Tag Archive: Fourth Estate


“You guys are obsessed with Trump … You pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. … He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him. – Michelle Wolf speaking to the White House Correspondents Association dinner

Michelle Wolf once again proved the old adage: A stopped clock is indeed right twice a day.

Supposedly, Alec Baldwin is getting “tired” always playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” Somehow, someway Alec makes a go of it, even bringing in the real Stefanie Clifford (e.g., porn “star” Stormy Daniels) to play herself as SNL ratings soar.

Speaking to media expert Howard Kurtz, former RNC chairman and Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, pointed to the universal improvement of media business models and share prices, and proclaimed:

“Trump is Money.”

Whether you are a conservative switching on Fox News, a liberal watching CNN’s angry talking heads or a socialist getting his or her red-meat fix on MSNBC, all three of these news networks are virtually 24/7/365 Donald Trump … and their ratings are upwards to the right.

Everyone and anywhere, the conversations are about Trump. As Patrick Buchanan once said: “Worse than being misquoted, is not being quoted at all.” Trump never suffered from this malady.

Since June 2015, the media has been in a foaming-at-the-mouth state of Schadenfreude waiting to stomp on Trump’s political grave … and yet the news of his demise has been greatly exaggerated.

As Almost DailyBrett and others have stated, Trump is a walking-talking-breathing, daily-outrage via Twitter or his own verbal expression machine. He is catnip to the media, and the Fourth Estate felines are stoned.

Some have suggested the American media (e.g., Wolf quote above) created Donald Trump and made his presidency possible. The mediaQuant estimates are America media provided the wealthiest presidential candidate in history with $4.6 billion (advertising equivalent) in earned media coverage.

Like him or detest him, Trump — “The Apprentice” — knows how the media works and plays it like a violin. There is nothing the media animal loves more than a good fight or a sordid controversy. Trump delivers in spades.

Show Me The Trump Money

The stately Gray Lady, The New York Times, (“All the News That’s Fit to Print”) at one time set the national agenda, providing us mere mortals with the daily subjects to think about and discuss over the dinner table.

That all ended with Twitter, particularly Trump’s nocturnal tweets – most outrageous, some not. Instead of the NYT being the poster child of Agenda Setting Theory, Trump with his presidential bully pulpit is posing the questions of the day … even before the Times hits the streets.

The inhabitants of the New York Times ivory tower have been preempted and leveraged, and they hate it. Let’s … yes, let’s write another front-page editorial chastising this rogue in the White House. That’ll show him.

Here’s the rub. Counterintuitively, negative publicity actually helps Trump. And in turn, Trump sells newspapers, raises Nielsen Ratings and boosts book sales.

We are approaching the three-year anniversary (June 16) of The Donald descending the Trump Tower escalator to declare his candidacy. The media was laughing back then, and going to the bank today.

Shares of the aforementioned New York Times are up 62.48 percent in the same three-year time period. 21st Century Fox, the parent of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, increased 11.62 percent. Comcast (NBC and MSNBC) is up 12.64 percent. Washington Post, 7.75 percent. Time Warner (CNN), 9.99 percent … How’s that for creating shareholder value?

The media is making money – lots of money – off Donald Trump. They can’t wait to collectively dance on his political grave, but just not now … pretty please with sugar on top.

Hold your collective ears New York Times Pharisees: When it comes to Donald Trump, you are only too eager …  yes, too eager … to buy low and sell high.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/arts/television/snl-stormy-daniels-donald-glover.html

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/30/17301436/michelle-wolf-speech-transcript-white-house-correspondents-dinner-sarah-huckabee-sanders

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/30/breakingviews-trump-cold-shoulder-for-tv-ads-may-set-the-trend.html

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13896916/1/donald-trump-rode-5-billion-in-free-media-to-the-white-house.html

 

 

 

 

“After the United States gobbled up California and half of Mexico, and we (Nazi Germany) were stripped down to nothing, territorial expansion suddenly becomes a crime. It’s been going on for centuries, and it will still go on,” – Hermann Goering at the Nürnberg Trials

The charges at the Nürnberg Trials focused on Nazi Germany’s conspiracy to wage global war, and as a result millions were left dead across devastated Europe, and more than 6 million perished in the Holocaust.

The 1945-1946 Nürnberg judicial proceedings had zero to do with the 19th Century US acquisition of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas following the Mexican War. Goering’s lame attempt at “WhatAboutism?” ultimately failed as a legal tactic.

And while Goering dodged the hangman’s noose via a cyanide tablet, the practice of “WhatAboutism?,” clumsily evading inconvenient subjects with rhetorical deflections, is alive and well in our 21st Century discourse.

If the subject is the #MeToo movement, why do more than a few Democrats say “WhatAbout Donald Trump (e.g., Stormy Daniels)?” and more than a few Republicans chime in with “WhatAbout Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky)?” Neither gent is a paragon of virtue. We all know that.

Isn’t the real subject about sexual harassment/abuse targeting women regardless of the perpetrator’s side of the political divide or profession (i.e., major networks, Hollywood …)?

Shouldn’t we address and endeavor as a civilized society to solve these widespread abuses targeting women? Or should we deflect attention (“What about … ?”) to avoid an uncomfortable subject, and better yet score political points?

Is “WhatAboutism?” the first-and-last recourse of the intellectually vanquished?

Does “WhatAboutism” Say More About The Perpetrator or The Receiver?

“He (Vice President Mike Pence) thinks abortion is murder, which first of all don’t knock it till you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it—you know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there.” – Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents Association dinner

“Essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse.” – Merriam-Webster definition of WhatAboutism

Every time, Almost DailyBrett hears a “WhatAboutism?,” a series of stages ensues in this order:

  1. Eyes roll (again); 2. Concludes that a nerve has been hit by the impulsive “WhatAbout?” reaction. 3. Realizes the “WhatAbout?” rejoinder is only intended to deflect attention/change the subject 4. Almost DailyBrett is even more determined than ever to stay on the subject, triggering a second “WhatAbout …?”

You can run Mr. or Ms. “WhatAbout?,” but you can’t hide.

If Hermann Goering can reference the Mexican War, why can’t we raise the “WhatAbout?” question about the Norman Conquest, and maybe even the Romans?

If a decent person with integrity questions Michelle Wolf’s absolutely hilarious abortion/tampon jokes at the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner, does mere dissent instinctively draw a “What About” rejoinder from the defenders of “Oppositional Journalism”?

Hey just think. … Maybe … just maybe … Michelle Wolf’s lame attempt at below-the-belt, bathroom humor (e.g., cruelly directed at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others) was totally inappropriate for a black tie dinner of the objective Fourth Estate in Washington, D.C.?.

Instead of deflecting questions about the Wolf’s vile, hate speech with an “WhatAbout?” interrogative, why can’t the responder instead ask whether the WHCA actually vetted the speaker?

Why can’t the receiver of incoming rhetorical arrows actually make a stand, and put up a spirited defense? How about the tried-and-true response from your author’s Sacramento days:

When all else fails: declare victory.  Thinking: (“Yep, we won … And here’s why).

Instead of affixing our rhetorical bayonets and rallying all the ethos, logos and pathos at our disposal, way too many “WhyAboutists” are simply deflecting their responses to some other notorious example (e.g., Mexican War) – many times unrelated —  to return fire.

The “WhatAboutists?” think they are so smug, when in reality they are waving their intellectual white flags.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hermann_G%C3%B6ring

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/whataboutism-origin-meaning

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/whataboutism-what-about-it/2017/08/17/4d05ed36-82b4-11e7-b359-15a3617c767b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6f53b84cac9f

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-dogs-breakfast-of-a-dinner-1525388174

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

 

 

 

 

 

It was the agony of defeat … over and over again.

All throughout the garbage-time fourth quarter in South Bend, the voyeuristic NBC cameras kept focusing on the deadpan face of an obviously hurting 20-year-old college student.

He was anything Saturday but “So Good, So Cool, So Cal.”

The Associated Press pointed out that USC has already turned over the ball 19 times in eight games, emphasizing that 16 of these were committed by quarterback Sam Darnold.

There will be no all-expense-paid trip to New York in December.

Someone else will receive the Heisman.

There will be better days for Sam Darnold, maybe this coming weekend in Tempe.

He will celebrate his 21st birthday next June 5.

As a college professor, who once roamed the sidelines as a student football manager for both USC and Oregon in the mid-1970s, Almost DailyBrett must ask:

Are pre-season Heisman Trophy hype campaigns launched by university athletic departments/sports information offices in the best interest of a college-student/athlete, who is not old enough to legally order a beer?

Is the young stud ready for the plethora of writers, camera lenses, microphones and fawning stories? The media is absolutely superb at building up a celebrity; the beast is even better at crashing the new hero down to earth and stomping on him.

Some may contend these premature campaigns draw national media attention that carries over to the season and may lead to holding up the most famous stiff-arm in all of sports.

USC athletes need extra media attention in the second largest television market in the country?

Almost DailyBrett wonders whether more times than naught these athletic departments are setting up these young people, students at their school – most not ready for the limelight – for failure by the jury-judge-executioner media (e.g., MSESPN).

Believe it or not, these kids have to go to school, attend classes, submit papers, work on projects and take exams (okay, maybe not the University of North Carolina basketball team).

Your author knows as much as any other writer, how a mere university cannot control the Fourth Estate. If the folks in Bristol, Connecticut or Sports Illustrated wish to build up their list of Heisman candidates before the season starts, who is going to stop them?

Cats are easier to herd.

Halloween and The First CFP Rankings

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will not release its rankings for the real contenders for the sport’s four playoff spots until Halloween, safely past the mid-point of the season.

If the NCAA is “wise” enough to put off the hoopla surrounding who could be playing in the first semifinal at the Rose Bowl and the second in the New Orleans Superdome, then why can’t this august body put a kibosh on overactive athletic departments, exploiting underage students?

Many say: “Where are the parents?” Almost DailyBrett asks: “Where are the university presidents?”

It doesn’t matter whether a student seeking the NFL degree attends a heavily covered traditional power (e.g., USC Heisman campaign for Sam Darnold and Matt Barkley) or less heavily covered sometimes power (e.g., Oregon with the Joey Harrington Times Square billboard and Marcus Mariota), the respective athletic departments/sports information departments need to remember the football team represents the university … not the other away around.

Football is a team sport. Yes, everyone knows a quarterback is the most equal-of-the-equals and has the best chance of holding up the Heisman hardware, but the trophy is not presented on a Southern California beach in August.

The 12+-week season is a grind. This year’s team may not be the same as last year’s team. Conferences abound with college towns and trap games. College football is much more unpredictable than the brand played by the National Field-Goal League (NFL).

Sam Darnold is talented, but clearly does not have the hogs in the offensive line or the skill players beside him. The Trojans are good, maybe the best in the Pac-12, in a down year for the conference. The league will not send a team to the playoff unless there is dog-eat-dog chaos in the other conferences.

Hopefully, Darnold’s parents will be wise enough to steer him to return to USC for another year. He needs the time to work on his game, hit the books and earn a degree in communications. There may even be a Heisman Trophy and the NFL dollars in his happier future.

Wonder if the USC Athletic Department/Sports Information Office can dial back the P.T. Barnum/Donald Trump hype and let a good college kid be a good college kid?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Darnold

http://www.espn.com/college-football/undefined

http://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/la-sp-usc-notre-dame-20171021-story.html

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/college-football-playoff-rankings-2017-2018-release-date-schedule-cfp-selection-day-committee-national-championship/t22jkpo01wej1j8dzmr925m28

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/should-matt-barkley-be-canonized/

https://247sports.com/college/usc/Article/Sam-Darnold-says-Irish-were-a-little-too-much-to-handle-109296081

 

 

 

 

“Donald Trump is like a vampire; he never sleeps.” – Bill O’Reilly

To be accurate he does sleep a tad, and nocturnally he tweets a ton to 40.6 million-plus recipients.

During a late-1980s visit of Almost DailyBrett to Sardine City (a.k.a. The White House Press Briefing Room), there were wire-service reporters, who drew the short straws, and were assigned to Presidential “Death Watch.”

Translated these graveyard-shift members of the Fourth Estate were expected to be poised and ready to report, if the president passed away in his sleep. Fortunately, the media was never required to write/broadcast about a president expiring in the White House living quarters.

It was quite simply one of the most boring jobs on the planet … until 10 months ago.

The “Death Watch” reporter now has to be glued to her/his mobile device/laptop for the next 280-character-or-less epistle(s) from the Tweeter-in Chief @realDonaldTrump. In the last two years, his Twitter handle has generated 36,100 tweets, ranking the president at #22 worldwide, ironically one place in front of … The New York Times.

As it turns out the political class now needs to be aware of what Trump is tweeting at 3:20 am EDT, and there appears to be little if any advance warning for even his allies (e.g., Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders) or objective/non-objective adversaries.

Trump has introduced widespread insomnia to the denizens of the Potomac, and also media/pundit types east of the Hudson. At the same time he has usurped the elite media’s role in setting the agenda for America’s national conversation.

It’s time to state the obvious:

Instead of the elite-media (i.e. NYT, WSJ, WaPo, Big Three nets) framing national issue discussions under Agenda Setting Theory, Trump has stolen this mantle through his frantic and many times undisciplined tweeting.

For better or worse, Trump is setting or preempting the agenda and the elite media doesn’t like it one little bit.

The First Social Media President?

“Think of Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats or Ronald Reagan’s television addresses. More recently, presidents have used the internet to directly reach the public, making journalists increasingly irrelevant … “– Northeastern Associate Communication Studies Professor Greg Goodale

“Increasingly irrelevant”? Those are fightin’ words.

Considering that Twitter was founded only 11 years ago, it stands to reason that President Barack Obama was the first chief executive to dabble with tweeting. Having said that, did Obama’s tweets ever rise to the level of newsworthy stories, much less threatening elite-media Agenda Setting?

There is a new sheriff in town and part of the reason he is occupying the White House is directly linked to his provocative and disruptive tweets. Not only does Trump set the agenda, he can also shift, preempt and deflect the 24/7 news cycles with subjects of his choosing.

Some contended the elite-media’s cherished role in Agenda Setting would be eroded by widespread public participation in social media (e.g., 10.3 million tweeted during the first Obama vs. Romney debate in 2012).

Instead, research has demonstrated that reporters/correspondents/pundits use Twitter to silently collude with each during a 21st Century presidential debate. Instead of weakening Agenda Setting Theory, the media role in setting the agenda was actually enhanced through second-screen group think.

Whether the elite media should be charged with deciding what issues should be the subject of national conversation is debatable. What is not the subject of dispute is the fact that Twitter has become Trump’s most reliable bully pulpit.

Is Trump provocative in his tweets? Absolutely.

Has he interrupted the elite media setting of the national discussion? With relish.

Has Trump stepped on his own legislative/political agenda with his tweets? No question.

Has Trump in far too many cases to count been undisciplined in his use of Twitter, attacking both friends and foes? The case is closed.

Does the elite media absolutely grind their collective teeth and literally hate Trump’s Twitter use most of all? Is the Pope Catholic?

Will the 46th President of the United States use social media? Did FDR hold radio “Fireside Chats”? Did Kennedy and Reagan excel on television?

Social media tools are here to stay. As Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen coined, they are game-changing “destructive technologies.”

And similar to nuclear devices, Twitter is at the fingertips of one Donald John Trump.

http://news.northeastern.edu/2016/12/how-donald-trump-is-changing-presidential-communication/

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/curtis-houck/2017/08/07/

https://techofcomm.wordpress.com/tag/donald-trump/

https://twittercounter.com/realDonaldTrump

http://politics.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-46

Angela Merkel is not a feminist.

There is no need for her to talk about breaking through any glass ceilings. In her own characteristic quiet and unassuming way, Merkel smashed it 12 years ago, and just did it again for the third time.

For maybe the first time since the end of occupation in 1949 Germany is a quiet, normal and happy nation, an obvious contrast to the Brexit Brits or the Trump-era Americans.

Today she is the thrice re-elected Chancellor of the patriarchal Fatherland, who just happens to be a woman … a great woman.

The soft-spoken Merkel is the most powerful voice in Europe. Some refer to her as the leader of the free world, a designation she does not want and a role that is simply too big for Germany and its 82 million people. The Economist accurately portrays Merkel’s Germany as the “reluctant hegemon.”

Merkel is on track to becoming one of the longest serving and most likely one of the greatest Kanzlers in the history of the Federal Republic of Deutschland (Bundesrepublik). Her only historical rivals are the memories of Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl.

Best of all, there is no need for Merkel to speak in the first-person singular: Ich, Mein, Mich. She prefers to talk about das Land, Deutschland.

Her campaign motto: “A Germany where we live well and gladly.” To Almost DailyBrett, this wordy mantra conjures pleasant memories of “Morning in America.”

Missing The Real Story … Again

Alas, despite Merkel’s historic accomplishments the media seems preoccupied with the initial third-place entrance of the anti-EU, anti-refugee Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) into the legislative Bundestag with about 13 percent of the vote.

With all due respect to the all-knowing and hyperventilating Fourth Estate, that’s not the story. Think of it this way: 87 percent of German voters opted for other parties, while re-electing Angela Merkel.

Maybe Merkel has unintentionally taught the world an answer to unfortunate/systemic misogyny and sexism:

Undoubtedly influenced by her Ph.D in quantum chemistry, Merkel scientifically examines the issue at hand, seeks input from a variety of sources, prepares soundly, and announces a reasoned decision. There is no place for high oratory about glass ceilings in a nation that no longer wants oratory and political symbolism/pageantry. Instead her secret is to get the job done and to do it well.

Indeed, good government is good politics.

Dealing with Germany’s past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung), the nation now more than ever seeks order (Ordnung).

Merkel does not rattle the collective cages of the Fatherland’s patriarchy. She has been pejoratively labeled “Mutti,” a German diminutive of “mother.” Merkel wears this soft-sounding invective as a badge, once proclaiming that Germany is in good hands (and care) with her leadership.

Despite being labeled as the leader of the Western world, the center-right chancellor wants to work within the framework of the European Union and NATO. Since the founding of the EU, Europe has enjoyed the longest period of sustained peace in the continent’s history.

In her victory speech — that didn’t sound like a victory speech – Merkel said that she will examine why some Germans voted for the AfD, and explore how her CDU/CSU party can appeal to these poor souls.

The immediate task is the formation of a coalition government, most likely a Jamaica coalition that mirrors the colors of the island nation’s flag: CDU/CSU (black); Free Democrats (yellow) and Die Grünen (naturally … green).

After the coalition building process is done, Merkel will go back to systemically addressing issues at home and throughout Europe in her time-tested consensus building approach. There will be no time to talk and muse about her place in history.

And when it comes time for an assessment about “What Happened” during her tenure, Merkel will gladly leave that task to others.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41376577

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/world/europe/germany-election-merkel.html?mcubz=1

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/bundestagswahl-im-sz-liveblog-bundestag-waechst-wohl-um-mindestens-sitze-1.3671253

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/16/sunday-review/angela-merkel-feminist-germany.html

https://www.economist.com/blogs/kaffeeklatsch/2017/09/next-bundestag

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21728641-assessing-leader-inscrutable-sphinxes-divas-and-queens-how-angela-merkel-changing

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/morning-in-germany/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkel

“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

 

Some contend that you can’t quantify, “free media.”

Oh, really?

How about $2 billion in estimated free media for one, Donald Trump?trumpratings

To be more accurate let’s be sure to call publicity, public relations and dealing with the media for what it really is: Earned Media. There is absolutely nothing “free” about facing the music posed by the Fourth Estate.

And when it comes to wall-the-wall conventional-and-digital media coverage, no one rivals Donald Trump. The media just can’t get enough of the developer-reality TV personality-turned presidential candidate. They may instinctively not like him, but who cares for now; he’s good for ratings.

When a Republican presidential debate (e.g., sometimes a sophomoric verbal food fight) comes to an end, the host network each-and-every time interviews Trump first before turning to any other contender.

Is all the fawning attention on The Donald emanating exclusively from Fox News? Consider the ongoing feud between Trump and network boss Roger Ailes and the answer is an obvious, “no.” The GOP populist (oxymoron?) is also in demand on CNN and (gasp…), MSNBC.

Trump’s two remaining challengers for the Republican nomination have not even come close when it comes to earned media. According to mediaQuant and its analysis of media exposure equated to advertising dollars and media outlet influence and reach, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has drawn $313 million and Ohio Governor John Kasich has secured only $38 million.

Guess who is winning the Republican nomination fight?trumpmedia

On the other side of the great political divide, Senator Bernie Sanders has repeatedly complained about the influence of money in political campaigns and has called for the overturning of the 2010 U.S, Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC.

In all due respect to the honorable senator, the possible future government imposition of advertising spending limitations (e.g., paid media) for political action committees (PAC), corporations and unions would have zero impact on earned media … and for that matter owned media (i.e., websites, social media, blogs, events, brochures …).

What’s ironic is Trump is certainly the wealthiest candidate to ever contest for the presidency (e.g., somewhere between $4 billion and $10 billion in personal net worth), and yet he doesn’t rely on advertising (only $10 million) or extensive PAC contributions. Why would he have to, if the media will provide gobs of free access to its airwaves, digital content and newsprint?

How about $400 million worth of media time in the last month alone?

Schadenfreude Journalism

“They [the Marines] break you down in order to build you back up.” – Oft-heard description of the tender-loving care exhibited by the U.S. Marine Corps

“The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” — Chicago Evening Post journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne

The danger that comes from overreliance on earned media can be exhibited by the U.S.M.C.’s Camp Pendleton boot camp in California, but in reverse.

Instead of breaking you down in order to build you back up, the media loves to build you up only to gleefully bring you crashing down into a pile of personal wreckage. Almost DailyBrett has been known to refer to this practice as either ‘Vulture Journalism’ or ‘Schadenfreude Journalism.’vulture

The media is just so darn happy that you are so sad.

Remember President Gary Hart, President Newt Gingrich or President John Edwards?

What movie won this year’s Academy Award for best picture? Spotlight, the story of how the special investigative unit of the Boston Globe exposed the systemic neglect of Cardinal Bernard Law, allowing literally hundreds of pedophile priests to prey upon literally thousands of young boys and girls.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger target than the Catholic Church. Guess the comb-over scalp of Donald Trump will serve these purposes for now.

The Big-Three networks and the 24-7-365 cable news types are basking in the advertising dollars that come from Trump-driven higher ratings, but do the media elites and Washington political class really want Republican Trump to be sitting in the Oval Office? The answer is obvious.

Let’s ask here and now, has there ever been a bigger political target for a salivating carnivorous media in the post-Richard-Nixon era than one Donald Trump?

Those who live by earned media die by earned media.

Most reporters, editors and correspondents literally take a vow of poverty in order to enter the brutal and volatile profession of journalism. They can only imagine a Donald Trump lifestyle, but will never have the personal resources to even come close. Will they care about a Comb Over smack down?

They will relish in afflicting his personal comfort, and most of all denying him the White House.trumpratings1

Republicans often complain about a double standard, not only having to contest the Democrats but the media as well. Take this equation and multiply it by 10 … or how about 100?

When the dust settles in early November, there is little doubt the undisputed earned media champion will be Donald Trump.

And also when in the dust settles in early November, will the earned media whipping boy also be Donald Trump? Don’t bet against it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/03/15/the-medias-2b-gift-to-trump/

http://time.com/money/4260127/trump-free-media-coverage-2-billion/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/what-the-marines-know-about-discipline-that-will-make-you-a-better-athlete

http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/what-the-marines-know-about-discipline-that-will-make-you-a-better-athlete

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/persona-matters/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/megyn-kelly-and-the-beast/

http://www.poynter.org/2014/today-in-media-history-mr-dooley-the-job-of-the-newspaper-is-to-comfort-the-afflicted-and-afflict-the-comfortable/273081/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/movies/review-in-spotlight-the-boston-globe-digs-up-the-catholic-churchs-dirt.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2002/01/06/church-allowed-abuse-priest-for-years/cSHfGkTIrAT25qKGvBuDNM/story.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damning with Negatives

I am not a crook.” – Richard Nixon.

Watergate.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – Bill Clinton.

Monica Lewinsky.

People will complain, but this is not excessive.” University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens about the school’s over-the-top $68 million (at least) football building.

Ferrari Leather.

She’s not out of touch.” – Bill Clinton defending Hillary’s “dead broke” comments.

Hillary’s more than $200,000 per speech; $5 million New York home and more, much more.

hillarysawyer

What possesses some of the best-and-the-brightest to essentially confirm an allegation with a poorly conceived negative response, some of which become eternally enshrined? The same applies with those who use negative statements to try to overturn a mistatement or worse, a damaging gaffe.

Aren’t there more positive ways to deflect charges, clearing the way for a candidate, office holder or organization to move on, avoid less-than-pleasant headlines, and better yet, allow an incident to pass into history (if that is indeed possible)?

“When did you stop beating your wife?”

Reporter: “Would you say that (insert pejorative word)…”

Think of it this way: A reporter, editor, correspondent just handed you a rope and gave you the opportunity to hang yourself and by extension your employer.  As a former gubernatorial press secretary for eight years and corporate spokesman for a decade, the author of Almost DailyBrett is wise to the majority of the tricks employed by the less than scrupulous members of the Fourth Estate.

Reporter thinking: ‘Hmmm…let’s see if I can build a lead and related headline by coaxing an incendiary quote?’

Is Almost DailyBrett accusing the certain members of the media (and they know who they are) of trying to bait flacks and by extension their clients with inflammatory words in this discussion? The answer based upon oodles of experience is an unqualified, “yes.”

reporters

There are two iron-clad rules that one immediately learns from media training:

1.)   Always have an agenda. Know and rehearse your message points and what headlines you want to attempt to create before you talk to the ladies and gents of the media (both legacy and digital native media).

2.)   Never, ever let reporters, editors, correspondents, bloggers et al. put words in your mouth. Deliver your message the way it is intended whether the media representative likes it or not. If the same question is rephrased with the same incendiary or similar word or words, duck the offer and come back with an answer based upon your agenda. If the media rep becomes upset, so be it. Most likely, this will not be your first fight with a reporter.

Self-Inflicted Wounds 

Watergate finally caught up with Nixon, prompting him to read the obvious writing on the wall and become the first president to resign in disgrace. His legacy also includes the aforementioned, “I am not a crook” statement.

Almost DailyBrett will not add to the plethora of commentary about the Monica Lewinsky affair other than to contend that Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” is close to top of mind when it comes to contemplating the former president, eternally impacting his personal brand.

monicabill

Benghazi was expected to be the tough subject for Hillary’s Hard Choices book tour. Instead it was her comment to ABC’s Diane Sawyer about how the Clintons were “dead broke” and “struggled” financially when they left the White House in 2001.

This comment set off the media digging to find out just how “broke” the Clintons actually were including $106 million for Bill, $200,000 a speech for Hillary and $600,000 a year for Chelsea from the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. 

Bill subsequently kept the story going … yes this story does have legs … with his “she is not out of touch” comment. How about just saying the critics are wrong, and detail how Hillary understands the needs of middle and lower-class Americans trying to make ends meet?

That’s a positive response.

Bill’s, she is “Not-Out-of-Touch” explanation triggered a response from Hillary: “My husband was very sweet … but I don’t need anybody to defend my record.”

This story seemingly does not want to die. It has overshadowed the Hillary triumphant book tour, and it was egged on by inartful comments by both Clinton spouses, and a delighted media.

The lessons here are to remain on message. Stay with your preconceived agenda. If a slip does occur … flacks, politicians, executives etc are all human … don’t compound the gaffe with a defensive negative response.

