Tag Archive: ” Tom Bradley


I’m not anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back.” – Washington Post Columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

“I am dismayed. I can’t understand any reluctance, black or white, to respond to someone like Louis Farrakhan. He has shown the world that he is an international ambassador of hate.” – Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Rabbi Hier expressed his puzzlement about the lack of sustained outrage against Farrakhan to the Washington Post in … 1985.

Fast forward more than three decades and we find:

Anti-Semitism is back. The caring, caressing and cuddling of Louis Farrakhan is still with us.

The list of public officials and leaders rationalizing and apologizing for Farrakhan mirrors his long list of anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.

The litany of anti-Semitic remarks made by the 85-year-old Farrakhan stretches back for decades, including Judaism is a “gutter religion,” Hitler was “wickedly great,” the world is “infected” by “Satanic Jews,” and Israelis had advance knowledge of September 11.

Why is Almost DailyBrett bringing up this seemingly old news, now?

Some  — not all — of the organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere steadfastly refuse to publicly condemn the continuous, never-ending stream of vile, anti-Semitic remarks emanating from Farrakhan.

At least one organizer goes as far as awarding a new acronym for Farrakhan … Greatest of All Time or GOAT.

Even as Farrakhan grows older, his gruesome act continues to be tolerated with a long list of excuses, rationalizations and “what-aboutisms” to deflect attention away Farrakhan’s message of hate.

Disinviting Farrakhan To California

Can you imagine the governor calling me a bigot? Mr. Deukmejian, I hope you are not as ill-informed about state matters as you are about me. We need a new governor, maybe Tom Bradley.” – Louis Farrakhan

Reading about Farrakhan’s undeniable impact on the Women’s March, Almost DailyBrett was brought back in time to the Nation of Islam leader’s speech at the “Fabulous Forum” in Los Angeles, Saturday, September 14, 1985.

My boss and California’s Governor George Deukmejian with a demonstrated strong record on human rights publicly disinvited Farrakhan on behalf of the people of the Golden State, and called upon others to do the same.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley dithered. Did he not want to upset African Americans? He certainly drew the ire of the Westside Los Angeles Jewish community. Ostensibly, the mayor was working “behind the scenes” to moderate Farrakhan’s message.

Nice try.

After his angry speech, Farrakhan asked why Deukmejian was criticizing him instead of worrying about the problems of a state “filled with homosexuals and degenerates.”

Appeasing Farrakhan Then and Now

What is it with decades-long appeasement of Farrakhan?

Here’s the lead of Judith Cummings New York Times coverage of Farrakhan’s 1985 speech:

“The cars parked at the Forum sports arena, Chevrolets and Toyotas, Mercedes-Benzes and BMW’s, family sedans and clunkers, represented the whole spectrum of southern California incomes and lifestyles. They were driven by people who turned out Saturday night to hear a speech by Louis Farrakhan, the leader of a Black Muslim sect.”

The types of cars parked in the Forum parking lot earned … top billing? Seriously? Farrakhan’s previous denunciation of Judaism appeared in paragraph six.

Just this week, Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory repeatedly refused to condemn Farrakhan’s message under repeated pressure from Meghan McCain on The View.

Looking back, Almost DailyBrett is proud of Governor George Deukmejian for having the courage to disinvite Farrakhan to California, and yes condemn his message.

The question still remains to this day: Why are way too many in the public arena appeasing Farrakhan, and refusing to condemn his anti-Semitic and homophobic message of hate?

Will we ever learn?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/will-jewish-women-attend-the-womens-march-amid-allegations-of-anti-semitism/2019/01/15/54bd5ee0-15c7-11e9-b6ad-

https://insider.foxnews.com/2019/01/16/democrats-louis-farrakhan-problem-anti-semitic-preacher-hugs-maxine-waters-five-reacts

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/the-view-grills-womens-march-co-founder-tamika-mallory-over-ties-to-louis-farrakhan-why-call-him-the-greatest-of-all-time

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/minister-louis-farrakhan-in-his-own-words

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/chelsea-clinton-slams-farrakhan-for-comparing-jews-to-termites-1.6572123

https://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/29/us/tape-contradicts-disavowalof-gutter-religion-attack.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1984/04/12/second-farrakhan-controversy-caused-by-calling-hitler-great/b3b4ed46-8263-4875-a793-5789a29f74ab/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6c69819dc1bf

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1985/09/15/Mayor-Tom-Bradley-Sunday-condemned-a-speech-by-Black/3161495604800/

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-13/local/me-22471_1_local-black-leaders

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-17/local/me-20160_1_black-people

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1985/09/11/planned-speech-by-farrakhan-proves-divisive-in-los-angeles/33280835-992b-4bed-8db4-5b1e69a14e83/?utm_term=.aa920528fe67

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/09/16/us/diverse-crowd-hears-farrakhan-in-los-angeles.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00J1kJE2M6g

 

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

Polls are much better as explainers than as predictors.” – Barry Sussman, Washington Post

We lost California before we won it.

Mervin Field of KCBS and Steven Teichner of KABC, both in Los Angeles, proudly projected at 8:01 pm (PST) on November 2, 1982 that LA Mayor Tom Bradley had just been elected governor based upon their scientific calibration of voters leaving polling places at carefully selected precincts statewide.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, serving as the press director for the rival gubernatorial campaign of then-Attorney General George Deukmejian, it appeared there was going to be a bitter personal pill to swallow. Unemployment was just over the horizon.deukmejianbradley

As a 27-years-young PR practitioner, instinctively I knew my job was to stay positive in the face of crushing news as I was surrounded by swirling pack of vulture reporters on the floor of the Century Plaza Hotel. Meanwhile, Field was on television declaring Bradley’s historic election as the first black governor of California. There was only one problem for the creator of the California poll, my boss Deukmejian was maintaining a comfortable lead.

Yours truly verbally hung onto this lifeline as the night went on.

At approximately 11 pm (PST), ABC News out of New York proclaimed Deukmejian the winner, contradicting Teichner’s projection three hours earlier. Yours truly asked Chuck Henry of KABC, reporting from the floor of the Century Plaza ballroom, WTF was going on.

He didn’t know.

Two hours later, NBC News from Rockefeller Center projected my boss the victor. CBS News in Manhattan completed the trifecta at 5 am (PDT), ending a really bad night for Mervin Field. A bitter Tom Bradley never conceded. George Deukmejian was elected the 35th governor of California by a margin of 106,000 votes out of 7.8 million cast.

What the late-Mervin Field and Steven Teichner missed was the massive distribution of absentee voter applications to high-propensity voters in Orange County and Long Beach by our campaign. For obvious competitive reasons, we did not telegraph this now-accepted campaign practice. How could Field and Teichner reflect these voters, if they never showed up at polling places?

It’s certainly neither the first time political experts have called an election wrong nor will it be the last time.

Missing a Landslide?

“President Dewey warned me not to get overconfident.” – Ronald Reagan

The experts said it was close, but the voters – stubbornly irreverent as usual – made it a landslide. What happened?” – Robert Kaiser, Washington Posttruman

The photo of a beaming Harry Truman holding aloft an early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the banner headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman” is now an eternal part of electoral lore.

Clearly, the pundits got it wrong in 1948. Thomas Dewey never became president of the United States. Certainly, this is the only time the political class got it wrong?

Certainly not.

The pollsters in their infinite wisdom kept telling the American people the 1980 race between President Jimmy Carter and Governor Ronald Reagan was too close to call. Amazingly, two days before the decisive election the Washington Post and Gallup polls reflected Carter leads of 4 and 3 percent respectively.

reaganpollsThe pundits immediately dismissed the polling conducted by Richard Wirthlin and Robert Teeter, citing their obvious bias because they worked for Reagan. As it turns out they saw the landslide that the media pollsters couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal.

From “too close to call,” the race shifted in epic proportions with Reagan ultimately winning the electoral college, 489-49; the popular vote, 50 percent to 41.0 percent; 43.6 million votes to 35.5 million; 44 states to 6 + DC for Carter.reaganlandslide

So what does this all mean as we head into the caucuses and primaries, starting next week?

It’s Down to Clinton vs. Bush: A Battle of Political Dynasties

Remember being told just that repeatedly by the political class: It will be Hillary vs. Jeb in November, 2016

It was inevitable these two familial standard bearers would clash this fall.

Donald who? Bernie who? Cruz who? Marco who?

Let’s see, we have been told that Hillary’s nomination, if not election, was inevitable.

And then there was a Trump surge. Has Trump peaked?

It’s Trump’s race to lose.

It will be decided between Trump and Ted Cruz (What happened to Bush?)

Sanders will win New Hampshire and lose Iowa.

Wait! Sanders may actually win Iowa or at least place well.

Hillary has a firewall in the South …

All of these pronouncements are based in part on traditional polling, based on the laws of mathematics. Let’s see: randomly sampled and selected, neutral questions, 1,000 nationwide respondents, within an acceptable margin of error of 3-4 percent, 95 percent of the time.

The other part of the equation are reporters tweeting each other, bouncing their “theories” off each other (e.g., The Boys and Girls of the Bus), and then colluding to make pious pronouncements.votersNH

But waiting at the lunch counters, the factory gates, the town halls, the bowling alleys, the bars, the PTA meetings are the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The best and the brightest – The Experts — at their second screens may make the pronouncements, but the fickle voters will make the actual decisions.

And who should we listen to?

Almost DailyBrett Note: Very few things in life have a heightened impact on your author’s blood pressure than references to the so-called “Bradley Effect, ” a hidden anti-black bias by the voters. This sentiment does not take account that Bradley stopped campaigning about 10 days before the election, leaving only one campaign for scribes to cover, our campaign. This ill-fated decision was a critical mistake in a razor-thin election. We also directed absentee votes to our high propensity voters as noted above … and (now California Governor) Jerry Brown lost to Pete Wilson by a half-million votes that very same day. Bradley fared better with the voters than Brown. Simply said, it was not a good night for Democrats.

So much for the Bradley effect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervin_Field

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-mervin-field-20150608-story.html#page=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_gubernatorial_election,_1982

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Sussman

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/441/prejudice-campaign.html

 

 

 

 

As a member of the California Governor’s Press Office team, all I wanted was a good wire-service photo, just one-awesome still … and okay maybe some video too.

And that photo and related earned-media would capture/cover Governor Duke and Mrs. Duke greeting the Prince of Wales and the Princess at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, B.C.diananews

Guess the best-laid plans of PR dudes/dudettes and mice often go astray …

… or to be more precise, fainted on the floor of the California Pavilion.

Princess Diana, the ever-telegenic Princess of Wales, ended up lying unconscious on the floor of our pavilion in front of dozens of American, Canadien and always charming Fleet Street reporters and photographers about 50-feet away from my loafers.

Say “goodbye” to one great photo; enter an international crisis communications incident relating to probably the most famous celebrity on the planet at the time in about four nanoseconds.

Out Cold on The Floor of the California Pavilion

“She (Princess Diana) was walking along and had gotten to the bicycle exhibit. It appeared to me that she moved closer to her husband (Prince Camilla Parker Bowles) and sort of tapped him on the arm and was beginning to say something when she fainted – very gracefully.” – California Governor George Deukmejian

It was an unusually warm day in early May in Vancouver, B.C. The Pacific Northwest is considered to be situated a temperate-maritime climate (read: clouds and rain), but on this day El Sol was high in the sky and the temps were mucho calor.

The British media described the Royals May 6 schedule as “heavy and relentless” including stops at the Saudi Arabian, Russian, British, American and the California pavilions. They even labeled our pavilion as “stuffy” even though “The Californias” was largely designed by Disney.

Prince Charlie and Lady Di were at the height of their global celebrity, five years after their supposedly fairytale wedding ceremony. Literally thousands of gawkers were lined-up outside for a mere glimpse of the royals.

The photographers were particularly out in force, including undoubtedly some of the same Paparazzi types that later contributed to Princess Diana’s ultimate demise in 1997.

As it turns out, the geography of Expo ’86 grounds and its dozens of pavilions mandated that the California pavilion was last on the royal couple’s exhausting schedule. That’s where Governor Deukmejian, Gloria Deukmejian, Chief of Staff Steve Merksamer and the author of Almost DailyBrett waited.georgegloria

Another factor that contributed to my desire for a super photo of the Duke and the Prince/Princess was that 1986 was a gubernatorial election year in the Golden State. We were running way in front of our two-time challenger, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, but nonetheless we were following the George Deukmejian Laws of Politics:

  1. Take Nothing for Granted;
  2. Always Run As If You Are Running Behind

Even though Expo ’86 was not a campaign event and easily qualified as official gubernatorial business promoting California as superb vacation destination, there was no denying the political implications in the traditional blue state.

Was The Princess in “Delicate” Condition?

“We have certainly heard nothing about her being pregnant though I am sure she will be given a check-up by her doctors when she returns home just to make sure.” — Vic Chapman, Buckingham Palace press secretary

Once the princess slumped to the floor of our pavilion, the Royal Family folks summoned the doctor and his ammonia inhalants. The media were immediately ushered outside among the throngs. The governor, Mrs. Deukmejian, Steve Merksamer and yours truly were moved into a holding room.

We were just in the process of being debriefed by the governor, when a Buckingham Palace type entered and announced that the Prince of Wales wished to continue the tour sans his fainted spouse … and you wonder why the marriage went kaputt 10 years later?

The governor expressed his concern to Charlie Prince of Wales, who gave him a look that translated, “This woman is embarrassing me again.” It was time to get back to the tour, which was cut short the moment Diana was revived.

Outside Buckingham Palace press secretary Vic Chapman was fending off the Fleet Street piranha inquiring whether the Princess was preggers. He insisted that was indeed not the case, which spurred further questions including: “How would you Mr. XY Chromosomes know?”

Just as the good government is good politics, it is also sound expedient politics to simply show compassion to someone, who seemed to break under the heat and the pressure. I was proud of my boss: California’s Governor George Deukmejian.

Alas I can’t say the same for Prince Charlie, who was personally mortified and was seemingly unconcerned about his spouse.

He  ultimately opted for ground beef (e.g., Camilla) as opposed to filet mignon (e.g., Diana).

It is still troubling nearly 30 years later to reflect on Diana prone on the floor of the California pavilion; it is far worse to contemplate her fatal car crash as she was chased by the Paparazzi.

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

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-05-07/news/mn-3572_1_princess-diana

http://articles.philly.com/1986-05-07/news/26051483_1_diana-princess-royal-visit-charles-and-diana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana,_Princess_of_Wales

 

“…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

I didn’t give a particle about Hopalong Cassidy in 1976…

…and I really don’t care much about the fictional Old West shoot-em-up character now.

hopalong

My Journalism 101 assignment was laid out in a poorly mimeographed piece of parchment paper: Write a dreaded obit about the late-William Lawrence Boyd (1895-1972) and entice people to care about the star of more than 60 “Hoppy” films, who died with his boots on.

There was no passion, no emotion, just a piece of paper about someone who did not touch my life, and never would. I was also a college sophomore at the University of Southern California. The results of my “effort” were predictable as in predictably lousy.

As a result of this assignment and others, I earned a big fat and well-deserved “C” in the class. What was worse was the professor (who will go nameless to protect the guilty) pulled me aside and strongly suggested that I consider another career.

That was 35 years ago.

Fortunately, the next semester saved my major in Broadcasting Journalism and launched my career. I enrolled in Reporting Public Affairs with Joel Kotkin, who at the time had put his degree at UC Berkeley five years into his rear-view mirror and was the West Coast correspondent for the Washington Post.

kotkin

The year was now 1977, and there was a mayoral election in Los Angeles. Each student was assigned a candidate and a campaign. The candidates were the incumbent Tom Bradley, former California State Senator Alan Robbins and Howard Jarvis, who authored the landmark property tax-reduction initiative, Proposition 13, the following year. My assignment was to follow Robbins, who eventually lost the election and later spent a long time in a very bad place.

Robbins campaigned heavily on the Jewish West Side of Los Angeles and a young college kid followed him, and learned everything he could about his campaign. This particular USC student was a political animal and loved writing and reporting. Some were questioning Robbins’ Jewishness, prompting a heckler to yell out in a temple that “Alan Robbins is a goy.” Robbins snapped back, “Alan Robbins is not a goy.” This was full-contact politics on vivid display and I eagerly engulfed myself in this story.

I received an “A” in “Reporting Public Affairs” and my career was upwards to the right. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Professor Kotkin, who is now a fellow at Chapman College, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and others, and the author of “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.”

The reason why I am tapping back into history now is that I have taken up the Kotkin role, not his encyclopedic command of American political, geographical and demographic trends (I am not worthy), but his dedication to teaching students…and in at least one particular case giving a student a much-needed second chance.

Today I am a graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Hopefully in a year, I will be teaching strategic communications, social media, financial communications and media/analyst/employee relations to upper division students.

I need to keep in mind that a professor can cripple through her or his words the dreams of students. Suggesting out loud to someone who has the talent and skill sets to succeed in a given profession that they should look elsewhere is not helpful and may be even unethical. That’s exactly what happened to me.

Please don’t get me wrong. Tenured professors, associate professors, assistant professors, adjunct instructors and even lowly graduate teaching fellows are not there to be a buddy or a pal to college students. We are not there to be the university version of dandelion dads and marshmallow moms. The work world is hopefully over the horizon for these students and a boss or heaven forbid, a bosshole, can be worse, much worse than any professor.

Colleges and universities are the ultimate start-up. Students have dreams and aspirations. Not all classes are a perfect fit…certainly Journalism 101 with its lame Hopalong Cassidy obit exercise was not a good fit for me. Having said that, my lack of performance in that particular introductory class did not justify being told to choose another profession, such as selling insurance.

Words can be like daggers, particularly coming from a professor with an advanced degree or more. Sticks and stones may break my bones and words will never hurt me, which is true in most cases. At the same time, these ultra-critical words have major impact on impressionable young students trying to embark on a career path. Let’s offer constructive criticism where it is warranted, but more importantly let’s propel these students into the stratosphere so they can pursue their dreams and be everything they want to be.

http://www.hopalong.com/home.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Boyd_(actor)

http://www.joelkotkin.com/

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

http://www.joelkotkin.com/content/004-biography

http://www.joincalifornia.com/candidate/5796

The conventional wisdom is the media seizes on bad news, much like sharks thrashing to the scent of blood in the water, and virtually ignores good news.

But what if GOOD news happens to individuals and affiliations NOT in accord with the prevailing philosophy of the media? Think of it this way: If a tree falls in a forest, does it make any sound?

And if BAD news happens to individuals and affiliations IN accord with the prevailing philosophy of the media? Hmmm…does the tree metaphor still apply?

What am I babbling about?

What if Standard & Poors Corp., Moody’s Investor Service or Fitch Investors Service, Inc., (or any combination thereof) choose to withstand the intense behind-the-scenes lobbying from the White House and/or Treasury and actually downgrades federal debt from its hallowed Triple A bond rating?

Will the media cover the story? Sure.

Will the media bludgeon the president and Treasury? Not so sure.

That means the bad news/good news tendencies of the media don’t always apply.

If the downgrade does occur, you can be certain that Mitt Romney, Rick Perry (assuming the Texas Governor chooses to run) and presumably other Republican contenders will use this subject in political “comparison” ads. The question remains how will the media view these ads? Will they rally around President Obama?

Alas, this subject is not new to me. I was still-green-behind-the-ears as an assistant press secretary when California first lost its vaunted Triple A credit rating in 1983. The resulting media coverage was in a word: explosive.

And when California regained its best-possible credit rating three years later, the coverage from the exalted members of the Fourth Estate was almost non-existent.

Will that be the case this time around if the US loses its Triple A credit rating a little more than 12 months before President Barack Obama goes before the voters?

Not necessarily.

Naturally, there is a difference between Washington D.C., the Citadel of Infinite Wisdom, and California, a mere state.

There is also a difference between a Republican governor, a Democratic president and the treatment of the two by the political media, especially the elites.

As a rookie press assistant back in 1983, I found out all about Moody’s, Standard & Poors and Fitch’s ratings on the credit worthiness of California debt. It’s analogous to credit ratings for individuals.

California had a new governor, my boss George Deukmejian. He inherited a $1.5 billion deficit (almost sounds quaint by today’s standards), a post-recessionary economy and Democrats dominating Sacramento.

And then came the thud of the credit downgrade. Screaming headlines and editorials demanded a tax increase making the government bigger, to restore California’s Triple A bond rating. The governor refused, used his veto pen, and insisted on a $1 billion reserve for emergencies.

The Triple A bond rating was restored three years later, but it was a non-event for California’s political media, the very same crowd that was attempting to dance on the governor’s political grave upon the downgrade just 36 months or so earlier.

One Democrat in particular noted the glaring discrepancy in the coverage, California state Treasurer at the time, Jess “Big Daddy” Unruh. It was also no secret of the animosity between Unruh and the Democratic nominee for Governor, LA Mayor Tom Bradley. Unruh sent the signal that he was open to a bipartisan media gathering celebrating California’s return to a Triple A bond rating.

And on July 30, 1986 there was an extraordinary news conference in the state Capitol with Republican Governor Deukmejian standing beside Democratic Treasurer (and former Speaker of the Assembly) Unruh extolling the return of California’s Triple A bond rating. They also reminded the media of the discrepancy in attention between when California lost the highest bond rating in 1983 and the dearth of coverage three years later.

After Unruh praised California’s “fine” governor, he was asked who he was supporting for California’s top job. He replied: “Who’s running?”

Certainly, no one should be rooting for the country to lose its Triple A bond rating for paper issued by the government. The result would be an international loss of prestige as well as taxpayers paying more for the government to float bonds to pay for its operations. And today, Fitch indicated that a downgrade may not be in the cards. However, Fitch made no long-term guarantees. And what about the other bond rating houses?

A downgrade between now and November 2012 could be politically devastating to the re-election prospects of Barack Obama . . . or maybe not. A lot depends on the media. After all, they set the agenda for how we think and act in America. Right? Err . . . Correct?

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

http://finance.toolbox.com/blogs/credit-eyes-thoughts/californias-credit-rating-four-decades-of-momentum-based-credit-analysis-43704

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-07-31/news/mn-20318_1_fiscal-health

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Fitch-US-Debt-deal-alone-wont-apf-48023357.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=&ccode=

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/08/fitch-reaffirms-us-triple-a-rating-after-debt-deal-approval.html

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/174943-geithner-congressional-spectacle-has-damaged-nations-reputation

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