Tag Archive: The Other Side of the Story


“ … The past two years have radicalized me. I am increasingly troubled by how many of my colleagues have decided to abandon any semblance of fairness out of a conviction that they must save the country from Trump.” – Fox, Daily Beast, CNN, Washington Post media commentator/columnist/author Howard Kurtz, “Media Madness”

“The media have been harder on Trump than any other president” and they “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged.” – Former President Jimmy Carter

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t remember being trained to be an amateur psychologist during his years in Journalism school at the University of Southern California.

Back in the Brady Bunch years, your author was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting journalism — not psychology — hoping to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Remember being taught “Reporting Public Affairs” by Joel Kotkin of the Washington Post. My assignment: Cover the 1977 Los Angeles Mayoral race campaign of California State Senator Alan Robbins, maintain a healthy dose of skepticism, and deliver a balanced, accurate report under deadline pressure.

Were those were the good days of American Journalism?

The media held Richard Nixon accountable for Watergate, obstruction of justice and his paranoia (did not attempt to diagnose his condition).

The rubbing elbows days with the Kennedys as played by Tom Hanks (e.g., Ben Bradlee) and Meryl Streep (Katharine Graham) in The Post were gone with the end of Camelot, and the “New Nixon.” The clubhouse door was closed.

The media was now separate and distinct from those they covered, even though both maintained a symbiotic adversarial relationship. One needed the other for reader/viewer access, and the other thrived on a steady stream of news and information.

Certainly, the media has always tilted to the left as any Republican press secretary will tell you. And that conclusion makes sense to this day. For the most part, reporters take a vow of poverty in the form of lower pay scales and less job security than their cousins in the largely well-paid public relations industry (e.g., “The Dark Side”).

These partisan journalists (oxymoron yes, but true nonetheless) have a natural affinity to the institutions of government. Any thrusts that bring into question the value and purpose of always expanding government (e.g., Reagan, “Government is the problem”) and Trump (e.g., Firing FBI chief James Comey) will trigger a vitriolic reaction from the Fourth Estate.

What is different now is that any and all vestiges of ostensible objectivity by the media to both sides of the great American political divide is gone, long gone. Reporters, editors and correspondents don’t even pretend to be fair anymore.

The media war – yes war — against Trump as a person and his ideas, policies, programs is exposed for what it is and what it has become.

The media is practicing unvarnished and unmitigated oppositional journalism.

America Has Only A Two-Party System

“Trump is right. It is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing masquerading of news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer

“A common refrain among Trump antagonists in the press is that they must resist normalizing his presidency. But in the process, they have abnormalized journalism.” – Howard Kurtz

The media is not one of America’s two political parties.

During the course of the life of your Almost DailyBrett author, the Republicans have controlled the White House for 35 years and the Democrats for 28 years. Political tides have roared back and forth (i.e., Goldwater debacle, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Hostage Crisis, Fall of Communism, Monica, September 11, Big Short, Trump Upset …).

Carter Press Secretary Jody Powell complained in his book “The Other Side Of The Story” about how reporters prided themselves in being “fair to Reagan.”

Oh … for the good ole days.

The real question: Is Oppositional Journalism, actually Journalism?

If stories that favor Trump are irrelevant and tales that discredit Trump are championed, then what’s the point of the former when the media closes its collective ears and eyes?

In some respects — not all — the elite media types have threatened to give arrogance a bad name. And just as many are celebrating the journalism as depicted by Hanks and Streep, keep in mind those were the days of somewhat objective journalism.

Is there a chance that some in the Journalism community will take a moment and reflect about how oppositional journalism emerged from the primordial ooze, grew and mutated?

Is there a chance to turn back the clock in a good way? Let’s hope so.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/sympathy-for-sarah-huckabee-sanders/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/from-affirming-back-to-informing/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

 

“With best wishes to Kevin who understands what this is all about” – Jody Powell

“When the news seemed to me then and now, to be wrong, unsupportable, and unfair.” – President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powellpowellsignature

One of my most cherished possessions is a personally signed copy of Jody Powell’s 1984 book about presidential public relations and the media, “The Other Side of the Story.”

Powell passed way-too-young (65) of an apparent heart attack seven years ago, making my copy of this hardbound book irreplaceable.

Today, the author of Almost DailyBrett assigns new PR students Powell’s remembrances of his brain-fart disclosure to the media of Jimmy Carter smacking a “the killer rabbit” with a canoe oar, “A Grave Mistake,” and more importantly do PR pros in extreme circumstances have “The Right to Lie”?powellbriefing

Powell is seen through the lens of history as one of the very best to serve as the chief spokesman and communications strategist for the leader of the free world. Without a doubt that will be Jody’s lasting legacy. Alas, he served a president who was besieged with 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, out-of-control inflation and economic malaise.

Despite Powell’s best efforts, Carter was excused from the presidency in 1980, winning only six states + DC or 49 electoral votes. Powell eventually shook off the loss, and provided wisdom to all PR pros with his “The Other Side of the Story.”

This simple title also should serve as a reminder to us all that with all issues, there is indeed another side to the story.

To my horror, your author remembers being told there is no other side of the story when it comes to a major criminal justice issue. My training as a political/business public relations professional is there are indeed two sides to every story, and you are simply not doing your job if you don’t comprehend the opposing argument.

How can you fashion a winning rebuttal?

Getting Out of Our Filter Bubbles

One of the tenets of public relations theory (don’t glaze over) is Cognitive Dissonance or the practice of re-examining a hard-felt position upon the presence of compelling new information. John F. Kennedy through his charm and conviction was able to gain support from Republicans despite setbacks (e.g., Bay of Pigs). Conversely, Ronald Reagan’s success and communication skills led to the formation of a new-at-the-time political force, The Reagan Democrats.

Does Cognitive Dissonance still apply today in our woefully divided, gridlocked society?

Looking into my crystal ball, will President Hillary Clinton be “primaried” (new verb) in 2020 by Bernie-Sanders-progressives, if she works with Speaker Paul Ryan? There is zero doubt that Clinton and Ryan see the world differently, but at the same time it is their job to work together for the benefit of the country.powellbook

 

In order to do just that, both sides need to appreciate there is indeed The Other Side of the Story. Even more germane, is this notion is at the heart of the Marketplace of Ideas.

For example, many decry the fact that an estimated 2 million are incarcerated in American jails and prisons, a disproportionate number hail from minority communities. Is that the only side of the story that matters?

As press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration doubled the size of the state’s prison system, which was a godsend considering the massive overcrowding issue the Golden State faces to this day.

Were we being mean, hateful and vindictive or were we responding to the public who did not want criminals in their neighborhoods and in the streets?

Are there indeed two sides (mass incarceration and public safety) to this criminal justice issue?

In a more intense sense, there is a reason why ISIS is so evil, so angry and so violent? Is there a side to their story we should try to comprehend? Yes. At the same time, we need to respond to their attacks on soft targets in the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. We have our side of the story as well.

Almost DailyBrett knows instinctively that Donald Trump will soon and thankfully fade from the airwaves and digital screens. The ensuring period of global Schadenfreude will pass as well.

Will we reach a point in which we respect there really are two sides to virtually every story? When and if we do, we will become a much more civil society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/us/politics/15powell.html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091402738.html

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

 

 

“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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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