The answer here is to stay positive, eschew any negatives particularly those force-fed by the media, and maybe even flash a winning smile. The net result may be a story that heads to the ash heap of history as opposed to a quote that becomes one for the ages.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-draws-criticism-at-opening-of-book-tour-by-saying-she-was-dead-broke/2014/06/10/c376ceaa-f0b7-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/06/24/bill-clinton-says-hillary-is-not-out-of-touch/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/some-democrats-fear-clintons-wealth-and-imperial-image-could-be-damaging-in-2016/2014/06/22/526746e6-f7eb-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-defense-108292.html

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-stumbles-from-dead-broke-to-not-truly-well-off/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-the-clintons-went-from-dead-broke-to-rich-bill-earned-1049-million-for-speeches/2014/06/26/8fa0b372-fd3a-11e3-8176-f2c941cf35f1_story.html?wpisrc=nl%5Fhdtop

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/university-of-nike/

 

 

The words, “Public Relations Pros” and “Journalists” would be labeled by many in the Fourth Estate as either an oxymoron or an obscene contradiction of terms.

Emerging from Journalism school back in the desultory late-1970s, the author of Almost DailyBrett would have surely agreed. Walter Cronkite never flacked for anyone. Woodward and Bernstein might be interested in selling books, but they would never stoop to representing a mere politician or corporation. Analytical Thomas Friedman would never risk his reputation for impartiality by serving as anyone’s advocate.

woodwardbernstein

Yes, the perception is that journalists are reporters, editors, correspondents, columnists, anchors, news directors and managing editors. This thinking is oh-so-analog.

Let’s pose this question: Are digital bloggers for TechCrunch, Gizmodo, The Huffington Post, Politico and many other influential weblogs, journalists? Don’t think so?

Think of it this way: They have an obligation to get their facts right. They may not always write, complying with AP Style or using the inverted pyramid – heck many of their posts are feature “thumb suckers” – but they still must have a sense of what is newsworthy and what is not. Why? Because a blog is the most discretionary of all reads. No one requires you to read her or his blog.

Bloggers need to include in their posts the essential facts or the five W’s and the one H… What, When, Who, Where, Why and How…and one more: Who the hell cares? If these questions are not answered quickly, the reader will turn elsewhere. Isn’t that what a traditional analog journalist does?

Is Jon Stewart, a journalist?

Heck no you say? He is a comedian. Right? Or Left? Yes, he is…but in many respects he is a journalist.

stewartcramer

His 21-minute public undressing of CNBC’s Jim Cramer was masterful, and it went viral (more than 83,000 page-views). Harvard-trained “Mad Money” Cramer is a virtual encyclopedia of all things, Wall Street. If you are skeptical, just check out his evening “Lightning Round” or read his latest tome, “Get Rich Carefully.”

And yet Stewart nailed him with his careful research, facts and figures to skillfully argue that CNBC was essentially in bed with institutional Wall Street, and was not doing enough to protect the average retail investor, who relies on the market to grow nest eggs for future dreams through IRAs and 401k’s.

Another question immediately comes to mind.

Is the above-average Jane or Jack with a cell-phone camera and an internet connection, a journalist?

Your immediate reaction would be to the negative…and in most instances you’re right…but not in all cases.

Train Station Shooting

A cell phone camera turned BART’s world (Bay Area Rapid Transit) literally upside down when the fatal 2009 early New Year’s morning shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale station went viral. A passenger taking photos through a subway car window “covered” the story, providing many of the five W’s and the one H, prompting the mainstream Bay Area media to follow and putting the BART public relations operation into damage control. The “Who Cares” question was already answered.

Just as the binary code of ones-and-zeroes has forever changed the business models of analog media types (e.g., those still using a later generation of 1439 Gutenberg’s printing press), the definition of who is and who is not a journalist is changing as well.

Rarely does Almost DailyBrett speak ex-cathedra, but it will in this case: The public relations industry grasped digital communication – blogging, microsites, digital handhelds – much faster than the majority of conventional journalists, some of which are still kicking and screaming.

Naturally, traditional journalists and the newly minted digital journalists (e.g., bloggers) are skeptical of public relations pros. Why? Flacks are advocates. They have a point of view. They present the truth and tell the story in the best interest of their respective clients.

This advocacy position puts them in a synergistic relationship with the reporter-editor-analyst crowd, and in many cases these recipients of PR industry information are antagonistic to the provider. In the final analysis and there is no denying this point: They need each other. Reporters need public relations pros because they provide information. In turn, public relations pros need access to their target audiences.

And what about this information? It has to be researched. It has to be accurate. It should always be presented professionally (e.g., AP Style). It has to be newsworthy (or a credible newsworthiness argument has to be advanced). It has to include all the salient facts, including those five W’s and one H. And it must conclusively respond to the skeptical, bordering on cynical, who cares question.

Some have suggested that public relations should be taught in business schools rather than journalism schools. The reason is that the majority of agency and all corporate public relations professionals are working on behalf of business. That’s true.

Here’s where Almost DailyBrett disagrees. Public relations is telling the story on behalf of a newsworthy client. Even though PR pros are advocating, they still must research the story and get it right. They must present this information professionally (e.g., inverted pyramid, AP Style) and it must be newsworthy for news disseminators in order to reach target audiences. That requires the journalism taught in J-Schools.

invertedpyramid

Even if public relations pros are bypassing or not exclusively using conventional and digital media outlets, and strictly utilizing self-publishing instead, they still need to practice solid journalism and ensure the story is told accurately.

And what did Joseph Pulitzer write on the walls of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch? “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy”?

This sage advice applies to public relations practitioners as well, particularly in our fast-moving digital age.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-12-2009/jim-cramer-pt–1

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-12-2009/jim-cramer-pt–2

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Blame-in-Oscar-Grant-BART-death-may-shift-4713100.php

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

http://www.apstylebook.com/

http://www.onlineconcepts.com/pulitzer/endow.htm

The following is an open letter from a former Trojan football manager and USC alum (Broadcasting Journalism ’78) to Athletic Director Pat Haden concerning the lack of a “Kiffin Factor” exit strategy.

Dear Pat:

It’s time.

In fact, it’s past time.

The media has decided it’s time for a Lane Kiffin exit strategy.

The alumni have decided it’s time for Kiffin to pack his laminated play sheet, hoodie and sun glasses.

kiffinshades

Kiffin has reportedly “lost” the USC locker room. A team of 19-22 year olds knows it’s time for Kiffin to go.

Seventy-six percent of Los Angeles Times readers have decided it’s time for Kiffin leave the building. Lance Armstrong and Charlie Sheen are more popular.

And even though you do not want the media and other stakeholders to set the agenda, you know deep down inside the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate are right.

They will continue to pound the jungle drums until you do the right thing. How much more can you stand? The turnovers, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, sun glasses, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, jersey changing incidents, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.

The latter really upset Oregon’s mojo as the visiting Ducks put up a record 62 points on USC’s defense, amassing 730 total yards, and 321 yards by Kenjon Barner alone.

To be fair to Lane Kiffin, he is a direct descendant of the storied football family of patriarch, Monte Kiffin. And commando Paris Hilton is an heir to the Hilton Empire.

As a Rhodes Scholar you are correct in your historical metaphor, labeling the “Kid Coach” as described by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, as the anti-Reagan. Instead of Teflon, everything is Velcro with Lane Kiffin…every transgression – real or imagined – sticks to him, further bringing down USC’s reputation and brand with each and every new incident.

Only you can stop the cardinal-and-gold bleeding.

kiffinfire

As a fellow mackerel snapper and USC alumnus, I have followed your career with great interest. I even had the privilege to briefly meet you when I was serving as Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary when you were teaming with future Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan on venture capital deals.

My admiration stretches back to your C.I.F. championship days as the quarterback for Bishop Amat High School, when I was a mere football manager at nearby St. Francis High School. Growing up, I followed your career as Troy’s starting QB, particularly when you threw that clutch two-point conversion to Shelton Diggs as the clock was running out in the Rose Bowl. I was excited when you took over from Mike Garrett, the guy who hired Kiffin.

You did the right thing in terminating Mr. Walking Heart Attack, Kevin O’Neill, as Troy’s basketball coach. You did the right thing in moving on in the face of NCAA penalties. You did the right thing by allowing Monte Kiffin to “resign.” Now the time has come to do the same with sonny boy.

kiffinbillboard

Why do so many absolutely despise your 37-year-old coach? He is persona non grata in Oakland, Knoxville and now in Los Angeles. Can Pyongyang be far behind?

Think of it in Churchillian-prose: Never in recorded history has someone risen so fast, who has accomplished so little, and pissed off so many. Let’s see, 5-15 with the Oakland Raiders, 7-6 at Tennessee and now 25-13 at USC including taking a No. 1 ranked team to … the Sun Bowl.

Overall, Kiffin is 37-34 in his storied career. No one is going to have a four-hour erection, contemplating that record of mediocrity.

These numbers certainly don’t conjure up memories of Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson or Pete Carroll…more like Ted Tollner, Larry Smith and Paul Hackett.

Don’t you wish someone, such as Mark Helfrich, Steve Sarkisian, Mike Riley or David Shaw…first-rate people with first-rate football minds…was coaching your team?

Last fall, you stated that Lane was your coach, 150 percent.

Recently, you reduced your support to 137.5 percent.

The way I see it, you only have 38 more percent to go.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8893172/lane-kiffin-takes-blame-usc-trojans-2012-season-college-football

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-pat-haden-usc-20130122,0,2961779.story

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/01/sports/la-sp-plaschke-usc-20130101

%d bloggers like this: