Tag Archive: Washington Post

“I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works.”

“It’s not a mere threat, but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office.”

Almost DailyBrett quiz question: Which quote was uttered by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and which one was tweeted by Donald Trump?

Both quotes appear to be almost identical, except one obviously followed the other. Sounds like two testosterone-enhanced males comparing the size of their “buttons.” And what are the consequences of these intemperate remarks?

Does it really matter? Ask the Hawaiians.

Where and when did we hear the quote before: “This is not a drill”?

Hawaii has been infamously bombed before. Just yesterday, the entire State of Hawaii was contemplating nuclear annihilation, collectively kissing themselves good bye.

The “Oops” moment in the Aloha State capped a week filled with public discussion of sphincter-aperture countries, a potentially paid off porn actress, and even Oprah running for president.


And that is only for one week.

It used to be the four-letter, s-word was verboten on the pages of our family newspapers and by means of FCC regulations of our air waves. Now the word, shithole, is freakin’ everywhere.

The media, particularly the 24-7-365 talking heads on your affirmational media of choice (i.e., CNN, Fox News, MSNBC), are seizing upon each newest outrage.

Wasn’t “Sloppy” Steve Bannon, “out of his mind”?

Was that “Fire and Fury” last week or the week before? Hard to keep track.

One outrage begets the next outrage. Are we as a society becoming increasingly numb to non-stop outrage?

Is everything coming out of the White House an outrage, and then the knee-jerk media response to the outrage … or does it seem that way?

Four presidents (e.g., #41, #42, #43, #44) called for Jerusalem to be recognized as Israel’s capital. Trump did the same, and that constitutes an outrage. The unstable Middle East will become more … unstable. Outrageous.

Is the media obligated to bloviate about every outage? And when they do, is the result more outrage following outrage?

How do we turn down the temperature as a society?

Does the media want to turn down the thermostat when glaring headlines are good for ratings and readership?

Media Treatment of Black and Brown Countries

“If the earth had an anus, it would be located in Yemen.” – Best Selling author Nelson DeMille, The Panther.

“In the storm of mainstream anger, it is hypocritical of the media to fail to reckon with and correct its own practices of reporting on black and brown countries and how this coverage affects perceptions about very real people.”—Karen Attiah, Washington Post Global Opinions editor

Is Trump saying out loud, what many people in-and-out of the media (not all, of course) have been thinking for years?

Karen Attiah in her piece in the Washington Post reminded the Fourth Estate that its ledger is not exactly clean, when it comes to derogatory characterizations about Third World locales.

And yet they are the first to yell and screen about Trump’s alleged “shithole country” remarks. How do we know these exact words were uttered? U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said they were genuine.

Does Senator Durbin have a competing political agenda? Does that matter?

Former George H.W. Bush was roundly criticized for being out of touch, when he was amazed that supermarkets used scanners at the checkout counter. He failed to secure re-election.

In contrast, Trump by contrast seemingly has something outrageous to say about every topic.

Will we all be exhausted by this never-ending stream of controversy by 2020?

Or will we accept that outrage du jour is the new norm in American life?

Does it have to be this way?





“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

When asked what sports historians would take away from his record (e.g., five home runs) performance in the 1977 World Series, Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson paused and humbly proclaimed: “The magnitude of me.”

What about the “magnitude” of former CBS anchor Dan Rather?

The question is particularly relevant today as former CBS anchor Dan Rather is attempting a relevancy comeback at 86-years-old.

With his new book, “What Unites Us, Reflections on Patriotism,” Rather appears to be trying to escape the embarrassing details of his bitter 2005 termination … err resignation.

More to Almost DailyBrett’s point: Should Rather be seen as The Father of Affirmational Journalism?

Affirmational Journalism? Do these two words constitute an oxymoron?

Affirmational Journalism (e.g., Rather) is the mirror opposite of Informational Journalism (e.g., Cronkite).

Under the tenets of Informational Journalism, a news outlet will sift through the relevant facts and information – including both sides of every story — and deduce a logical conclusion for readers or viewers to decide.

Is there any wonder that Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America in 1972?

The esteem for American Journalism peaked in 1976 at 72 percent (e.g., Gallup survey), shortly after Woodward and Bernstein’s Pulitzer Prize reporting and the demise of the Nixon administration. The same poll revealed that public trust for the media plummeted for four decades to 32 percent in 2016.

What happened to the days when the vital First Amendment mission of the media was to inform and enlighten?

Enter Rather as the successor to Cronkite in the CBS anchor chair in 1981. Shortly thereafter, the seeds of today’s Affirmational Journalism were planted.

Certainly, there were outlets in 1972 and beyond that editorially represented the left (e.g., New York Times) and the right (e.g., Wall Street Journal), but the news pages of these publications were essentially straight.

Rather: Keynoting the GOP National Convention?

“(Rather) stepped on his own dick.” – Ronald Reagan, 1988

Two celebrated incidents involving Republican presidents (not Democratic) clearly demonstrated how Rather’s aim was to “affirm” preset narratives, not to totally “inform:”

  1. His rudeness against then Vice President George H.W. Bush in a cataclysmic 1988 live interview, which included Bush reminding the world that Rather stormed off his set one year before, when a U.S. Open tennis match ran too long.
  2. Rather’s ill-fated 2004 60 Minutes piece (e.g., Rathergate), confusing the fonts of an IBM Selectric with those offered by Microsoft. The forged 1972 document reportedly proved that President George W. Bush received special treatment as a member of the National Guard. Alas for Rather, the letter was written with a Microsoft font.

Microsoft was not founded until 1975 – three years later. Oops.

Dan Rather was exposed for his eagerness and glee to accept any “fact” that fit a preordained narrative about George W. Bush and his National Guard service. More importantly, he and his producer, Mary Mapes, were terminated at CBS for practicing Affirmational Journalism, which sought out tidbits (e.g., the forged letter) that affirmed and fit the story and excluding those (e.g., