Tag Archive: Thomas Jefferson


“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.” – President Donald Trump interview With the New York Times

Is there a difference between Journalism as a profession, and Journalism as a business?

And when push comes to shove, which side wins?

According to research firm mediaQuant,  Trump received a record advertising equivalent of $4.96 billion in earned media coverage from legacy/digital pubs/networks during the course of his campaign compared to $3.24 billion for Hillary Clinton.

That’s a $1.72 billion delta in favor of Trump-the-entertainer-turned-president for those scoring at home.

Four years earlier, Barack Obama garnered $1.1 billion in advertising equivalent coverage even with the bully pulpit of the White House. His challenger Mitt Romney generated only $700 million in earned media.

Almost DailyBrett must humbly ask: Does the media have a vested interest in Trump’s presidency, even though the vast majority of reporters, editors, pundits and correspondents detest him?

 

The Journalism as a Profession crowd waxes nostalgic about the Jeffersonian quote: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

And yet Trump is catnip for reporters, editors, pundits and correspondents. They may grind their collective teeth, particularly because of his usurpation of Agenda Setting with his in-your-face comments, immediate rejoinders, and nocturnal tweets.

The Journalism as a Business side reflects the obvious fact that Disney runs ABC News; Comcast operates NBC and MSNBC; Viacom manages CBS; Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is the patriarch of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News; and CNN is the property of Time Warner.

These elite media are all run by publicly traded companies with corresponding fiduciary obligations to their shareholders: NASDAQ: CMCSA (NBC and MSNBC); NYSE: DIS (ABC), NASDAQ: FOXA (Fox News and Wall Street Journal); NYSE: NYT (New York Times); NYSE: TWX (CNN), and NASDAQ: VIAB (CBS).

Does the Trump outrage du jour feed a greater public interest in news and politics, thus driving up coverage, ratings, impressions and most of all, legal tender?

You bet ya.

Elite Media For Trump in 2020?

“So they (elite media) basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.” – Donald Trump in the same New York Times interview

The talking heads on Meet the Depressed, Deface the Nation, This Week, let alone the partisans on CNN and MSNBC, will categorically deny they have a vested financial interest in Donald Trump’s ascendancy.

Deep down they want to bring him down to a crashing end (similar to Nixon in 1974) and provide wall-to-wall interpretive coverage of the carnage.

The result 43 years ago was Gerald Ford. The outcome this year would be Mike Pence. The “Bleeds It Leads” culture can tolerate virtually anything, except boredom.

Donald Trump provides the legacy and digital media outlets with unprecedented 24-7-365 outrage.  They are pontificating, bloviating and expecting only the worst from the Donald. Consider the projection from the “economist” below:

“If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” – New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the day after Trump’s victory.

In 2017, the benchmark S&P 500 finished up 22.46 percent; The Dow Jones, increased 25.08 percent and the tech/life sciences NASDAQ advanced, 27.09 percent.

Want to take along Krugman to Vegas?

More to the point” Wanna bet that all publicly traded media companies, owning America’s elite media, also recorded positive years benefitting their shareholders?

To top it off, their respective corporate tax rates were reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent as of yesterday.

And best of all for elite media, there is little doubt that Trump will continue to be “good copy” for months and years to come.

Is Donald Trump the gift that keeps on giving?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trump-interview-mueller-russia-china-north-korea.html

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13896916/1/donald-trump-rode-5-billion-in-free-media-to-the-white-house.html

https://www.mediaquant.net/2016/11/a-media-post-mortem-on-the-2016-presidential-election/

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/28/2018-america-new-year-economy-everything-is-awesome-216159

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

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

“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?

trumpenemy1

 

 

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.

enemiesofthepeople

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?

trumpenemy

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

 

“Inspired by (Thomas) Jefferson, Americans expect higher education to boost the chances of disadvantaged people, but it seems to be failing in that task – and in some of the other jobs its customers want it to do.” – The Economist, Excellence v Equitythomasjefferson

“Higher education has two sets of customers: students and the government. Students want all sorts of things from it – to make friends, sharpen their minds and get away from home. But most of all they want it to improve their economic prospects – The Economist, Excellence v Equity

There goes that word again, “Customers.”

Does that mean that colleges and universities provide a vital service, and students and their families pay dearly (e.g., $1.2 trillion in cumulative student loan debt) for that end-product?

Wait a minute. Does that mean … (gasp) that students are our customers?

Let’s take that question a step further: Does the old adage the “customer” is always right apply on campus as well?

Gee, you could have fooled me … easily.

Lost count how many times being asked, if I work out at the college recreation center with … actual students (our customers)? The answer is … “yes.” Never really gave it a thought before, or pondered if this activity was even worthy of a question.

Some in the hallowed halls of academia may not want to hear this, but colleges and universities are in effect businesses providing services and deliverables to … customers, and that includes undergraduates.

Take Nordstrom as an example. The high-end department store chain is known for legendary customer service. The corporation employs skilled retail service professionals in suits, who are working the shoe department, and dressed to the nines saleswomen, who are serving customers at the cosmetics counter. Nordstrom includes spas and nice restaurants to make their lucrative customers feel as comfortable as possible.

A shopper looks over a shoe display as others walk past in the women's shoe department of the downtown Seattle Nordstrom store, Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Nordstrom Inc. releases first-quarter earnings. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A shopper looks over a shoe display as others walk past in the women’s shoe department of the downtown Seattle Nordstrom store, Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Nordstrom Inc. releases first-quarter earnings. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Need to return a purchase? Absolutely no problem whatsoever.

In direct contrast to Nordstrom, the best-and-the brightest are NOT on the front lines teaching undergraduates.

And who is teaching the vast majority of undergraduates? Tenured professors?

Are you serious?

The answer more times than not is “non-tenure track” instructors for low pay on short contracts.

What this means is that students through loans and/or families digging ever deeper into their wallets are paying top dollar for their children to be taught mostly by the “jayvee team.”

Before you write a snarky response, please understand that the author of Almost DailyBrett served as a lowly paid, on-contract graduate teaching fellow or non-tenured instructor for almost three years. As such, your author knows first-hand that these instructors are doing their level best to carry the load.

God bless each and every one of them.

Forschung Über Alles?

“The call for effectiveness in the use of resources will be perceived by many inside the university world as the best current definition of evil.” – Former President of the University of California Clark Kerr

(Universities) “have the characteristics of a workers co-op. They expand slowly, they are not especially focused on those they serve, and they run for the comfort of the faculty.” – Former Harvard President Larry SummersSummers

And who do universities serve, Mr. Summers?

The answer points to those who require research (die Forschung) and education (die Bildung) in that order. As the stately The Economist declared point-blank: “Universities are paid on the basis of research (excellence), not educational, output (equity).”

Last year, 19-of-the-top 20 global entities that produced the most cited research papers came from American universities. As a world we are better for this as a large percentage of the breakthroughs in software and hardware technology, medical science, biotechnology, business systems and digital native communications come from ideas explored and nurtured on college and university campuses.

The Economist reported that since tenured faculty are promoted and paid on the basis on their research, there is pressure for them to curtail, if not give up teaching. And that leaves teaching to the jayvee team.teachingassistant

Yes, it is true that a college undergraduate degree produces on the average a 15 percent rate of return. Those with B.A. degrees earn on average, $68,000 per year; those with A.A. degrees, $48,000 per anum; and high school degrees, $38,000. These monetary gulfs are magnified when multiplied by 40-year careers and the fact that college graduates have discretionary income to invest in bullish markets.

The rate of return is there, but are undergraduates — our customers — receiving the best education possible for them to prosper in a professional environment and effectively compete, if more often than not, they are being taught by contract instructors and teaching assistants?

Is this right?

Is this the best way to run a business?

Is this the best way to serve your customers?

Nordstrom would probably emphatically disagree with this approach. Almost DailyBrett wonders out loud whether the educational establishment is content with the status quo. By all indications there is no inclination to rock the proverbial boat, even on behalf of customers, the majority of whom happen to be undergraduates.

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21646985-american-model-higher-education-spreading-it-good-producing-excellence

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/03/10/the-average-student-debt-load-in-d-c-is-a-whopping-40885/

http://larrysummers.com/press-contacts/biography/

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

 

 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – President Ronald Reagan

mountrushmore

Let’s imagine for a nanosecond or two the new Republican Congress and the Democratic President actually decide to embark on a genuine new era of bipartisan cooperation.

We are not talking about mere words that are quickly discarded, but actual deeds. These would be actions that could restore the tattered faith of the American people with those of infinite wisdom that reside and work within the contours of the Beltway.

Here’s an idea for a tangible-and-impressive undertaking, sending an unmistakable signal that a new spirit has arrived in Washington, D.C: Use the backdrop of the 2015 non-election year to pass and sign legislation to add 60-foot-tall likenesses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan to Mount Rushmore.

The new lineup: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – six consequential presidents who each earned and achieved the Mount Rushmore mantle of greatness.

FDRmedia

Would it be an easy vote for a GOP Congress to pass legislation to memorialize in granite the architect of the New Deal, the leader of the nation’s war effort against the Axis Powers, and the nation’s longest serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Absolutely not.

And likewise, would it take courage for President Barack Obama to resist the easily agitated progressive wing of his party to construct an iconic symbol of the man who restored national faith and took the critical steps to defeat Soviet-style Communism, Ronald Reagan? Yes, indeed.

That’s exactly the point here. Passing and signing this legislation to place Democratic and Republican icons side-by-side on Mount Rushmore will be extremely difficult, but don’t we as Americans specialize in monumental achievements (pardon the pun)?

Why FDR and Reagan for Rushmore?

Next year, it will be 74 years since the work was completed on the fourth and final face on Mount Rushmore: Teddy Roosevelt. The construction, which took 14 years to complete, was to salute the president who represented the birth of a new nation (Washington); one that spurred the growth of the new country (Jefferson); the one who saved the union and abolished slavery (Lincoln); and finally the president who founded the conservation movement and guided America into its role as an international power (T. Roosevelt).

The achievements of FDR and Ronald Reagan rise to the level of enshrinement on Mount Rushmore. Almost DailyBrett is not equating Franklin Delano Roosevelt with George Washington or Ronald Reagan with Abraham Lincoln. That’s not the point in any event.

What is germane is that both of these presidents came to the White House at times when the country was suffering a crisis of confidence: Roosevelt during the Great Depression; Reagan during the Great Inflation. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan were the evil adversaries during FDR’s time. Reagan was pitted against the Great Inflation and the godless and expansionist Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

reaganatthewall

Historians with their usual histrionics will always debate the merits of FDR and Reagan, but what is indisputable was that America recovered from the Great Depression and the Great Inflation, and nationalistic Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were all defeated. The conclusion: both FDR and Reagan were two of our nation’s greatest presidents.

Should Others Be Considered?

Harry Truman certainly is being treated well in the history books (he is more popular with historians than he was with the American people when he left office in 1953), but “Give Em Hell Harry” doesn’t rise to Rushmore immortality.

Dwight Eisenhower was a great commander of the Allied Forces in World War II, and he was an extremely popular president. Alas, there are more reasons to put Ike on Rushmore as a commander rather than a commander-in-chief.

John F. Kennedy tragically did not serve long enough in office to earn Rushmore enshrinement. LBJ was driven from office because of the Vietnam quagmire, and Richard Nixon was disgraced by Watergate. Gerald Ford? Historical accident. Jimmy Carter for Rushmore? Please.

The modern presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all fall way short of the standard for carving their likenesses into Mount Rushmore, which leaves FDR and Reagan.

This is not to suggest that FDR (Iron Curtain falling on Eastern Europe) and Reagan (Iran-Contra) were perfect presidents, and quite frankly, that is not the deciding factor. There is no doubt that FDR and Reagan were charismatic, leaders, who presided over consequential presidencies with real achievements that will stand the test of time.

Will the power brokers in Washington, D.C. take this monumental step to add the likenesses of FDR and Reagan to Mount Rushmore? Probably not. Nonetheless, the decision is warranted by history and it would be an even-more important signal that gridlock is not the only tangible outcome in our nation’s capital.

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

http://www.jeanpatrick.com/mount_rushmore_faqs.htm

http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

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

 

 

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”  — General George S. Patton.

“…Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Neither General George nor President Thomas could conceive of fiber-optic cable. Breaking the German siege of Bastogne would have been so much easier with Internet telephony. Imagine Thomas Jefferson tweeting about the Declaration of Independence and then letting all of his friends know about it on Facebook?

The Economist’s http://www.economist.com/  special report on Social Networking offers some staggering numbers. Facebook www.facebook.com has 350 million users, making it the third largest “nation” in the world after China and India. That’s pretty impressive for a firm that was created in a Harvard dorm room by Mark Zuckerberg in 2003. Sorry Thomas, the Facebook nation is even bigger than the one that you and an earlier George W. founded.

There is more, much more. Facebook, the world’s second most accessed URL after Google, is updated 55 million times daily and 3.5 pieces of content are shared among the users each week. Facebook is bigger than any television network on the planet. The tremendous growth of Facebook, Twitter www.twitter.com, LinkedIn.com www.linkedin.com validates the “network effect,” meaning that the value of a communications network rises exponentially with the number of connected users.

Does that mean the hot social media site of today will be the hot social media site of tomorrow? Ask MySpace, which saw its share of the US social media market plummet from 67 percent to 30 percent in just one year. The innovators will keep innovating and those on top should never be comfortable. The winners of tomorrow may not even be born today.

What does the growth of conversational marketing via social media mean to professional communicators? One thing is certain is that we have to compete in this digital marketplace of ideas. Suppression of competing thoughts and ideas as difficult as it was in the past is just impossible now.

China may temporarily block this social media site or that social media outlet, but pretty soon the math gets out of control. Let’s see: 1.2 billion people, millions of PCs, thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable and oodles of ideas, ideas and even more ideas.

As Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the “Dead Pool” said, “Opinions are like (fill in the blank). Everyone has one.”

As professional communicators, we need to use our diplomacy and tact to deliver an important message to management: We aren’t just competing to make the sale, attract investors, hire the best and the brightest, we are in an eternal public relations tug-of-war made both easier and more difficult by ubiquitous uploading of information via digital technology. Just as social media with its ones and zeroes can make it easier to reach literally millions of users instantaneously, these same tools can be harnessed by competitors to “deposition” your company, your NGO, your educational institution, your government entity.

As we set out to compete, we need to realize that getting unanimous agreement for the product, concept or idea that we are peddling is not possible (save Steve Jobs and the iPad). Instead, we need to employ our skills and wits to develop winning strategies, bringing a critical mass behind our noble cause.

What did General Patton say about letting the other guy die for his country?

%d bloggers like this: