Sure hope we don’t have to answer these questions.

https://www.edelman.com/trustbarometer

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/03/29/chuck_todd_to_joe_biden_does_the_president_have_blood_on_his_hands.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/300680/coronavirus-response-hospitals-rated-best-news-media-worst.aspx

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/elite-media-psychologists-psychiatrists/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/lets-take-hitler-out-of-american-politics/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/what-happened-to-bernie-shaws-cnn/

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

https://www.salon.com/2020/02/12/msnbcs-chuck-todd-under-fire-for-reciting-quote-comparing-sanders-supporters-to-nazis_partner/

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/488777-maddow-hits-trumps-happy-talk-on-virus-i-would-stop-putting-those-briefings-on

U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided

Whatever Donald Trump does on any given day, on whatever issue, for whatever reason … he loses.

Win the presidency … Trump loses.

Expand the GOP’s Senate Majority … Trump loses

Respond in kind to the dangerous taunts from Kim Jong Un … Trump loses.

Make nice to Kim Jong Un in Singapore … Trump loses.

Cut a trade deal with China’s Xi Jinping … Trump loses.

Champion a blow-out economy … Trump loses.

Extol the virtues of tax reform … Trump loses.

Raise his approval rating … Trump loses, loses and loses.

Never in recorded history have so many so-called journalists dumped so much detritus on any one president with so much speed and relish.

And with this unprecedented and unlimited exercise of Lose-Lose Journalism, any pretext of real or supposed objectivity (i.e., CNN, NBC, NYT, WaPo) has been relegated to First Amendment history books.

Almost DailyBrett didn’t mention the commentariat at MSNBC because one expects drip-drip way-left-of-center rhetoric from those who pass all the required liberal litmus tests to become a talking polemic on the network.

This humble analysis is not suggesting in the least that other presidents –, particularly Republican chief executives, have been denied a given smidgeon of the benefit of the doubt (i.e., Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 and 43). The level and intensity of today’s scorn – sometimes jumping the line to outright hatred of the president – is unprecedented in its sadness about what was once an admired profession.

Your author has written before about Affirmational Journalism (e.g., Dan Rather), Impact Journalism (Rolling Stone UVA rape story) and Oppositional Journalism (e.g., CNN), but Lose-Lose Journalism is a new phenomenon.

Whatever Trump does or doesn’t do … he is instinctively, instantly and vitriolically regardless of the outcome, judged to be … the loser.

Reminds one of the story of Richard Nixon gathering reporters to San Clemente, and then walking on water.

The New York Times headline the following morning: “Nixon Can’t Swim.”

Becoming Part of the Story

Is there a barely concealed desire by oodles of correspondents and reporters to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, bringing a Republican administration to its knees?

Is the Pope, Jesuit?

Many media psychologists have diagnosed Donald Joseph Trump as a narcissist. Does he bask in the glow of standing behind the podium with the presidential seal? It’s obvious.

What also seems to be undeniable are journalists-turned television personalities, who hog the limelight – one in particular refusing to yield to other reporters — to interrupt and challenge the president … violating the long-held journalistic standard about not becoming part of the story.

Do any media shrinks want to analyze the self-aggrandizing behavior of CNN’s Jim Acosta? Does he crave his own CNN program? Does he even more want to be responsible for bringing down the president? Does he hate the president as has been suggested elsewhere?

More important, does narcissistic Acosta cover the news or is he a vital and integral part of the news? If you want to know how important Jim Acosta is to the survival of our Democracy, maybe you should ask him.

He is now a cause-celebre as his White House media credentials have been pulled. His colleagues – whether they despise him or not – will circle the wagons on his behalf. Listen: You can hear Journalism lectures, equating out-of-control Acosta with the First Amendment.

Sure.

Moving away from the briefing room to the editorial pages, one must ask after scanning all the WaPo pundit headlines since 2015, who is actually reading these screeds?

The answer is the same elitist crowd that always consumes these epistles. Maybe even they are becoming bored with the same, predictable rhetoric?

How many times can Trump be labeled as a racist, misogynist, privileged, homophobic, transphobic … before each and every one of these once-explosive words becomes cliché?

We even heard angry rhetoric this week, suggesting that America is composed of non-racist and racist states. Guess which ones voted Democratic and which basket-of-deplorable states voted Republican?

When the racist, misogynist, homophobic cards are indiscriminately overplayed and overhyped in the media, does each of  every one of these loaded words lose at least a portion of their impact? Maybe we need new and improved pejorative words for our public vocabulary … or maybe not?

Almost DailyBrett is wondering whether lose-lose Journalism is the new norm for the Fourth Estate. Barack Obama feasted in a cavalcade of Win-Win Journalism. Trump is counterpunching daily via Twitter and other devices against Lose-Lose Journalism.

Will President #46 bask in Win-Win Journalism or endure another round of Lose-Lose Journalism.

Guess it depends on who is elected president.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/07/donald-trump-jim-acosta-white-house-news-conference/1920107002/

https://nypost.com/2018/11/07/jim-acosta-violated-one-of-the-oldest-rules-of-journalism/?utm_source=facebook_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

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

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

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

 

Does “academic freedom” come with accountability?

Does “academic freedom” come with personal responsibility, no matter how contentious the subject?

Does “academic freedom” come with an expectation of kindness, civility and integrity?

Or does “academic freedom” mean an anointed tenured professor has the license to say whatever he or she downright pleases just as long as the speech is judged to be not racist, homophobic or misogynist?

Translated: Outside these boundaries, can a tenured professor utter/write/tweet whatever he or she downright wants to say – no matter how ugly or vile – and then hide behind the First Amendment cloak of “Academic Freedom.”

Time-and-time again, the embarrassed university will fall back on the Mother of All Lame Arguments: (e.g., “the tenured professor is speaking for himself/herself, not the university”).

Sure.

And yet the media headlines will start with “University of Colorado Professor …” or “Fresno State University Professor …” or “Georgetown University Professor …,” not distinguishing the professor’s private screed with the his or her official duties.

And why should they?

This distinction reached the highest level of the absurd this past week when Twitter suspended offending Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair’s social media account, while the oldest Catholic University in the country warmed up for the next-in-a-long-line of university wrist slaps.

Wouldn’t want to get the bowels of tenured faculty unions into an uproar, now would we?

Suggesting that certain white males should die while feminists laugh at their last gasps of air, and how they should subsequently be castrated and fed to swine for some reason doesn’t work for Twitter, but it’s been essentially dismissed by Georgetown.

Almost DailyBrett to Professor Christine: Please don’t contend your vileness has been taken out of context … calling for castration of dead males and feeding their private body parts to pigs … is crystal clear in any plain reading.

“Amazing Racist”?

“Fuck out of here with your nice words.” – Fresno State Professor Randa Jarrar

Last April, immediately upon the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush, Professor Randa Jarrar took to Twitter to proclaim the newly departed as “As a generous and smart and amazing racist.”

She then added her wish for quick deaths for the entire Bush family, which produced two presidents and two governors.

Jarrar taunted those who dared to take issue with her rhetoric, saying she would not be fired by Fresno State.

Guess what? She was not terminated by Fresno State.

“Little Eichmanns”?

“As for those in the World Trade Center… True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. …  If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.” – Former Colorado University Professor Ward L. Churchill essay the day after the September 11 terror attacks

Quiz question: Which attack on U.S. soil produced a greater loss of innocent American lives? Pearl Harbor? September 11?

The answer is September 11, 2001, when 3,000 Americans succumbed, who were just going to work or flying on planes that would never reach their intended destinations.

And yet former University of Colorado Professor Churchill branded these innocent Americans as “little Eichmanns” after Adolf Eichmann, the notorious SS Holocaust organizer, who was executed in Israel.

Churchill was fired by Colorado University in 2007. After a series of court hearings, Churchill’s termination was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2012. The SCOTUS refused to consider the case, making the professor’s departure final.

Keep in mind, Churchill was not fired for his “little Eichmanns” comment, but instead for plagiarism, falsification and other misconduct. The university determined that a professor’s rant, comparing September 11 victims to a Holocaust plotter, was consistent with Churchill’s First Amendment Rights.

Castrated parts being fed to swine? The witch is dead? Little Eichmanns?

Is more of the same on the way from celebrated academics with tenure status? Count on it.

Is there any reasonable, enforceable way to put the brakes on vile statements from coddled professors?

How about a code of conduct clause in their contracts? First Amendment protection? Yes. Requirements for civility and integrity? Yes.

The academic unions will instinctively object to code of conduct clauses, demanding more legal tender instead.

How about university presidents insisting upon common decency in collective bargaining?

Time to go the mat? Don’t count on it.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/georgetown-professor-who-wished-death-to-gop-senators-supporting-kavanaugh-on-leave

https://www.foxnews.com/us/controversial-professor-suspended-by-twitter-after-call-for-deaths-of-gop-senators-kavanaugh

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19940243/ns/us_news-education/t/professor-fired-after–nazi-comparison/#.W7vJ_Ruou70

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/us/court-upholds-colorado-professor-ward-churchills-firing.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FChurchill%2C%20Ward%20L.&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/have-you-no-decency-professor/

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/biographies/eichmann-biography.htm

https://resources.workable.com/employee-code-of-conduct-company-policy

The University of Oregon’s student run newspaper, The Daily Emerald, reported that one registered Republican serves on the university’s Law School faculty, and another in its Political Science Department.

To these two poor souls Almost DailyBrett promises to keep your political affiliation, secret. Seriously.

For those of you scoring at home, these two departments sport 44 registered Democrats and two Republicans. Since 2015, more than 98 percent or more than $235,000 in donations from university faculty has been directed to liberal causes.

Only 98 percent?

Working on my 2012 master’s degree at UO, your author could imagine Adam Smith and his “Wealth of Nations” being embraced at the Lillis School of Business. According to the Emerald, only 50 percent of the business school faculty are registered Democrats.

About 100-yards to the east, the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) offers a totally different atmosphere.

Close your eyes. You can envision a lecture by Che Guevara being packed to the rafters. Don’t have to imagine the championing and teaching of Karl Marx, even though his philosophy continues to fail today (e.g., Maduro’s Venezuela).

Is the real philosophical gulf between the overwhelming number of faculty Democrats vs. the un pequito Republicans or more between those who embrace Social Justice and those who defend Capitalism?

For What It’s Worth

“The cultish professor who self-evidently reinforces a set of political beliefs is not something that just about anybody openly and consciously says is okay.” – Professor Craig Parsons, UO Department of Political Science chair

Amen.

The regular readers of Almost DailyBrett long ago determined your author is a registered Reaganite Republican and a staunch supporter of Buy Low, Sell High.

For my M.A. at the University of Oregon, your author created a college course in corporate communications and investor relations and taught it for more than five years.

Remember telling my students each quarter that whether they individually support or oppose capitalism, the main purpose of the class is to provide a realistic explanation of how global markets work. We also assessed the vital role public relations professionals play in presenting to investors an accurate picture of company financials and how a corporation makes money.

As Professor Parsons correctly states, it’s not appropriate for professors to indoctrinate their students. Instead, they should instill their profession-based knowledge – in this case, Wall Street and SEC disclosure rules – about how the real world works.

Is the goal of a university to develop activists or to prepare professionals to succeed in our free-market-driven, digital economy?

Does Political Stridency Enter The Classroom?

Alas, way too many times strident political discourse is being posted on the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media pages by professors. They will piously claim they are exercising their cherished First Amendment right of free speech and therefore commenting as a private citizen.

But what happens when their online rhetoric becomes the subject matter for a course syllabus, and thus is transformed into the classroom for discussion, follow-up quizzes, midterms and/or finals?

Will the student toe the philosophical line in order to secure a good grade?

One overly eager activist associate professor was requiring her students to watch the anti-Vietnam War documentary, “Hearts and Minds.” What about the individual hearts and minds of her students?

Another dean prompted her college to sponsor a series of lectures on mass incarceration, which is all well and good … except there were no speakers from the correctional/law enforcement community.

When asked about the absence of balance in the lecture series, she retorted: “There are no other views.”

Okay?

Disgraced commentator Bill O’Reilly was once lamenting to the late great Charles Krauthammer about the preponderance of liberal faculty on America’s college campuses. Krauthammer told him to accept a reality, which will never change.

The real issue is whether a professor’s political philosophy permeates into the classroom. Almost DailyBrett for the most part was impressed with Millennial students. They are the most-educated generation in the planet’s history and the most moved by experiential learning.

Let’s provide them with the facts about how the real world works and life-long skills (e.g., how to read an income statement and a balance sheet), and then give them the opportunity to excel and grow.

Dominating a classroom to forcefully instill your chosen political philosophy to develop activists is wrong and inappropriate.

Starting later this month, this practice will undoubtedly raise its ugly head once again.

https://www.dailyemerald.com/2018/08/20/does-it-matter-if-your-professor-is-a-democrat/

“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. Fuck outta here with your nice words.” – Fresno State English Professor Randa Jarrar in a tweet upon the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush

“I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee.” – Another tweet by Creative Writing Professor JarrarThe body was still warm on Tuesday.

And shortly thereafter, the race card was played with the nasty labels of “war criminal” thrown into tweets filled with unmitigated hatred. This time the ugly words were uttered by a tenured Fresno State Creative Writing Professor Randa Jarrar.

To his credit, Fresno State University President Joseph I. Castro immediately disassociated the university from Jarrar’s stunning tweets.

FSU Provost Lynette Zelezny said the professor’s horrific comments are under review in accordance with the university’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA). She was asked whether Jarrar could be fired. Zelezny answered the subjunctive question with the affirmative.

When it comes to tenure, CBAs and academic freedom and Jarrar’s outrageous tweets, Almost DailyBrett will take the “under” when it comes to firing a tenured professor.

If Jarrar is not fired, does that mean that tenured professors can say whatever they want, no matter how vile? Are we better as an academic community as a result?

First Amendment Rights/Academic Freedom? 

“I will never be fired.” – Jarrar

We all have the First Amendment Right of Free Speech, regardless of the level of maliciousness.

And tenured professors have “academic freedom.”

The question remains how far does “academic freedom” and CBAs extend when it comes to termination with cause?

Jarrar is taunting the administration of Fresno State, and quite frankly universities and colleges across the country.

When is too much, too much … or is the sky the limit, if there are any limits at all?

Can a university simply proclaim that a tenured professor in question can speak for himself or herself no matter how destructive the comments?

Almost DailyBrett takes issue with this notion.

As the former Press Secretary for the California Office of the Governor (e.g., George Deukmejian), the author of Almost DailyBrett did not have the academic freedom protection enjoyed by tenured professors. Instead your blog writer was an agent of the state, serving at the express pleasure of the governor.

There was zero separation between my own personal comments and my official duties as press secretary. When the phone rang at home at 1 am and a reporter was on the line, yours truly was not a private citizen but a 24/7/365 representative of the Office of the Governor for the largest state in the union.

Likewise, Professor Jarrar is indeed a wealthy $100,000 per year agent of the State of California, and by extension Fresno State University.

She is teaching the leaders of tomorrow, which should make any decent person shudder.

Where Are The University Presidents?

“A professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish. We are all held accountable for our actions.” – FSU President Castro

Will there ever be a time when a rhetorical red line is crossed by a tenured professor?

Will President Castro eventually succumb to the pressure of his tenured faculty, simply slap Jarrar on the wrist, and let her back into her classroom with a big cat-who-swallowed-the-canary smile on her face?

Will he and others in the administration by omission send the image of an uncaring Fresno State University to students, parents and alumni? Will the university president essentially pardon a professor, who wishes for the quick deaths of a revered American family that produced two presidents?

The deciding question is not free speech, academic freedom and collective bargaining agreements.

The real issue is accountability vs. no accountability, when there is no doubt a red line has been trampled.

An agent of the state has betrayed her trust.

Will FSU President Castro and Provost Zelezny have the courage to stand up for decency in these vitriolic times?

Almost DailyBrett is hoping that is the case.

Don’t hold your breath.

Almost DailyBrett note: As predicted Professor Randa Jarrar was not fired because of her tenure. Her insensitive tweets and arrogant referral of critics to call a State of Arizona mental health hotline notwithstanding. President Castro wants to assure FSU donors that Jarrar doesn’t speak for the university. Let the checks be written.

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article209227364.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/04/18/after-calling-barbara-bush-an-amazing-racist-a-professor-taunts-critics-i-will-never-be-fired/?noredirect=on

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-secrets-of-a-great-first-spouse-1524177700

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article209752459.html

 

“My finger said what I was feeling, I’m angry and I’m frustrated.” – Former Marketing and Communications professional Juli Briskman

TOPSHOT – A woman on a bike gestures with her middle finger as a motorcade with US President Donald Trump departs Trump National Golf Course October 28, 2017 in Sterling, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

As we all know: You cannot yell “Theatre!” in a crowded fire station.

There are indeed reasonable limits to our cherished First Amendment Right of Free Speech.

As an employee of any organization, one instinctively knows that not all speech is protected.

When are you on the clock working for the boss?

And when are you on your own time?

Is there a distinction (without a difference?)? Are they one-and-the-same?

Last month, Juli Briskman went out for a Saturday bike ride. During the course of her ride, she encountered a convoy of limousines and secret service protection. It was indeed the caravan of the 45th President of the United States.

Briskman utilized the opportunity from the bike lane to give the occupant the infamous one-finger salute.

As another sign of our digital 21st Century times, the photo of her gesture went viral. After becoming a 15-minute-plus celebrity, Briskman reportedly posted her middle-finger image on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

As it turns out her employer, a federal contractor by the name of Akima LLC, found her gesture toward POTUS neither funny nor amusing. Briskman claimed she was just a simple bike rider on her own time flipping off the president.

Akima, located in an employment-at-will state (e.g., Virginia), quickly made the decision to fire Briskman for twice-at-least posting her single-digit salute to the nation’s chief executive on social media.

Considering the divisiveness of today’s politics, the coverage of her gesture/firing quickly became big-time news for affirmational journalists. GoFundMe reportedly even raised $30,000 to support Briskman, bringing into question whether subsequent coarsening-of-America actions will become charitable giving opportunities?

Still the basic interrogative needs to be answered: Are you really on your own time and as a result able to express yourself however/whenever you want, when you are employed on an at-will basis?

Pleasure Appointment

Five years ago, the author of Almost DailyBrett wrote about his “No Second Beer Rule,” reflecting on his tenure as a lead media spokesman/Press Secretary for California Governor George Deukmejian.

As a “Pleasure Appointee” of the 35th Governor of the State of California, yours truly never separated my official role in the Office of the Governor from my personal life. They were essentially one-and-the-same for eight years.

Many times media calls came in the middle of the night. Here’s where the no two-beer rule came into play: If I was quoted while under the influence and subsequently uttered a major gaffe, there is little doubt the governor would have relieved me from my duties.

Worse if I was pulled over for DUI, your author would NOT be just another irresponsible sap arrested for drunk driving. Instead, one can easily envision the headlines: “Governor Deukmejian Press Secy Arrested for DUI.”

There is absolutely no distinction in this case between private citizen/government employee in a sensitive job working for the governor of the largest state in the union.

Yours truly would have been immediately terminated with cause by the former attorney general and would understand completely why my foolish actions led to my dismissal. It was truly a privilege to serve the governor, and with that opportunity came a sacred responsibility.

There would not be any $30,000 support payment for me.

#HasJustineLandedYet

I’m an IAC employee and I don’t want @JustineSacco doing any communications on our behalf ever again. Ever.” – Unnamed IAC employee responding Justine Sacco’s tweet

Justine Sacco had it made.

At 30-years-young, she was the senior director of Corporate Communications for InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IAC), a $3 billion+ internet and media services company with more than 100 recognizable brands (i.e., The Daily Beast, Match.com, Vimeo, Angie’s List …).

During the 2013 holidays, Sacco was flying from JFK with a stop at Heathrow and then continuing on to Cape Town, South Africa. She was firing off acerbic tweets about English teeth and German body odor during her trip. And then she hit the send button on an immediately viral, less-than-140 characters tweet, which changed her life forever.

Sacco was terminated before her plane landed in Cape Town. She slept during the course of her 11-hour flight from London to Cape Town with her phone in “airplane” mode.  She did not understand the consequences of her tweet until she turned on her phone.

As a college professor teaching public relations, advertising, corporate communications and investor relations, my students are simply stunned when Sacco’s PowerPoint slide of her tweet is first presented.

Was she simply not thinking? Was she trying to be cute or clever? Is she, racist?

The answer to the first is certainly, yes. The response to the second is, most likely. The fact the third question is even asked in a serious vain is damning in-and-of itself.

She may have been on a holiday trip to South Africa and may have seen herself as simply exercising her guaranteed First Amendment Rights as a citizen. Nonetheless, she was the senior director of Corporate Public Relations for a major publicly traded company and she fired off an acerbic and insensitive tweet that comes across as racist and not caring about the spread of AIDS in Africa.

InterActiveCorp was well within its rights in terminating Justine. In fact, the company really had no choice.

Maybe if she had just flipped off the President of the United States, she may still be working for IAC today … or maybe not.

Alas, life is just not fair.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/woman-flips-off-donald-trump-fired_us_59fe0ab4e4b0c9652fffa484

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/no-second-beer-rule/

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/359727-crowdfunding-campaign-raises-over-30k-for-woman-fired-for

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/07/woman-fired-after-flipping-off-trumps-motorcade.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/06/politics/juli-briskman-motorcade-protest/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0

http://uproxx.com/webculture/what-happened-to-justine-sacco-the-woman-whose-life-was-ruined-by-an-aids-joke-she-made-on-twitter/

 

 

 

 

“The man who reads nothing is more educated than the one who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.” – Joseph Pulitzer

Has there ever been a time in recorded history when past-and-present reporters have been so incensed?

Has there ever been a time in recorded history when past-and-present reporters have been so happy?

trumpenemy1

 

 

Donald Trump is good to the last drop, and reporters, editors and correspondents love it.

In the parlance of journalism, Trump is “great copy,” maybe the best story of all time.

Just like catnip, the media can’t stay away. They can’t help themselves. They not-so-secretly want to bring down Trump, and they want to bring him down hard. He in turn has declared war on the “failing” New York Times and the “Clinton News Network” (CNN) and several others.

Some First Amendment types have brought up the names of the worst despots (i.e., Stalin, Mao, Mussolini …) in global history, stating that totalitarian regimes start this way. These critics completely omit the inconvenient fact that dictators dominate their media and use it for their own propaganda.

Trump may be trying to control the media through Twitter and other means, but he can’t … and he is crafty enough to know that. When his tenure comes to an end, the media will have the last word.

An Adversary By Any Other Name Is Still An Adversary

As a press secretary for a Republican governor (e.g., George Deukmejian) in a blue state (e.g., California) during a time when it was “Morning in America” (e.g., The 1980s), the author of Almost DailyBrett confronted two adversaries on a daily basis: The Democrats in the state Legislature, and the political press corps.

Were these two adversaries officially aligned, and did they coordinate their opposition to our administration? The answer of course was for the most part, negative.

Democratic press secretaries really only have to be concerned with one adversary: Republicans. The media largely serve as their unofficial allies.

enemiesofthepeople

Keep in mind, the vast majority of reporters, editors and correspondents take a vow of poverty to work in the Fourth Estate. As a result, they are distrustful of those who espouse buy low, sell high. The media for the most part concur with those who see raising taxes and manna from the government as the solution to every societal problem.

Is it a stretch to suggest the media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, NBC News, CNN …) are an extension of the Democratic Party? Yes, but not that much of a stretch. Republicans instinctively look at the masthead or the source of any poll or assertion, and immediately discount it, if it hails from predictable liberal media.

Think of it this way, good-and-dependable government is contrary to the economic interests of the media. If government works and is grounded in a steady philosophy (e.g., Deukmejian years), the media is bored and restless … a bored media is a dangerous media.

Consider this question: If 999 planes land safely at DFW Airport and one crashes, which one gets the attention of the newsies? The media feed off crisis, chaos and dysfunction. Whatever you admit, acknowledge or concede will be printed or broadcasted 99 percent of the time … or does Almost DailyBrett understate the case?

And what has Trump given the media? A steady stream of chaos and controversy, which leads to “great copy” and “good dirt.” Let’s ask here and now: Are the media’s best interests consistent with the nation’s well-being? Does the media relish reporting about that one plane, which falls out of the sky, allowing them to cover it and generate good copy?

trumpenemy

If the answer is “yes,” does that make the media a friend, an adversary … or worse?

The great-and-late New York Times pundit, William Safire, ghostwrote these words about the media for largely inarticulate and disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew: “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.”

Is it good politics for Trump to take on the media, especially before red meat audiences such as the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC)?

According to Gallup in 2016, only 32 percent have a great deal/fair amount of confidence in the media, a decrease of 8 percent from 2015 and down 40 percent from the post Woodward & Bernstein era in 1976. Yikes! Guess that means that nearly 70 percent of Americans have a poor or no opinion about the media.

The media relishes pointing out Trump’s approval rating of only 44.4 percent (e.g., Real Clear Politics polling average), but even the unpopular president is running 12 percent ahead of the post-Dan Rather-era elite media. Both Trump and especially, the media, need better public relations.

Trump has many sins to atone for, but he is neither the first White House resident to complain and disdain the media nor will he be the last.

One rule he certainly has violated was summed up beautifully in the 19th Century:

“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” – Mark Twain

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/426038.Joseph_Pulitzer

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/trump-calls-the-media-the-enemy-of-the-american-people/?utm_term=.8431a8b1b181

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/21/the-lefts-hypocrisy-on-trumps-enemy-of-the-american-people-comment/

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain135280.html

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Nabobs_natter_about_the_passing_of_William_Safire_1929-2009.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/admit-acknowledge-or-concede/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

 

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