Tag Archive: Los Angeles Times


On any given autumn Saturday there are seemingly 27 different college football games on nearly a dozen networks, all available in HD with exceptional video and sound.

And let’s not forget the HDTV games on Thursday and Friday nights as well.

For the addictive channel surfing male of species in particular, there are so many games to choose. There are cold microbrews in the fridge, snacks on the table, and an always available WC down the hall, all provided free of charge in HVAC comfort.

Contrast this climate controlled football nirvana with sphincters yelling in your ear, blocking your view, $10 making-love-in-a-canoe beers, lines for the commode, and endless commercial and instant replay reviews on days/nights which can be blistering or freezing and wet.

As a 30-year and counting Autzen Stadium season ticket holder, Almost DailyBrett has been tempted on more than occasion to leave the overpriced tickets (includes the required Duck Athletic Fund donation) on the coffee table, and watch the game in high-definition comfort at home. Wonder how many Oregon fans will take this option this weekend considering that Pac-12 Networks has decided the game against Montana will start … at 7:45 pm PDT, 10:45 pm EDT.

Seriously, how many folks in the Eastern and Central time zones are going to be watching Pac-12 Networks at midnight, when literally millions in the Pacific time zone cannot even access the network because of contractual issues? If the conference can’t be marketed east of the Rockies, then what’s the point of the late kickoff?

We know from the reporting of the Los Angeles Times that way too many UCLA fans are showing up dressed as empty seats at the 80,616 capacity Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Consider the optics last Saturday as an “announced” crowd of 36,000 attended UCLA’s latest loss, this time against juggernaut San Diego State.

Was the Rose Bowl half full or half empty?

Thankfully, this season will be the last in which the Pac-12 “Championship” game will be played in the nearly vacant Levi’s Stadium in gridlocked Santa Clara on a Friday night (December 6). The announced attendance last year was 35,114. How many freebies were given out to pad the crowd?

Do you know Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott?

The only winner was Fox Sports, providing the network with Friday night “programming.” The losers were the Pac-12 teams, the conference and of course, the fans.

The Networks Don’t Care About The Fans

Alabama is playing its September 21 home game against Southern Miss at 11 am local time.

Does anyone at the sports networks have any appreciation for the expected temps in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when the humid sun is nearing its zenith point for the day? Nick Saban is fried about it (pardon the pun), but he and the Alabama administration seem to be powerless to stop the madness.

Alabama is a perpetual national champion from God’s anointed conference, the SEC, and the school can’t convince the networks to find a  broadcast “window” that works for its fans, friends and supporters?

The networks and the universities want the optics and the revenue that comes from packed stadiums, but are seemingly indifferent to the potential of heat stroke/frost bite by fans. And what’s a fan to do?

How about watching the same cupcake, body-bagger game (e.g., Alabama vs. New Mexico State) in air conditioned comfort in High-Def for free?

Almost DailyBrett initially could not believe when one of my USC fraternity brothers announced that he would not be hosting his long-time tailgate parties at the LA Coliseum this fall. Instead, he said he would “Stub Hub” a game or two, and watch the rest of the games in HDTV.

“We also abstained from buying tickets, so, while we may attend a game or two, will be watching most of them at home.”

One may be tempted to dismiss the above story as simply anecdotal. What is not anecdotal is that college football attendance is down for the major conferences, save the ACC.

“What A Better Way To Spend An Autumn Afternoon” — ABC’s Chris Schenkel (1923-2005)

Almost DailyBrett remembers the days when there was exactly one college football game broadcast on Saturday afternoons by ABC.

The supply of the sport was obviously way under the demand, considering the literally millions of Americans who want to follow their alma maters and favorite teams.

Athletic departments needed additional revenues to fund a wide-variety of sports, the majority of which run in the red.

The networks came to the rescue, but predictably there are no free lunches. The “strings” that came with the deal was the loss of total control, particularly when it came to scheduling and kick off times. The universities, their alumni departments, and most of all their fans couldn’t engage in advance planning with game times being announced only six days before.

Almost DailyBrett is heartened by the complaints coming from Nick Saban and others. The universities want alumni and fans on campus. They want them to sing the fight song, hang out at the tailgate parties, buy the expensive jerseys, have a wonderful time and most of all … write checks.

To this date in recorded history, an empty seat or bench has never written a check to a university.

Doubt this empirical fact of life will ever change.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2019-09-05/ucla-football-attendance-issues-crowded-sports-field

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27581049/alabama-not-happy-start-due-heat

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/10/alabama-football-is-sick-tired-day-games-would-rather-beat-its-cupcake-opponents-night/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/6-a-m-tailgate-parties/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

 

Breakfast and Bay Area newspapers were served at a coffee shop, located directly across the street from the Cow Hollow motel at Steiner and Lombard.

Even though Friday, September 24, 1982 pre-dated mobile devices, there were no Thursday afternoon/evening phone calls from our campaign headquarters or even more germane, our political consulting firm in Los Angeles.

Copies of the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune and most of all, the San Francisco Examiner were passed around over pancakes, syrup and black coffee. Next up was a morning editorial board meeting with the latter newspaper.

My boss was then-Attorney General/later-California Governor George Deukmejian.

After greeting editorial board members/reporters of the San Francisco Examiner, George Deukmejian was asked, if he saw the Los Angeles Times that morning.

Your Almost DailyBrett author, who was serving as the press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, instantly experienced a pang of dread.

As the editorial board waited, George Deukmejian read the Los Angeles Times story. One thing was always certain: The Duke did not like surprises.

The Los Angeles Times story written by veteran political reporter Richard Bergholz reported on outrageous comments made by our gubernatorial campaign manager Bill Roberts.

Roberts predicted to Bergholz that our final election day results would be 5 percent better than what was being forecasted in the public opinion polls.

Roberts concluded that 5 percent of respondents would not admit their inner prejudice/bias to a pollster, and simply would not vote for our rival, a black candidate on election day.

The African-American candidate in question was our opponent, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. As a result of the coverage by the Los Angeles Times of Roberts’ on-the-record comments, the much-discussed/debated for nearly four decades, “Bradley Effect,” was born.

And George Deukmejian was blindsided.

.Photo by Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer

Why didn’t Roberts call the attorney general on Thursday? Most likely, he knew the result of his free lancing. For some reason, he believed it was better for George Deukmejian not to know and to find out later (in the presence of editors/reporters).

The question that still comes back to me:  Why did Bill Roberts make this assertion? There is absolutely no way that George Deukmejian would agree with this conclusion, let alone authorize Roberts to say it on-the-record, on-background or off the record. We were running an effective, well-organized campaign.

In the presence of the San Francisco Examiner editors/reporters and throughout the next few days, George Deukmejian rejected the premise of “The Bradley Effect” about the under-the-surface 5 percent racial bias.

Leaving the Examiner offices, my boss turned to me and said: “Bill Roberts is now an issue in this campaign.” Roberts and his political consulting firm were fired that day.

The immediate reaction from the pundits/media elite was our campaign was dead. Obviously, this projection was not the first time the political class has been wrong, forecasting an election.

George Deukmejian was elected governor six weeks later 49-48 percent, a margin of 93,345 votes.

Bradley Effect/Reverse Bradley Effect

Typing “Bradley Effect” into the Google search engine results in 88.9 million impressions in 0.32 of a second. The “Bradley Effect” is eternal.

The term also raises the blood temperature of the author of Almost DailyBrett in less than two nanoseconds, even though the Bradley Effect Blindside occurred 36 years ago.

There have been recent applications of the Bradley Effect, questioning whether there would be an under vote against Barack Obama in 2008 because of his skin hue. He was twice elected the 44th President of the United States.

And just two years ago, the elite political class introduced the “Reverse Bradley Effect” to characterize voters who refuse out of embarrassment to admit to pollsters they were voting for Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

As your author writes this Almost DailyBrett epistle, I am mindful and grateful that Bill Roberts and others in his consulting firm supported hiring me as a very green press director back in early 1982. Roberts passed away in 1988.

Having acknowledged my gratitude, your author knows that our 1982 victory and landslide re-election (61-37 percent) four years later against the same Tom Bradley are tarnished in some eyes because of the so-called “Bradley Effect.”

Yours truly to this date is proud of the campaign we ran in 1982, and better yet how we governed California for eight years (1983-1991).

Two Million Absentee Ballots

The large absentee vote in the 1982 general election (6.4 percent of the total) came about primarily as a result of an effective organized campaign to get Republicans to vote by mail.” – Mervin D. Field, director of the California Poll

Based solely on the voters who went to the polls on November 2, 1982, Tom Bradley beat George Deukmejian by nearly 20,000 votes.

Having said that, the Deukmejian Campaign Committee without fanfare distributed 2 million absentee ballots to Republican voters. George Deukmejian won the absentees 59.6 percent to 37.4 percent, a margin of nearly 113,000 votes.

Game. Set. Match.

The distribution of absentee votes to high propensity, philosophically aligned voters was novel in 1982, and now its di rigueur in today’s campaign GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts.

Reportedly an overconfident Tom Bradley stopped campaigning the weekend before the election, comfortable with his upcoming victory. For example, the projected 20 percent electoral participation by minorities turned out to be only 15 percent.

Would another four days of campaigning by Tom Bradley have made a difference in the closest gubernatorial election in California’s political history? One could think so.

Time to Let It Go?

Some would suggest to Almost DailyBrett that it’s past time after nearly four decades to let go of the “Bradley Effect.”

Tranquillo.

Keep in mind, the “Bradley Effect” keeps coming back even when a Caucasian hombre (e.g., Trump) was running against a Caucasian mujer (e.g., Hillary) in 2016.

The worst impact in my mind as the former press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee is the implication that we were racist.

We also did not receive the credit deserved for running an effective, winning campaign with an outstanding candidate/future governor: George Deukmejian.

It’s a shame the “Bradley Effect” seemingly resurfaces every four years.

The reports of the death of the Bradley Effect have been greatly exaggerated.

https://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/FieldPoll1982analysis.pdf

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/persistent-myth-of-bradley-effect/

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-07-01/news/mn-6379_1_bill-roberts

http://articles.latimes.com/2000/dec/28/local/me-5509

https://www.thedailybeast.com/pancakes-and-pickaninnies-the-saga-of-sambos-the-racist-restaurant-chain-america-once-loved

“To be blessed to have all of this stuff around us, we want to give back. We want to give back to Phil Knight, to give back to Nike, give back to all the donors that donated to the school, and changed Oregon.” – Oregon defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

It’s been success, and really, Nike. Let’s face it. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.” – Craig Pintens, University of Oregon senior associate athletic director for marketing and public relations

Does that mean that Oregon would be somewhere else? Corvallis? Pullman?

Are Oregon returning seniors giving back in order of importance: Uncle Phil, Nike and oh yes … the donors too?

Is the Oregon Athletic Department once again confusing the “O” for the “Swoosh”?Oregon1

“University of Nike”

“We are the University of Nike. We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits,” – Jeff Hawkins, University of Nike senior associate athletic director of Football Administration and Operations.

Nike-Logo

Bad habits die hard at the University of Oregon Athletic Department.

A little over a year ago, Almost DailyBrett reported about how Jeff Hawkins made the “University of Nike” pronouncement to the New York Times.

Fast forward to today and Ifo and Pintens sang a similar song to Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times.

Yes, Uncle Phil has been incredibly generous to the tune of more than $300 million and counting to the Oregon Athletic Department (e.g., impregnable Brazilian ipi wood in the 25,000-square foot weight room) and academics (e.g., Law School and Library).

