Tag Archive: Right to Lie


“One hundred and forty characters are suitable to expressing an impulse, but not an argument. It is the rhetorical equivalent of a groan, a shriek, a sneer or a burp. If reason and persuasion are what our politics lacks and needs, Twitter is not the answer.” — Nationally Syndicated Columnist Michael Gerson

At 71-years young, Donald John Trump is the oldest to take the presidential oath of office.

One would suspect a man of his age would be next-to-clueless about social media/digital technology — (remember out-of-touch George H.W. Bush and his amazement about the supermarket scanner?) — but one would be wrong.trump-twitter

Just as FDR used the radio-and-its-widespread-network for his fireside chats; Ronald Reagan five decades later repeatedly went before the cameras to go directly to the people and bypass Congress. Why should we be surprised that Trump is using Twitter to go around the media?

Agenda Setting Theory means that elite media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, ABC, CBS, NBC) pose the topics for the grateful masses to think about. Trump’s Twitter posts are usurping this cherished interpretive media role, and the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate are not amused.

Have the Nixon days of the “nattering nabobs of negativism” returned with a daily war being waged between the elite media and the White House? Is the media appalled or secretly thrilled to have such an adversary to bring crashing to the earth?spicer

Sean Spicer is the present press secretary for the 45th chief executive. How long will he hold this job? Obama had three press secretaries (i.e., Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Josh Earnest) during the span of eight years. Almost DailyBrett will take the over on the question of whether this president will have three-or-more press secretaries.

One of the daily problems facing Spicer is pleasing his insatiable boss, while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the piranha covering the White House. Serving as press secretary may ultimately be rewarding in the form of a best-selling, tell-all book, but for now it is most likely the supreme thankless job on the planet.

Digital Is Eternal

“Are you insinuating that I am a purveyor of terminological inexactitudes?” – Winston Churchill

As California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary (1987-1989), the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about whereabouts his my boss (e.g., the governor went home to Gloria, the kids and the beagles). Your author was never concerned about what he was going to say in response to media questions (e.g., The Duke’s political judgment was superb/his message consistency was outstanding), and what he did at night … presumably he slept soundly.

Spicer and the Trump communication team always need to worry about political judgment/discipline, and particularly what the energizer-bunny president is doing at 3 am … namely his love affair with Twitter’s 140-characters.trumptwitterhillary

Are the Trump communicators tempted to program their smart phones to send S-O-S signals every time the boss fires off another tweet? Heck, sleep is way overrated anyway. Think of it this way, when a POTUS tweet is sent from God’s time zone (EST), it is already 8 am in London, 9 am in Berlin and 11 am in Moscow.

For the media on presidential “death watch” (those who must stay up in the White House briefing room as the president ostensibly sleeps), they now have something to do: Monitor the POTUS Twitter account.

Is there any way to mitigate and moderate what The Donald decides to tweet, save being in the president’s living quarters at 3 am (EST)? Would he listen to his communication pros anyway? The hardest part of the job for Trump’s  press secretary may be responding to wire service calls at all hours of the morning to add color to a tweet that he saw at the same time as the reporters.

Some of the 140-missives may make perfect sense and will be consistent with the policies and the programs of the administration. Others … well, they could be about almost anything including inaugural crowd sizes or “alternative facts.”

Considering the government’s record of telling the truth has been less than stellar over the decades (e.g., LBJ’s “Credibility Gap” during Vietnam, Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and Jody Powell’s “Right to Lie” during the Iran hostage crisis), are we surprised an administration is resorting to terminological inexactitudes?

What is breathtaking is the number in the first week alone, but more noticeable is the speed, namely through 140-characters or less Twitter.

How many tweets will POTUS fire off its cyberspace in four years or maybe eight years? Will there be any political-and-editorial discipline imposed?

Don’t count on it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-a-tweeting-president-is-so-bad-for-our-politics/2017/01/26/9a6892a8-e3f0-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.06b7a51ec1ce&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/presidenc1/tp/List-Of-Obama-Press-Secretaries.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33875.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/the-other-side-of-the-story/

 

 

 

 

“When I first contacted the Clinton Foundation, they denied any such meeting ever took place. And when we told them we have already talked to the head (of Kazatomprom), who not only told us all about the meeting but actually has a picture of him and Bill at the (Chappaqua) home, that he proudly displays on his office wall, they then acknowledge the meeting had taken place.” – New York Times reporter Jo Becker clinton-giustra.jpp

Tell the truth.

Tell it fast.

Tell it all.

Move on.

The above are the four cardinal principles of crisis communication or any public relations for that matter.

What did mumsy tell you about always speaking the truth and not lying?

You would think the Clinton Foundation or any well-respected organization would not boldly outright lie to the New York Times, let alone a Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Jo Becker … and yet it happened.

Worse off, it was so tantalizingly easy to establish the truth, and out the lie.

And what really did happen in 2008 at the Clinton Chappaqua mansion, which revolved around Kazakhstan uranium, a Canadien multi-millionaire, and a subsequent $30 million donation to the Clinton Foundation?

Was it worth permanently ruining a spokesperson’s personal reputation for integrity and lowering the esteem and trust in the charitable organization with it?

Somebody or many somebodies decided it was worth the risk, particularly with Hillary Clinton running for president.Clintoncash

“Minimal Tax Adjustments”?

Back in 1988 serving as the press secretary for California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration proposed a series of “minimal tax adjustments” that were marketed as being more efficient and revenue neutral.

After all, we had a five year-record of not raising taxes on the people of California to maintain. Unfortunately, the media stated categorically that we had just lost our no-tax increase virginity.

The events during that period of time turned ugly. The media accused the administration, and certainly the individual serving as the chief spokesperson (that would be the author of Almost DailyBrett) of telling deliberate lies to obscure and deflect the truth.

What made this unfortunate period even worse were the attacks from our right flank, including Republican political pro Ed Rollins. The governor recognized this dog was not hunting and beat a tactical retreat, withdrawing the minimal tax adjustments.

Having made this wise move, the damage to the perceived integrity of our press office was done. Yours truly will someday (hopefully not soon) go to his final resting place in the waters of the Willamette, and will still be convinced that he never lied to reporters, editors or any other media. There may be some reflecting on those not-so-great days of 1988, who to this day take a contrary view.

“Right to Lie”

The late Carter press secretary Jody Powell admitted telling a bold face lie to protect “Operation Eagle Claw,” the failed April 1980 rescue mission to extract the 52 American diplomats held hostage in Iran.jodypowellwhitehouse

In his book, The Other Side of the Story, Powell argued that press secretaries should be told the entire truth, and nothing but the truth. And if required, Powell said chief spokesmen are obligated to lie to protect the national interest and literally to save American lives. By fully informing the press secretary, she or he can devise the most artful non-truth possible. Neither categorical imperative Immanuel Kant nor anyone’s mumsy would be pleased, but in these extreme circumstances not coming clean is understood and expected.

Does the 2008 meeting between former President Bill Clinton, Frank Giustra and a high-ranking official from the state-owned Kazakhstan uranium firm, Kazatomprom, rise to the level mandating telling a lie to the woman (Jo Becker), who won a Pulitzer for her reporting on former Vice President Dick Cheney?jobecker

Considering that Clinton later brokered the deal for Giustra’s Uranium One to be bought by Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom, and with it control of up-to-half of America’s uranium supply, there may be ample reasons why the Clinton Foundation was not enamored with being on the up-and-up when it comes to “business” meetings at Chappaqua.

The non-disclosure of less-than-coincidental donations to the Clinton Foundation and related speaking fees for the Clintons reaching the $750,000 mark per address also adds to the distrust.

The public relations industry has embraced the notion of radical transparency in this eternal era of 24/7/365 instantaneous digital transmission anywhere, anytime in literally seconds. Do you really think anything that is typed into any database, photographed or videotaped is not going to be discovered and revealed?

Heck the evidence may be in analog form, hanging on the wall of some government official in Kazakhstan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?_r=0

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/23/clinton-foundation-caught-straight-up-lying-to-new-york-times-reporter-video/

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/nyt-reporter-clinton-officials-lied-about-a-meeting-taking-place-unaware-of-photo-evidence/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/us/politics/canadian-partnership-shielded-identities-of-donors-to-clinton-foundation.html

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

http://www.mrctv.org/blog/clintons-caught-another-lie-photo-evidence-bills-meeting-frank-giustra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m sorry if my message got misconstrued, but it really was in the best interest of the young men. Hindsight’s 20-20. I probably should have said it was an interview. Semantics are semantics.” – New USC Football Coach Steve Sarkisian

“Misconstrued”?

“Semantics are Semantics”?

How about, to be charitable, telling a big fib?

Sorry Sark, you will never totally restore your reputation for integrity.

sarkuw

Media types and the general public will always have an extra degree of skepticism whenever they interact with you. There is no way to change this inescapable conclusion.

Almost DailyBrett has commented before about Jody Powell’s self-proclaimed, “Right to Lie.”

Powell, former press secretary to President Jimmy Carter, was placed into a lie-or-jeopardize American lives dilemma, when he was asked point-blank in 1980 about possible rescue mission for 52 American diplomats trapped in Iran.

He knew the score. He protected the (ultimately failed) mission. He lied and deceived. He really had no choice.

Larry Speakes, former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, was told to “knock down” rumors about a 1983 American invasion of Grenada. He did. The GI’s landed the following morning. An internally misled and peeved Speakes was charged with lying.

In both cases, the press secretary must interact with the White House Press Corps on a daily basis. A “no comment” response would be interpreted as tantamount to confirmation. The press secretary does not have the authority, regardless of her or his conscience and upbringing, to jeopardize American lives.

jodypowellwhitehouse

Power lied. Speakes lied without knowing it, and was charged with…lying.

Looking back to this previous weekend, former Washington, now USC Coach Sarkisian could have easily avoided being put into a situation in which he had to tell a big white lie.

Until this past Monday, Sarkisian was the head football coach for the University of Washington. Prior to his arrival in Seattle, he was a high-profile assistant coach for Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans.

And naturally because of his relative success (e.g., never beat Oregon) during his five years with Udub and his USC pedigree, he was a natural for the short list of potential new coaches at Troy.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden flew this past Sunday to Seattle to interview Sarkisian. Trust me; he was not heading to the Northwest to bask in the freezing weather. Ultimately, the interview went well. There were still “I’s” to dot and “T’s” to cross as Haden returned to SoCal.

Sarkisian still in his Udub head coach capacity had a scheduled Monday morning interview with Seattle KJR (AM-590), the flagship station for Husky football. He knew that he was going to be asked about the swirling rumors that he had been interviewed by Haden for the SC job.

What were his personal public relations and reputation management options (Keep in mind, none of them were perfect)?

Sark’s options were to go ahead with the previously scheduled radio talk and mischaracterize his meeting with Haden as a nice chat, and not an interview. Keep in mind, the majority of the UW Athletic Department administrators and his team was presumably listening to the interview.

The other option was to postpone the interview, thus maintaining his credibility. This option requires POing the media, particularly the chaps at KJR Sports Radio, and starting rumors as to why he was not available.

As we all know now, Sark went forward with the Monday morning interview and his credibility took a huge hit just hours later when USC announced he was Troy’s new head coach.

sarkusc

“I just felt like at the time, nowhere near finalizing the deal, that it wasn’t the right thing to say,” Sarkisian said. “I didn’t either want to put (USC or UW players) in a situation of uncertainty.”

“Nowhere near finalizing the deal?”

Sark, you met with Pat Haden on Sunday, and USC announced your hiring on Monday afternoon. When you are in a hole, stop digging.

In football, there are times when it is best to punt than being stopped short of the first-down markers.

This was a time when Sark personally should have punted. Postpone the interview. Let the rumors fly. Keep your reputation intact. And later, offer an exclusive post-USC hiring interview exclusive for KJR. Do you really think the torqued-off station would decline that opportunity?

They would have jumped at it.

Presidential press secretaries have the right to lie (and this is debatable) to protect American lives. The same latitude does not apply to Semantics-are-Semantics football coaches.

http://seattletimes.com/html/huskyfootball/2022386995_sarkisian04xml.html

http://sportspressnw.com/2171412/2013/sark-the-liar-my-message-got-misconstrued

http://www.sportsradiokjr.com/main.html

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1203-usc-sarkisian-20131203,0,7317089,full.story#axzz2mdDVswIi

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20131202/steve-sarkisian-usc-head-coach-washington/?xid=ob_sisports

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

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