Tag Archive: Good Dirt


“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?

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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.

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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?

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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

 

“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” – 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney caught on a planted Mother Jones videoromney47

“I want a Lamborghini.” – Mary Gatter, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley medical director, caught on a planted Center for Medical Progress video.

Hall of Fame football coach and legendary commentator on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox for three decades, John Madden, was asked on KCBS-Radio what was one of key reasons for his unprecedented run on four major networks:

“Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

Also remember that allegations make headlines; rebuttals are buried in the story.

Saying that you were quoted out of context is weak, defensive and sounds lame.

How about not making inexpedient or arrogant comments in the first place?

How about assuming that you are always on-the-record regardless of where, when, what, why, how and to whom you are speaking?

The cameras are everywhere. The microphones are ubiquitous. And soon the drones will be swooping in. And thanks to Gordon Moore’s Law (e.g., the number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months), ever more complexity can be packed into smaller and more powerful than ever before devices using a fraction of the power as in the past.

Think of it as the serendipity of the consumer electronics business.

The Cameras are Everywhere

The Mother Jones hidden video of Romney’s 47 percent remark, made to a supposedly private meeting with wealthy donors, immediately fed to the growing perception of the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless plutocrat. Whether that image was real or not, really didn’t matter at that point … the damage was done.

The Center for Medical Progress hidden video of Planned Parenthood’s Gatter discussing the dollars-and-cents pricing of tiny body parts of aborted fetuses over salad and wine in a tony Pasadena (CA) restaurant, ended with her visions of an Italian sports car. She inadvertently put Planned Parenthood’s $542 million in federal subventions into the crosshairs of a Republican-controlled Congress.Lamborghini

Think of it this way: a Mother Jones planted video came from the left side of the political spectrum and a Center for Medical Progress planted video came from the right side of the political spectrum. As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

At the same time, publicly traded technology companies, such as GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) and others, are pioneering ever-smaller, more reliable cameras with excellent sound pickup, which are available for reasonable prices. Top it off, uploading these videos and having them go viral is easier than ever.

Digital is Eternal.

The candidates for the presidency and everyone else serving as the FrontMann/Frau(lein) or mouthpiece for any political sensitive organization or profitable business is now on record: No conversation is harmless. You should trust no one. Should you be a tad paranoid? Hello!

Take a mundane chore, such as Hillary Clinton heading off to Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s Fifth Avenue for a $600 haircut at the John Barrett Salon. Reportedly, her entourage closed down one side of the store on a Friday and marshalled a private elevator so the inevitable nominee could have her hair done.

July 26, 2015 - Ames, Iowa, U.S. -  HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

July 26, 2015 – Ames, Iowa, U.S. – HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

Does this $600 haircut square with championing the needs of the struggling middle class? Or does it add to the notion of privilege?

Once again in our Twitterverse, second-screen world, everything and anything is in play. Nothing is off-the-record. Literally anything is discoverable. Have we lost to a large degree our privacy? Yes, we have.

Thirty years ago, we were all told to be wary of anything that you wrote down or typed because scary Xerox machines existed. Your ill-advised words could be copied and delivered to a non-friendly reporter, looking for “good dirt,” in a plain-white envelope.

Life was so innocent back then.

Today is so different. Who would have thought that munching on an overpriced salad, sipping nice wine, while dreaming of a nice car with the top down, could be so dangerous to the political and economic health of your organization and/or campaign?madden

Once again contemplate the wise words of John Madden: “Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-barbarity-of-a-nation/2015/07/31/344f5140-36eb-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-price-of-fetal-parts/2015/07/23/13cb5668-316d-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/21/antiabortion-group-releases-second-planned-parenthood-video/

http://pagesix.com/2015/07/28/hillary-clintons-600-haircut-puts-bergdorf-on-lockdown/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/leaked-videos-show-romney-dismissing-obama-supporters-as-entitled-victims/2012/09/17/5d49ca96-0113-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.biography.com/people/john-madden-9542594

http://gopro.com/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/08/planned-parenthood-receives-record-amount-taxpayer-support/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you admit, acknowledge or concede, particularly in a supercharged political environment, will be published or broadcast 99 percent of the time.

“I am not a crook.” – Richard Nixon

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

“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law.” – Barack Obama

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Consider as Exhibit A the following passage from the Washington Post about President Barack Obama’s Thursday news conference on the troubled Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare):

The president was contrite, and his admissions were many — he conceded that he was left in the dark about aspects of the crowning achievement of his presidency, he acknowledged that he and his advisers underestimated how hard it would be to sell insurance over a Web site…”

In most cases the media … both digital and conventional … has the attention span of a gnat. Remember the government shutdown or the debt ceiling crisis? Ho-hum. That was yesterday’s news.

What is Miley Cyrus smoking onstage or not wearing today?

Having made this point, there are obvious exceptions and these all have legs (no pun intended). These are stories that the media latch onto and, similar to a Gila monster, will not let go until sundown.

Each and every exciting installment of Watergate defined and eventually ended the Nixon presidency in utter disgrace.

The Monicagate impeachment proceedings did not terminate the Clinton White House, but to this day the president’s extracurricular activities with his intern still comes front of mind when president #42 is discussed and assessed.

And now the “crowning achievement” of the Obama presidency is unraveling before our very eyes, and with it his approval rating. The media is more than happy to report as the president and Obamacare head downward-to-the-right.

In no way does Almost DailyBrett morally equate Watergate, Monica Lewinsky and Obamacare. Nonetheless each is a seminal story that defines a presidency and each has “legs” that the media feasted or feasts upon.

Former Vice President Spiro Nolo Contendere Agnew was absolutely the wrong messenger to deliver the infamous William Safire conceived line about the media: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.

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Even the president seems to agree when he lectured the media Thursday: “The things that go right, you guys aren’t going to write about.” (Guess that would apply to you gals as well.)

Let’s face it: the media thrives on train wrecks and plane crashes. Like a pack of hungry hyenas, the media has an insatiable appetite for what is known in the trade, good dirt. The words, pack mentality, apply directly to the media, who conceive and spread among themselves organic ideas about precisely what went wrong.

Most of all the media elites in particular are looking for telltale signs they are right. This is where admissions, acknowledgements and concessions come into play.

Certainly, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not admit or concede anything regarding Watergate or Monicagate respectively. However, each in his own way (Not a Crook, Nixon and That Woman, Clinton) acknowledged for the joyful media the elephant in the room of their respective debacles.

Obama with his football metaphor about fumbling the ball did admit, acknowledge and concede that virtually everything and anything has gone wrong with Obamacare, including failing to live up to the promise that people could keep their health insurance policies, if they wish too.

Americans historically are a forgiving people.

Some contend that it would have been better for Obama to come clean earlier about his oft-repeated promise that if you like your health insurance policy you can keep it is simply not true. Was he misled by his own administration or did he mislead? Neither is good. The media wants to know.

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From a public relations standpoint, the right counsel is to advise the chief executive to face reality, own up, be contrite and seek forgiveness. Most of all, what is the chief executive and her or his administration going to do about it?

The rub comes with a media that is always looking for signs of weakness, particularly after building up a reputation and brand, senses that proverbial blood is in the water. Presidents, governors, senators, chief executives etc. are generally reluctant to give the media satisfaction (e.g., Nixon in particular).

And when they do, these can become defining moments that have the potential to be eternally enshrined. That was true for Nixon and Clinton. That may or not be true for Obama.

Obama’s advantage is he still has time, but not unlimited time. He officially becomes a lame duck one year from now. Somehow, someway Obamacare needs to finally work for him.

If not, the media, the historians and the country will remember his Obamacare “fumble” and the day he admitted, acknowledged and conceded.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamato-to-announce-change-to-address-health-insurance-cancellations/2013/11/14/3be49d24-4d37-11e3-9890-a1e0997fb0c0_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-does-health-care-fumble-mean-game-over-for-obama/2013/11/15/77dc0b0a-4dfa-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101202677

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

http://www.nolocontendere.org/historyofnolo.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/miley-cyrus-biggest-feminists-article-1.1517413

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