Tag Archive: George W. Bush


“If he (Trump) took a dump on his desk, you would defend it.” – CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewing Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord

Do you think Anderson Cooper has reached the point (and beyond) in which he can’t cover Donald Trump objectively and fairly let alone his network, CNN?

According to Harvard University, the answer following empirical research of media coverage by CNN and several other major outlets during the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency is a resounding, “no.”

Let’s pretend Donald Trump did something really good for the country … and didn’t nocturnally crow about it on Twitter?

Before answering this interrogative, let’s first pose a relevant side question: Who do reporters, editors, correspondents respect more than any other living creatures on this planet? The answer is other reporters, editors and correspondents.

Taking this essential and undeniable truth into account, Almost DailyBrett must ask:

Can a reporter — any reporter, editor or correspondent — outside of the friendly confines of Fox News – write or produce a totally objective piece about Trump without triggering the wrath and disdain of his or her precious media colleagues?

Would that journalist be willing to take the risk of enraging the pack mentality, and maybe even jeopardizing a career?

It appears to be seemingly impossible for a CNN or NBC reporter/correspondent in particular to provide positive coverage of Trump as evidenced by new data harvested by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Harvard reported that 93 percent of CNN and NBC’s first 100 days of Trump coverage have been overwhelmingly negative.

Seven percent of CNN and NBC Trump coverage has been positive? It doesn’t seem that high.

Right behind in the race to the bottom is CBS at 91 percent negative coverage, surprisedly beating even the New York Times with 87 percent and Washington Post with 83 percent respectively thumbs-down coverage of The Donald and his administration.

Conservative media outlets tilt to the negative on Trump, but they simply cannot compete with the Clinton News Network (CNN) or the networks of Meet the Depressed or Deface the Nation. The Wall Street Journal’s coverage is 70 percent to the negative, and even Fox News is 54/46 percent to the downside.

MSNBC was not even measured.

The only Trump story that was covered in a positive manner by the newsies was the launching of cruise missiles at poison-gas Syria with 80 percent of the media on the Trump side of the ledger. Guess the remaining 20 percent may be secretly siding with Bashar Assad or more likely … can’t bring themselves to say anything remotely positive about Trump.

As a result, Trump hates the media. The media hates Trump. And Sean Spicer was last seen in the bushes.

The Donald claims he is not being covered fairly compared to his predecessors. Conservative bastion Harvard backs up this contention. Barack Obama’s coverage during the first 100 days was 59 percent positive; George W. Bush’s was 43 percent affirmative; Bill Clinton’s was 40 percent positive … Donald Trump, 20 percent to the positive.

Is the media not-so-secretly rooting for Trump to be impeached, while trying to implicate Mike Pence as well? Consider the instant parallel to Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” with James Comey’s firing.

Almost DailyBrett always thought that a massacre required more than one person.

Below the Mendoza Line

The media feasts on Donald Trump’s record 54 percent negative approval rating. According to the same Real Clear Politics average, Trump has a 39.6 percent positive approval rating.

Gallup reported last fall the nation’s approval of the work provided by the media stands at only 32 percent or 8 percent behind Donald Trump.

The same polling firm reported that 72 percent of Americans approved and admired the media’s standing and coverage in 1976, right on the heels of the Watergate busting Pulitzer Prize work of Messrs. Woodward and Bernstein. Since that time, public approval of the media has dropped 40 percent in as many years.

Could it be, the media has become more partisan, more “interpretive” and less objective (i.e., CNN, NBC, CBS, NYT, WAPO)? Do the media feed our nation’s divisiveness? Do they regale in the internecine warfare and bickering, while being above it all?

What’s next: Streaming video of the 21st Century version of a fatal Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel with tisk-tisk anti-Second Amendment commentary by Rachel Maddow?

If the media was a stock with a 40 percent sustained decline during four decades – essentially down to the right – a wise investor would have dumped these shares a long time ago. Putting this metaphor aside, does it sound like the American public with only 32 percent support (e.g., 14 percent among Republicans) has rolled their eyes in unison and washed their collective hands of the media?

Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America in 1972 in an era when the media informed the public. Today, the likes of Maddow on MSNBC and Sean Hannity on Fox News essentially affirm philosophies of entrenched political populations segments. Ditto for social media.

Anderson Cooper’s disgusting metaphor about presidential defecation can be dismissed as an unprofessional verbal assault in the heat of battle. CNN’s and NBC’s 93 percent negative coverage of Trump and his administration points directly to the fact the newsies have reached a point they can no longer be fair and objective to the president.