The university is extremely fortunate that its most distinguished alum founded and ran Nike. He is now worth billions, and is bestowing a portion of his wealth to his alma mater. That’s great.

What is a matter of public relations concern is the intentional practice of making the Nike and Oregon brands synonymous.

Quick: Name another major university that is the brand equivalent of a Fortune 500 publicly traded company? The closest that Almost DailyBrett can even ponder is Oklahoma State and T. Boone Pickens, but of course, the former Wall Street raider is not a corporate brand.

Overcoming Geography

Even though the campus is tucked away in America’s sparsely populated cul-de-sac, these are heady days for the University of Oregon. The Ducks are No. 2 in the AP poll of football writers after dashing the notion that Oregon is “soft” with a second-half smack down of Rose Bowl champion, Michigan State. The final was Oregon 46; Michigan State 27, and in the end, it really wasn’t that close.

There is a swagger that has been building in Eugene during the last decade-plus: High tempo spread offense, cool Nike uniforms every week. Ferrari leather, Brazilian wood, and high-tech gizmos at the $68 million (it’s more than that) 145,000 square-foot Hatfield-Dowlin football complex adjacent to the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium. There are also the 10 straight over Washington with number 11 slated for October 18. Yep, it’s cool to be a Duck fan.

There is zero doubt that Nike played a significant role in the program’s success, but the story does not start or end there. The Ducks made it to the Rose Bowl in 1994 with no swooshes on their traditional uniforms and mediocre facilities. They did it with great coaching, skillful recruiting and a confident team that caught fire down the stretch. “Kenny Wheaton is going to score. Kenny Wheaton is going to score.”

wheaton2

Proclaiming the equivalency of Nike and Oregon sends the unfortunate and inaccurate signal that Oregon would be Oregon State or worse, Washington State, without Uncle Phil’s largesse.

The more important issue is the resulting confusion when it comes to multiple brands.

USC wears Nike jerseys, but no one mistakes the cardinal and gold, the Trojan head, the Song Girls, and Traveler the Horse with the “swoosh.”

Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to Stanford, but there is no PR effort on the Farm to tie Stanford to Google. Stanford will never be confused as a search engine with an Android operating system.

Reser Foods sponsors Oregon State’s football stadium, but no one is attempting to equate Benny Rodent with bratwurst … even though the idea has some appeal.

Think of it this way. Starbucks is Starbucks. Apple is Apple. Amazon is Amazon. Southwest is Southwest. So why does Oregon have to be Nike?

Are the brand management rocket scientists at the Athletic Department trying to be both the “O” and the “Swoosh” at the same time? And if so, what is the unifying message? Just Do It!? Or Go Ducks?

Here are even more germane questions: What does the latest in a line of interim presidents at the University of Oregon think about dueling brands on the same campus? Do they even recognize that they have a problem on their hands?

Or is it simply, the team is winning, so who cares if there is a little brand confusion?

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-oregon-football-20140826-column.html#page=1

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

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._Boone_Pickens

 

 

 

 

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you; when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

Remember (former Vice President) Dan Quayle?

How about (former Attorney General) Ed Meese?

And (former Defense Secretary) John Tower?

And (former White House chief of staff) John Sununu?

And of course, (former NYC mayoral candidate/personal photographer) Anthony Weiner?

This brings us to present-tense USC coach Lane Kiffin.

What do they all have in common?kiffinhoodie

The answer is the media vultures were out for all of them at one time or another. In the end, the vultures picked (or are picking) their bodies to death.

As the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, I watched with delight and awe as the media took apart our 1982 opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former California Lt. Governor Mike Curb.

There was not a book to be seen in Curb’s palatial house, gleefully noted the Los Angeles Times.

Curb had not registered to vote (a 10-minute exercise) for Ronald Reagan (or anyone else) in 1966 and 1970 because he was “too busy” for 17 years with his record company business. Thank you LA Herald-Examiner and Valley News and Green Sheet.

The media vultures were circling over Curb’s dying candidacy. It was time for him to go. He was history. He was toast.

It was “vulture journalism” at its best or at its worst, depending on your point of view. The media had made up its collective mind: Curb was not going to be Governor of California.

“No one’s more miserable than myself. So it’s our job to get it fixed.” – Kiffin quoted this week in the Los Angeles Times deftly moving from the first-person singular to the first-person plural.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden earlier this year described his embattled head football coach as the “anti-Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Kiffin is Mr. Velcro…everything and anything sticks to him.

haden

Did the Trojans just hold a “players-only” meeting? Who would normally care? These are not normal times. Apparently, no one told Lane Kiffin. Is he out of touch? The media cares.

When asked in the wake of USC’s home field loss last Saturday night to the Pullman Cougars, whether Cody Kessler or Max Vittek was going to be his QB starter this coming Saturday against Boston College, Kiffin said he didn’t know.

You don’t know? USC is paying you $2.4 million annually, and you don’t know…

Besides being the anti-Reagan, Kiffin is also the anti-Chip Kelly the anti-Jim Harbaugh, and most of all, the anti-Pete Carroll.

Everyone is excited about whether Chip’s fast-paced, Michael Vick running the ball Oregon-style offense will work on a week-in, week-out basis in the NFL. Maybe.

Everyone is salivating over the Sunday night matchup between Harbaugh’s 49ers and Carroll’s Seahawks. Harbaugh’s and Carroll’s paths have crossed before (e.g., “What’s Your Deal? What’s your Deal!!!), which adds to the intrigue.

Do you think USC fans would take Carroll back? In a heartbeat. Would they even accept former Stanford coach, Harbaugh? Deep down you know they would.

Just win, Baby!

Even though the hiring of Carroll was not embraced by Trojan alums, they came to adore him. And why not?

He came across as a great guy with a penchant for winning big time.

There are some who contend that anyone can win at USC. Why not? There are more high school and junior college football studs within a 30-mile radius of the LA Mausoleum than there are within a 300-mile radius of Pullman…And yet…Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and now, Kiffin couldn’t get it done at Troy.

Carroll was that magical guy with a special knack. Combine Carroll’s coaching persona and genius with the geographic advantages, wealth and tradition of USC, and the result was orgasmic. USC was back and it dominated the Pac-10…seven straight titles…something that will never happen again.

In contrast, USC alums were giddy when Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee after his limp, low-T 7-6 record in Knoxville. No one is cheering now.

firelanekiffin

The biggest mystery is why did three-storied football programs: the Silver-and-Black Oakland Raiders (5-15), the Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) and now the Cardinal and Gold USC Trojans (27-15) hand the keys to their respective Ferraris only to achieve exploding gas tank Pinto results (39-36)? How do you spell mediocrity? K-I-F-F-I-N.

The latest Kiffin tenure was always a media relations train-wreck going someplace to happen.

Was this former USC Athletic Director’s (the guy who hired Kiffin) Mike Garrett’s parting gift to Haden?

Almost DailyBrett can rightfully be accused of piling onto Lane Kiffin.  After all, this is my third blog as a USC grad on this subject. I plead guilty.

Can effective public relations counsel help Kiffin withstand the media vultures at this point in time? Will simply winning rescue Kiffin from his seemingly inevitable fate? Possibly.

Having said that, one cannot discount the most recent losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame and more to the point, embarrassing debacles to Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) and Wazzu…the latter two should not even be competitive against USC.

One suspects the upcoming trips to ASU and Notre Dame will not be pretty. Ditto for the home games against Stanford and UCLA. Kiffin should thank Darwin that Washington and (gulp) Oregon are not on the schedule this year.

Is Haden quietly going over a list of potential replacements? You know for certain the thought has crossed his mind, more than once or twice…

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1770356-usc-football-top-recruits-turning-on-lane-kiffin?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=college-football

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20130910/marqise-lee-contradicts-lane-kiffin-on-players-only-meeting

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/08/analysis-mack-brown-texas-lane-kiffin-southern-california-coaches-hot-seat/2782321/

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-0912-usc-football-20130912,0,473654.story#axzz2ehZMTeBN

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeS3VeluAmg

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

 

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

“…They (traditional networks, CNN, NYT etc.) would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor (Romney). They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul. I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”

I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that (allegations of marital infidelity).”  – Newt Gingrich in his heated exchange with CNN Moderator John King, Jan. 19, 2012.

newt

Even though Newt Gingrich has a propensity for being a loose cannon, I know that his opening response in Thursday night’s debate resonated with conservatives across the fruited plain. He may even win the South Carolina Republican presidential primary tonight at least in part as a result of his exchange with the CNN moderator.

And it reminded me of the double-standard in American politics.

If you a press secretary for a Democrat governor, senator or House member, you wake up each morning knowing that you have one unchanging and unyielding political enemy, the Republicans.

If you are a press secretary for a Republican governor, senator or House member, you wake up each morning knowing that you have two unchanging and unyielding political enemies, the Democrats and the news media.

In my case, I served as the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee in 1982; the assistant press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian from 1983-85; the deputy press secretary from 1985-87; and the governor’s press secretary from 1987-89. I knew the double standard back then as a press secretary to a Republican chief executive, and I know it now…Your job as a political spokesperson and message crafter is doubly tough if you work on the GOP side of the aisle.

There are current and former members of the Fourth Estate upon reading these words, who will vehemently disagree with me and try to dismiss my contention as partisan sour grapes. Then there were the people cheering Newt and nodding their heads affirmatively in Charleston, S.C. on Thursday night.

The following night, Bill O’Reilly in his “Talking Points” said that American media is “invested” in liberal politics, pointing to a 2008 Pew Research study that revealed that Americans believe the media supported Barack Obama over John McCain by a 70 percent to 9 percent margin. Surveys of reporters themselves revealed only 8 percent identify themselves as conservative (surprised it was that high).

Some may immediately dismiss this analysis because it emanates from Fox News, which is just the point. Where are conservatives going to get a fair and balanced hearing? MSNBC? The same network that asked Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow to provide their “impartial” commentary of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary? Was Mikhail Gorbachev booked that night? Maybe, we could turn to NBC News where Brian Williams could ask Chelsea Clinton for her opinion? Is it too late for Dan Rather to make a comeback? I could go on, but I believe you have the point.

rathergate

A very sore subject between Governor Deukmejian’s office and the LA Times, the largest newspaper in California, concerned the impartiality of the newspaper’s poll conducted by Irwin A. “Bud” Lewis.

There was no secret that the Times wanted former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley elected governor in 1982 and 1986. And for some inexplicable reason the Bud Lewis poll would reliably and consistently reveal that Bradley was faring better against Deukmejian than the other public opinion polls. Was the LA Times poll meant to reflect public opinion or to actually drive public opinion, and help Bradley raise needed campaign cash?

Sorry even a generation later, even though I offer no smoking gun, nobody can convince me that the LA Times was not engaging in Enron-style cooking of the numbers to benefit the anointed one. By the way, we won the closest gubernatorial election in 1982, and achieved the biggest landslide in California’s political history, beating Bradley by a 61-37 percent margin in 1986.

Today, when I see polls being conducted for the New York Times-CBS News or ABC News-Washington Post, I immediately think of the official sponsor and not the results. If these polls can be slanted just a sliver, just a smidge to give more hope, more comfort and build morale for those that mirror their editorial policies, well I guess that is the way it is. Isn’t the role of the media to comfort the afflicted (the liberals) and afflict the comfortable (the conservatives)?

Conservative cries about the double standard are not new and neither are the elitist media responses. The ivory-tower crowd in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles will dismiss these assertions by pointing back to Spiro Agnew’s statement (written by speech writer and later NY Times op-ed writer William Safire) about the “Nattering nabobs of negativism.” The strategy then and the strategy now is to discredit the message, regardless of its credibility, by tying it to one of the most disdained figures in American history.

For conservatives, they still remember Dan Rather’s live cat fight with then Vice President George H.W. Bush. They remember “Rathergate” and the totally discredited 60 Minutes attack on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service. And now they have John King using the opening question to shame Newt Gingrich. Come on John, couldn’t you have waited until the middle of the debate before springing the infidelity question?

My words will never convince those who refuse to be convinced, but then I weigh the impressive ratings success of Fox News. Is it because the network is indeed “fair and balanced?” Or is it because conservatives have long last found a place where their views and values have at least a snowball’s chance of being fairly presented. Sorry Keith Olbermann, you will never be considered to be fair and balanced…and in fact, I don’t think the word “balanced” will ever apply.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9026857/US-election-2012-Newt-Gingrichs-fiery-exchange-with-CNNs-John-King-transcript-in-full.html

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/index.html

http://www.latimes.com/la-histpoll,0,5275501.htmlstory

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

It was one of the most sobering stories that I have read in many, many moons.

Alana Semuels in her LA Times piece, “America Out of Work” argues that near double-digit unemployment directly impacting 14.9 million could become a long-standing condition in America. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/05/business/la-fi-america-unemployment-mainbar-20100905

“This is the new reality,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “In the past decade we’ve gone from the best labor market in our economic history to arguably one of the worst. It’s going to take years, if not decades, to completely recover from the fallout.”

The numbers are stark: To get the national unemployment rate back to 5%, where it was before the downturn, would require the economy to generate about 17 million jobs — or about 285,000 a month for five straight years — according to Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

“To appreciate the enormity of that employment hole, consider that U.S. employers have shed 283,000 jobs since May,” Semuels wrote in early September.

Before we tie a boulder around our collective waists, clutching our precious Led Zeppelin catalog to our chests, and throwing ourselves off a bridge, keep in mind that it was exactly one decade ago that forecasters under the influence of the Internet bubble were virtually guaranteeing the Dow Jones would hit 27,000. This past Friday, the NYSE surged 197 points to 10,860. So much for 27,000 at least any time soon.

What intrigues this commentator as I begin today my pursuit of a master’s degree in “Communication and Society” at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication is the pronounced difference in nomenclature between Eugene and the Silicon Valley.

Naturally I expected differences between the two cultures even though both are populated by very talented and highly educated people. In Eugene, I have heard in my short time substantial dialogue about “sustainability” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability, “gender equality,” “public options,” “corporate social responsibility” and “marriage issues.” Nothing wrong with any of that.

During my 15 years in Silicon Valley particularly following the dot.com bust and right up to the present deep recession, the discussion focused on “fiduciary responsibility,” “expense controls,” “promoting profitability,” “driving revenues,” “expanding gross margin,” “ROI (Return on Investment)” and simply “survival.”

A question that I am going to personally explore in depth during the course of the next two years is whether our universities are preparing students to successfully transition from the priorities of the university campus to the mandates of the corporate world.

Semuels writes about the tremendous challenge that grads face, particularly in today’s economy: “But young workers are suffering too. In August, the unemployment rate for workers 16 to 24 was 18.1%.

“Research has shown that economic downturns can stunt the prospects of these new entrants to the job market for a decade or longer. Some college graduates unable to find jobs in their chosen fields are forced to trade down to lower-skilled, often temporary work. That translates into puny wages, missed opportunities and a slower climb up the career ladder.”

This is not a great time to be an out-of-work adult over the half-century mark, but it is also an incredibly challenging time for the graduating classes of the next few years. What the second group has as an advantage over the first is simply time and life expectancy. The real question is whether they are being properly prepared for the challenges of a rough economy, one that appears to be with us for years, if not (gasp) decades, to come.

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