And who are the ultimate losers?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/20/anderson-cooper-apologizes-for-conjuring-image-of-trump-defecating-on-his-desk/?utm_term=.a458d852d72c

https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/?mod=sm_tw_post

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

http://www.edelman.com/executive-summary/

 

 

 

 

“It’s a great photo that demonstrates genuine bipartisanship. At one time they were political enemies, but they came together for a good cause. In the midst of a nasty election season, people are hungry for anything that can unify us.” — Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics

A great photo can be worth a 1,000 words, and can go viral too.michellebush

The best part about First Lady Michelle Obama hugging former President George W. Bush is what it says about what could be as opposed to what is today’s reality.

Last September was the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Bush signed the legislation creating the museum. Obama was there to formally open its doors to the public for the first time.

As the Obama presidency comes to a close with disparate interpretations of the 44th president’s legacy, and Donald Trump prepares to take the Oath of Office Friday, the nastiness of the partisan divide has seemingly never been greater.

Some would argue that Aaron Burr outdueling Alexander Hamilton was worse, but only by a smidge.burrhamilton

What should be seen as a celebration of our enduring democracy (inaugural of #45) – the peaceful transfer of power – is degenerating into a cavalcade of boycotts by politicians/entertainers and demonstrations – some of which will almost-certainty, turn violent.

For a prelude, just take a stroll through the digital world of social media. For some reason so many of us are compelled to inflame Facebook and other sites with partisan broadsides … even though most are already fully aware of the sender’s political predilections.

Almost DailyBrett has already rhetorically asked why we choose to fire off these salvos on a social media platform intended to our family and friends. Is this the way we treat our family and friends, when we see them face-to-face?

If so, do you still have any family and friends? Guess, mumsy will always love you.

“Forgive Your Enemies, But Never Forget Their Names” – John F. Kennedy

A great read is “The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

The 2012 book tells the story about how presidents and former presidents from Truman to Obama were able to repeatedly work together (e.g., Bush 41 and Clinton 42 on Tsunami relief), putting aside the proverbial political hatchet for the greater good.

The repeated examples catalogued in this book do not suggest that everything is forgotten, but many real-and-perceived transgressions are eventually forgiven.

Does this mean that Bush 43 and Obama 44 see eye-to-eye on the body politic? Absolutely not.

Having said that, can they set aside differences, work together and actually develop a real friendship? Michelle’s sincere embrace of George W., and his very real expression of gratitude, serve as a great symbol for the country.

With this example in mind, could incoming President Donald J. Trump give his Twitter handle a rest? Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly been exposed to the Big Apple world of insults and never apologizing, but are we going to endure daily Twitter broadsides for the next four-to-eight years?

trumptwitterbird

Whatever happened to the notion of being a statesman, someone who can literally reach across ponds to represent America as an exceptional nation?

Whatever happened to political discipline, having the strength and courage to fight off coarse instincts and emotions, and to stick to the script on behalf of a presidency, but more importantly for our Republic?

Whatever happened to never forgetting the names of your enemies, but eventually forgiving them instead of trying to even the score?

The viral hug between First Lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush produces 2.6 million results on Google and more than 4,000 videos on YouTube. That’s relevant.

What have we learned here? Almost DailyBrett will offer that the nation understands advocating and defending our principles, but civility still matters. If the 100 million-plus political animals in this country could pull one punch this week … that would be 100 million instances of less political invective on blogs, social media or verbally.

What a beautiful thought.

Maybe a great photo is indeed worth a million words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp2JZH1sfiM

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michelle-obama-embraces-george-w-bush-why-photo-was-so-n654451

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/theoval/2016/09/26/first-lady-michelle-obama-displays-genuine-affection-george-w-bush/91124646/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/24/politics/michelle-obama-george-w-bush-friendship/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-lewis-feud-could-be-harbinger-of-new-round-of-hyper-partisanship/2017/01/14/f72db5a2-da8d-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.9c86ee86bb59&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/why-even-discuss-politics-on-facebook/

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn103659.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/books/the-presidents-club-by-nancy-gibbs-and-michael-duffy.html

 

“You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes; well you just might find; you get what you need.” – Jagger, Richards

Great tune, but does it work as an uplifting campaign-theme song?

The author of Almost DailyBrett used to snicker at the thought of a blushing bride choosing this song for the first dance with her new groom: You can’t always get what you want (in grooms) … (but hopefully) you get what you need.trumpstones

For the same reason, one must wonder why the Donald Trump campaign chose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as one of the musical closers of the quadrennial Republican National Convention last July in Cleveland?

The first song following The Donald’s dystopian acceptance speech was “All Right Now” by The Free, which makes sense. That is not the case with the next song, the Rolling Stones classic, “You Can’t Get What You Want.”

After dispatching 17 other Republican presidential aspirants in the primaries and caucuses was Donald Trump all the GOP needed?

The same applies to using the very same Rolling Stones song immediately following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour speech last week in Cincinnati.

Mick and Keith are not happy and have shared their displeasure with the Trump campaign and the media, only to be told that the Stones must accept not getting any satisfaction on this one.micktrump

The music has been purchased and is being played in a public place, so the Trump campaign does not owe the Stones one shekel for their song and is offering zero apologies.

Okay now that we have that dispute (un)settled, let’s access from a public relations standpoint how songs can or cannot serve as metaphors for advocacy.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Some campaigns have trouble coming up with consistent themes. If identifying an appropriate mantra is a problem (and that was the case for Hillary Clinton), then finding a related song which resonates with the public and the times is doubly tough.

One of the most successful efforts was the use of “Happy Days Are Here Again” by FDR at the Democratic convention during the height of the Depression in 1932.

Sixty years later, Arkansas Governor (and Hillary’s hubby) played Fleetwood Mac’s futuristic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” to offer a dramatic contrast to President George H.W. Bush’s tired administration.billclintonsax

Eight years later, the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush employed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and The Who’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in direct defiance to the Clinton-Gore machine.

The appropriateness of songs is not the most serious subject ever pondered by Almost DailyBrett, they still must be consistent with the overall thrust of a presidential campaign.

Even though this author scratches his follicly challenged scalp when contemplating Trump using a song that expresses the frustration of blowing an amplifier fuse, the real issue is whether Republicans are saying to the nation that you can’t get what you want, but Trump is what you need?

For some reason, the song is working at least among those in the hinterlands who have been searching for a champion and not finding her or him in Washington, D.C.

Can any of these “poorly educated” folks as Trump lovingly described them, name any of the four members of the Rolling Stones, much less identify with the lyrics of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”?

Does it matter?

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1840981_1840998_1840923,00.html

http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/22/donald-trump-you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/12/mick-jagger-on-trump-using-stones-songs-i-can-t-stop-him.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/victorious-donald-trump-mocks-rolling-9224213

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHU3oAhM4tU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TytGVo1O3_w

 

 

 

 

“We had an enormous, world-historic campaign catastrophe.” Matt Bennett, former Michael Dukakis presidential campaign volunteer

I didn’t give it another thought.” – Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s Politics 101.” – President Barack Obama

Does anybody remember Michael Dukakis wearing a combat helmet, riding around in an M1A1-Abrahms Main Battle tank in September 1988, to prove he was tough enough for the presidency?

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics' new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics’ new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

He just didn’t look right in the way-too-big battle helmet for a candidate who was a little guy … literally.

Dukakis looked even worse riding around in a battle tank circle-after-circle in front of 90 laughing reporters. The tank photo op was a bad idea in which someone … anyone with authority … on the Dukakis campaign needed not only to say, “no,” but “hell no.”

It was only a matter of nanoseconds before the tank footage found its way into the tender mercies of Bush media Meister Roger Ailes and campaign director Lee Atwater. They leapt like coiled vipers and quickly came up with a devastating advertisement, questioning Dukakis’ record on national defense and using the “goofy” tank footage to drive home the point.

What is really sad is that Dukakis advance dude Bennett had put on the very same helmet, looked into the mirror and concluded he looked silly in it. He was convinced it would come across even worse on the diminutive governor.

He called the Boston headquarters to warn them to cancel the event. No one listened. The rest is political history.

When Almost DailyBrett reflects back on this avoidable public relations disaster, one needs to contemplate that Twitter was still a bird, Facebook was a scrap-book, and the name “LinkedIn” would draw blank expressions. And what was a YouTube in 1988?

Today, Web 2.0 (e.g., blogging and social media) would take the tank catastrophe and spread to all corners of the globe within five minutes.

“Which Ever Way the Wind Blows”

Facebook was just being hatched in a Harvard dorm room in 2004. Twitter was two years away from being born. And yet there were millions chatting away on the Internet.kerrywindsurf

Some were discussing John Kerry going one way on his wind-surfing board, and then going the other way, before turning around and then heading in the other direction once again. The footage was set to the Blue Danube Waltz, courtesy of President George W. Bush’s campaign.

The point, which John Kerry’s unfortunate photo-op aided and abetted, was that Kerry was a flip-flopper, particularly in this voting pattern on the Iraq War. The Nantucket windsurfing image, the resulting ad and other factors helped convince the electorate that Kerry was not ready for the White House.bushmission

This is not to suggest that Bush was totally adept at photo opportunities. The “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to declare the end of the Iraq War in 2003 was quickly and repeatedly mocked as the Iraqi insurgency inflicted years of casualties on American troops in the region.

Hillary, the Subway and Five Swipes of the Metro Card

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” – English Idiom

All of this Almost DailyBrett reminiscing brings us to the question of Hillary and the New York Subway platform. That damn electronic MetroCard (sorry Bernie the NYC Subway doesn’t use “tokens” anymore) took five agonizing swipes to finally work for Madam Secretary Clinton.hillarycard

Alas, it was only a matter of time before Saturday Night Live (SNL) would turn the subway platform snafu into a skit, also reminding everyone that Hillary has lost seven-out-of-her-last-eight contests to Bernie.

Was the temperamental subway scanner a metaphor of the state of the Clinton campaign?

Wasn’t the advance team supposed to “grease” the card scanner to make damn sure it always worked for Hillary? Isn’t that the job of the advance dudes and dudettes?

Politicians using props and photo opportunities to provide images for campaigns goes back to kissing babies and whistle-stop speeches.

And yet the rules have changed, where the little gets magnified and the catastrophic becomes digitally viral in nanoseconds.

Hillary’s ultimate electoral fate most likely will not be decided because of the humorous Hillary-on-the-subway platform goof-up (Has the former senator from New York ever ridden the subway before?). The “reset button” with now recalcitrant Russia may be more egregious. Guess Hillary knows a thing or two about symbols that go wrong.hillaryreset

Having said that, American political history is riddled with stories of photo-ops gone wrong (e.g., Nixon walking the beach in San Clemente in dress slacks and wingtips). Now with mobile devices and social media the tender-loving-care needed to stage these events is greater than ever.

And if a campaign tanks, the pain will not be felt within hours, but in seconds instead.

http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/presidential-elections/videos/tank-ride

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/dukakis-and-the-tank-099119

http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/09/23/bush_ad_plays_on_kerry_windsurfing/

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwQkBfBs958

http://time.com/4285452/hillary-clinton-new-york-subay-metrocard-turnstile/

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/04/10/snl-hillary-clinton-subway-newday.cnn/video/playlists/snl-politics/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michele-bachmann-nyc-subway_us_5707d7bce4b04bf520ff4da0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-new-york-saturday-night-live_us_570a58a9e4b01422324940ef

 

 

“The ‘everyone does it’ defense eradicates the higher level of conduct we should expect from those in powerful positions. We really should hold news anchors and presidents to a higher standard; they are invested with an extraordinary amount of trust and power.” – Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Everyone does it … “

There is probably not a parent anywhere on the fruited plain, who has not heard some variation of these overused words.

Thought I had dispensed with that phrase, until I heard: “All my other professors are (i.e., changing my grade, giving me more time on a required paper, providing for extra credit, excusing unexcused absences …), why won’t you?”

During the 1970s-era regime of Tricky Dick and the ensuing Watergate break-in and cover-up, Richard Nixon diehards, and there were literally millions of them, would gamely try to deflect attention from the rampant paranoia of their champion by lamely bringing up the tiresome, “All politicians do the same thing …”nixon1

Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and yet there are some, who are getting long in the tooth, to this very day who will contend that all politicians are crooked and therefore Tricky Dick was unfairly persecuted by the history of his own making.

We went through a similar exercise in the 1990s with Bill Clinton and his scandal du-jour administration (i.e., Whitewater, cattle futures, Paula Corbin Jones, Starr Report, Marc Rich pardon…) only to be told repeatedly in a transparent effort to change the subject that “All politicians do it.”

By the time the turn of the new century was upon us we as a nation were in a state of exhaustion when it came to the seemingly endless sordid accounts emanating from the Lincoln Bedroom to the Oval Office.

And now we are on the precipice of being treated to Darwin-forbid 11-more years (2015-2025) of integrity vs. money decisions with money always prevailing. And in response, we will be told by the Kool-Aid drinkers that all politicians and by extension supposedly “objective” journalists that they all engage in similar behavior.

The plethora of stories of deleted emails, high-six-figure speaking fees, lying to the New York Times, failure to report contributions, negotiating Russia’s takeover of some of our uranium deposits are all being dismissed as conduct becoming any politician.

What an incredibly weak argument.

Begging to Differ

Some members of the Sacramento Capitol Press Corps used to joke that my boss, Governor George Deukmejian’s favorite color was gray. They were not exactly right, but they were correct that Governor Deukmejian was as straight-arrow as they come, retiring each evening to more work, Gloria, the kids, the beagles and his beloved Jamoca Almond Fudge.

As a press secretary, I never had to worry that my governor would be a late-night John Edwards visiting his mistress, Rielle, and love child, Frances, at the Beverly Hilton, while his wife Elizabeth was back home dying of cancer.edwards1

Think of it this way: Even though the partisan wars have continued unabated during the past 14 years, the last two presidents have not been ensnared in personal transgressions.

Yes there are hundreds upon thousands who vehemently oppose the Iraq War, but George W. Bush could be counted to love and support his wife, Laura, be a good father to his twin daughters, and a role model of a solid citizen and one committed to exercise and good personal habits.

The same is true about Barack Obama. Once again there are hundreds upon thousands, who oppose mandatory redistribution of hard-earned income and Obamacare, but at the same time you know he loves Michelle and his two daughters. He and Michelle have been superb role models for healthy eating and exercise.

George Deukmejian, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are all examples that fly in the face of the “All politicians do it” chorus.

Yes, there are those who cheat on their spouses, conceive love children, tweet their private parts, pound on bathroom stalls, fail to report income, destroy physical or digital evidence, receive oval sex in the oral office, obstruct justice, and the list is seemingly endless.monicabill

Alas, this behavior extends to supposedly objective media elites who fail to disclose donations to less-than-charitable causes, fabricate war stories, attach igniters to trucks, deliberately ignore fabricated documents, practice checkbook journalism by hiring a presidential daughter for $600,000, keynote party fundraisers, and trigger conflict of interest questions.

Is there going to be an “all news anchors do it” chorus in weak defense of those who have an obligation to fair-and-balanced reporting?

Parents have long rejected these arguments from their children. Mumsy used to tell the author of Almost DailyBrett, “If everyone is jumping off the cliff, does that mean you have to jump off the cliff too?”

Jennifer Rubin raises a salient question: Shouldn’t we be holding those in power and trust to a higher standard than everyone else? National politicians and elite journalists have risen to the apex of the most powerful nation on earth. They have asked for our trust. We may or may not give them the reins of power. Shouldn’t they perform with integrity without even the perception of wrongdoing?

Reports indicate that Millennials are turning away from government and politics in droves. Can we blame them when they see nothing but gridlock, name calling, deflections and obfuscation? How can we promote public service to Millennials in the face of widespread scandal by those who would serve us and those who inform us? This problem is magnified when we justify their disgraceful antics with overused one-liners.

Instead of dismissing unacceptable behavior, shouldn’t we be demanding a restoration of universal decency, integrity and honesty?

It all starts with rejecting the Mother of All Weak Arguments: “Everyone does it … “

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/05/20/moral-equivalence-endangers-journalism-and-governance/?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.people-press.org/2015/05/19/hillary-clinton-approval-timeline/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

 

 

… and again, again, and again …

Why is it that some of the best and the brightest just don’t get it when it comes to personal public relations?

There will always be bad days.

And with these bad days are the prospects of worse days in the future.

Was Yogi Berra referring to Brian Williams, John Kitzhaber, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, George W. Bush, Tiger Woods …?

Almost DailyBrett seriously doubts that Yogi recognizes the name, John Kitzhaber, let alone his now-infamous girlfriend, and the state in which he until recently served as its governor.kitzhaberhayes

Having extended our due respect to Yogi, let’s contemplate another famous Berra-ism: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On …

The four principles of crisis communications live on, beginning with what mumsys all across the fruited plain have told daughters and sons: “Always tell the truth.”

These four principles or steps in quick order – Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On — also translate into another adage: Manage or be managed.

  • Brian Williams with his propensity for self-aggrandizement and exaggeration (e.g., starving at the well-stocked Ritz Carlton in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina) could not or would not recognize the danger signals of his own behavior. Williams became the story (a no-no for any reporter), lost control of this tale and eventually his NBC anchor desk, his position and quite possibly his career as we know it.williamsnbc
  • John Kitzhaber was starting his fourth term as the governor of Almost DailyBrett’s adopted, Oregon. His arrogance mounted over time, including his heavy-handed sacking of the president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere. The ultimate downfall for Kitzhaber pertained to Oregon’s “First Lady” (the governor’s squeeze), her high-salary non-profit job, influence peddling and the governor’s refusal to acknowledge an obvious conflict of interest until it was too late. Yep he had the opportunity to manage, but in the end he was managed and with it he became a poster child for term limits.
  • Anthony Weiner attempted to bluff his way out of the mounting evidence of his “selfies” being sent to designated females from Seattle to New York.
  • John Edwards cheated on his dying wife with his videographer, and stonewalled the media about his love child, Frances, until he was caught by none other than the National Enquirer.
  • George W. Bush had the opportunity to reveal his 1976 DUI arrest in Kennebunkport, Maine (manage), but chose to keep it under wraps until the story exploded four days before the 2000 election (managed).
  • Tiger Woods repeatedly pleaded for familial privacy as TMZ kept listing the names and details of even more women that had affairs with the world’s number one golfer. Woods was managed by the media and his career has never been the same.

Who’s Next?

“I tell our players all the time, ‘As soon as you start going down the wrong track and you start doing something wrong, the clock starts ticking until the day you are caught, because it’s going to happen’…In our world today, you think it’s not going to be found out eventually?” – Nebraska Football Coach Mike Riley

“Who’s Next” is the question posed by Pete Townshend in 1971, but in this case it applies to who or what organization is going to fail to recognize the crisis communication warning signs, eventually losing control of an issue, and then being subjected to a seemingly never-ending story with “legs.”

For BP and its Deepwater Horizon oil platform, the media coverage of the 2009 catastrophic spill that immediately killed 11 workers lasted for more than three months. The multi-billion litigation and the permanent damage to the BP brand continues to this day. “BP” and “Spill” are synonymous terms.oilspillbird

For far too many in the reputation business, crisis communications is simply, response. Certainly, there is a response component to crisis communications, but just as important are the words, prevention and management.

Samsung could have prevented or at least blunted the effect of the movie producer Michael Bay meltdown at the Consumer Electronics Show by practicing how to respond to a faulty teleprompter.

Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol team managed the discovery of cyanide–laced capsules and provided a text-book example of management that not only saved the brand, but restored public confidence in pharmaceutical industry and generated an entirely new regime of safety packaging.

There is no doubt that we will soon be reading, commenting, tweeting, trolling, memeing about some preventable human or institutional failing as it applies to legal tender, sexual dalliances or personal aggrandizement that could have been prevented or at least managed.

Instead, the story takes off and spins out of control. Eventually the digital ones and zeroes go critical and the reactor core starts to melt down. The monster grows legs and runs for days, weeks, months …

What did mumsy say about telling the truth?

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yogi_berra.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2011/12/the_rise_and_fall_of_richard_l.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/loma-prieta/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/damn-the-teleprompters/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meme

 

 

“Not disclosing the DUI on my terms may have been the single costliest political mistake I ever made … I may have just cost myself the presidency.” – President George W. Bush

“We should have brought it (DUI arrest) up at a time and place of our choosing. I should have made a more convincing case for doing so. Instead I helped George W. Bush keep a secret that almost cost him the White House.” – Karl Rove, Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush

How could a Maine drunk-driving arrest in America’s bicentennial year lead to the infamous hanging-chads election debacle in Florida 24 years later?DUI

As virtually all of us know, George W. Bush used to drink. And with the consumption of alcohol, sometimes more than one or two beers too many,  the probability of a drunk driving arrest increases. That’s exactly what happened to Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine on Labor Day weekend in 1976.

Serving as Governor of Texas two decades later, Bush was asked by reporters if he was ever arrested for DUI. He didn’t tell a fib, but he also did not tell the whole truth about his 0.10 blood-alcohol level DUI misdemeanor, paying a fine and having his license suspended for 30 days.

Instead, he confided that he did not have a perfect record; he engaged in foolish activities as a youth; and he urged fellow Texans to not drink and drive. Having the vantage point of history, we know now this response while technically correct was an opportunity lost.

Reflecting back on his evasive answer, Bush realized that he could have held an event with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) – and use this backdrop to disclose his own DUI – putting out the negative news at a time and place of his own choosing … and over time making the 1976 Kennebunkport arrest ancient history.

A specifically timed disclosure was exactly the advice of his aides, Rove and Karen Hughes, and conceivably others on the governor’s staff, but Bush stubbornly would not agree to get the DUI out in the public and on the record. Instead, this DUI magically came into the public consciousness exactly four days before the closest-ever 2000 election.

Rove contended that even if this DUI revelation moved 2 percent of the electorate to shift from Bush to Al Gore or from Bush to not voting that would have cost the then-Texas Governor 2.1 million votes. Translated: Instead of razor-thin wins in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Oregon – all four of these states ended up in the Al Gore column – Florida’s electoral votes may not have been necessary and history would have been different.

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell It Fast, Move On

I’ve oftentimes said that years ago I made some mistakes. I drank too much, and I did on that night … I regret that it happened, but it did. I learned my lesson.” – Governor George W. Bush to reporters four days before election-day in 2000bushdui

The mantra in effective crisis communications is first-and-foremost to tell the truth. Tell the complete story, tell it as fast as possible (not four days before a national election). Move on quickly, hopefully preventing the story from having “legs.”

Let’s face reality here. Almost DailyBrett has seen cases where personal pride and human nature cause good people to sweep unwanted remembrances underneath the rug, hoping they will never be heard from again. Darn it, these stories have a habit of slithering out just when you least expect them.

We watched in amused horror as former presidential candidate John Edwards denied repeatedly that he had an affair and a love child (e.g., Frances Quinn) with videographer Rielle Hunter while his wife Elizabeth, was fighting a losing battle against cancer.

After days of kicking and screaming, Edwards came clean about the affair with Hunter, but still denied the love child, but even this revelation was not the whole truth. Eventually, the National Enquirer got a story right, complete with photos of Edwards, Hunter and their lovely offspring.edwards1

Did someone say something about Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast and Move On?

Does anyone give a rat’s derriere about John Edwards anymore?

Manage or Be Managed

“The news of the arrest came out at the worst possible time, with only four days to go in the campaign. Many have suggested that I would have served my candidate better had I insisted he disclose it earlier; maybe so.” – Karen Hughes, Counselor to President George W. Bush

When it comes to the most important public relations and brand/reputation management of all, our own personal PR and our own brand and reputation, we all have a choice: manage or be managed.

The campaign apparatus of George W. Bush conducted opposition research on their own candidate, which is standard practice as one knows the other side of the aisle will be digging into the weeds looking for “good dirt.” The Bush campaign oppo research did not discover the DUI, even though it was buried in the public records in scenic Kennebunkport. The erroneous conclusion: The coast was clear.

Instead, the storm clouds with no coincidence came pouring in at the worst time possible for the Bush campaign and with it a sudden break of momentum and the potential loss of more than 2 million votes

We could have been spared the one-month legal spectacle of hanging chads in Florida.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/06/AR2010110602835.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030502249.html

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

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

 

 

 

 

Brave declarations of glorious victory notwithstanding …

Do you think Hillary Clinton and her public relations team would like to press the 2009 “reset” button with Russia all over again?

How about a reset of the “reset”?

hillaryreset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do they give out PR Mulligans?

The Era of Viral Images

How many ALS campaign “Ice Bucket Challenge” social media videos have you seen so far?

The campaign based upon donors enduring an unceremonious cold-water bath has raised a pledged $62.5 million and counting to fight this fatal disease.

The PR/marketing campaign is beautiful in its simplicity. Accept a friend or colleague’s challenge to video tape yourself being dunked with ice water. Post your video on social media. Invite someone else to do the same. It’s a Ponzi scheme for a great cause.

Former President George W. Bush appeared natural and genuinely had fun as First Lady Laura poured cold water on him at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. He then challenged former President Bill Clinton to do the same.

bushice

Conversely Mitt Romney looked stiff, decked out in his Brooks Brothers’-style suit, as shirt-sleeved Paul Ryan poured water on his former running mate.

No one questions that Mitt and many others should accept the ALS challenge. Having said that, the suit serves as a metaphor for Romney’s stiffness, a characteristic that makes it difficult for Americans to warm up to the notion of the former Governor of Massachusetts in the White House.

It appears that Mitt has not lost his stoicism heading into 2016.

Lasting Metaphors?

Sometimes PR pros need to be careful to not let “props” take on a life of their own, and serve as a not-intended lasting metaphor.

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, how many words can an ill-chosen gimmick, or for that matter a clearly successful backdrop, mean for a personal brand and/or reputation going forward.

Silent Generation-types and more mature Baby Boomers remember Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations in 1960. Obviously, PR was not a consideration when he engaged in this boorish behavior. Nonetheless this angry incident with his shoe was one for the history books.

nikita

 

The backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate and the hated Berlin Wall served as the framing for John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speeches. Both Clinton and Barack Obama (as a senator) visited the same venue, but did not leave the same lasting memories.

And then there was the “Mission Accomplished” banner behind George W. Bush saluting a job well-done in Iraq. Everything is tranquil and peaceful in Iraq. Right?

missionaccomplished

Five years ago, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her post-Soviet Union, Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, a “reset” button to signal that all was getting better with the two former Cold War adversaries, the United States and Russian Federation.

A few eyebrows were raised, when the reset button reportedly “borrowed” from a Swiss spa, was emblazoned with the word, peregruzka. The only problem is the word in Russian means, “overcharge” not “reset.” One would think the Department of State may have at least one Harvard-head that knew a thing or two about the Russian language.

That day now seems so long ago. This past spring, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine, and later its Ukrainian backed rebels shot down a defenseless Malaysian 747. Will Vladimir Putin’s Russia actually invade the Ukraine, directly defying the Western world, including those who once wanted to reset US/Russia relations?

And if so, what will the “reset” button symbolize? Will it bring into question Hillary’s geopolitical judgment?

The aforementioned Romney pointed to the image of smiling Hillary and beaming Lavrov taking turns pushing the magical “reset” button. Hillary has no choice but to not only defend her actions, but to follow the time-tested political axiom: “When in doubt declare victory.”

Will being tough be enough? Or does she deep down inside wish that she never, ever heard of a “reset” button?

http://www.businessinsider.com/mitt-romney-hillary-clinton-embarrassing-obama-reset-button

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843506_1843505_1843496,00.html

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/24/hillary-clinton-stands-by-russian-reset-in-face-of-recent-events/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/remember-hillarys-russian-reset-button-guess-where-she-got-it/

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nikita-khrushchev-throws-a-tantrum-at-the-united-nations

http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html

http://www.alsa.org/news/archive/ice-bucket-challenge.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77AuXhORs-E

Life in Your Years?

“The Elephant in the Room.”

elephant

Time Magazine editors must think they are oh-so-very clever with their double … maybe even triple … entendre silhouette cover. Some readers were offended. Some were not. Nonetheless, people are talking about it, which deep down inside you know was the ultimate goal.

Re-elected in a landslide last week in a dependable blue state, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has a bright political future…but one must ask: How much life is there in his remaining years?

His doctor cannot be happy with his weight, which drew the questionable Time cover. The question is how many other Americans are battling the bulge, and thus limiting not only their years on this planet, but the life in their years?

America’s two most recent presidents, regardless whether you agree or disagree with their politics and policies (e.g., Obamacare, Iraq War), have been models for the nation when it comes to physical fitness. Even in the face of the incredible stress that comes with the presidency, Barack Obama can be repeatedly seen shooting a basketball or playing golf. He is a classic ectomorph.

obamabasketball

His predecessor, George W. Bush, worked out every morning before heading to the Oval Office for the daily 7 am national security briefing. Bush and his Trek bicycle were a constant during his summer vacations at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

georgew

Come to think of it, our presidents have for the most part been relatively fit (okay Bill Clinton had an affinity for Big Macs). This point is particularly true with the advent of the television age and the impact of the tube on politics. The last truly Christie-like, portly president was Howard Taft in the early years of the 20th Century.

If elected, Christie would obviously break this trend. Even though he has been trying to lose weight and reportedly had undergone lap-band surgery, does having a rotund chief executive send the wrong health message to a nation in which two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese?

Former Navy doc Frederic Morgan was my primary physician, when I lived in Pleasanton, CA. He is huge believer in the Body-Mass Index (BMI) to determine the optimum weight for his patients. He repeatedly made the point to me (and presumably others) that lean humans are the ones that are most likely to live long-and-healthy lives. They are the ones who more times than not will have life in their years.

That is a contrast to the notion of years in your life. Think of it this way: What is the point of having years of your life, when you are essentially incapacitated? And yet millions are experiencing or looking at just this prospect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

taft

One of the inevitable causes of this alarming number of obese people is a sedentary lifestyle. Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Physics: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

How many people, particularly Baby Boomers, are becoming invalids before our very eyes? How many simply will not climb that flight of stairs? How many will not walk up that hill? How many cannot push themselves away from the television or worse yet, the dinner table?

How many are wasting away the remaining years of their life, drinking themselves into a comfortable stupor in some dive, as described in Almost DailyBrett’s “Running out the Clock.”

Is Almost DailyBrett arguing for or against a Chris Christie presidency? Neither.

If the heavily covered (no pun intended) governor could engage in an active, as opposed to energetic, lifestyle…one that is characterized by cross-training, sensible diet, calories-in, calories-out…and drop 100 pounds or more, he would be a model for the nation.

christie

As noted by pundits, obese people are often the subject of snide, snarky remarks made with impunity. The Time Magazine cover was predictable. More will be coming. The late-night comedians are licking their respective chops.

But what happens if a relatively svelte Chris Christie is elected to White House?

Guess they will be referring to the Republican Elephant in the Room.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2013/11/07/christie-time-magazine-elephant/3465209/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57609404/chris-christie-losing-weight-steadily-medical-report-says/

http://www.state.nj.us/governor/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/new-jersey-governor-chris-christie-2016-presidential-elections-weight-issue-99561.html

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZys_mi-ERY

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

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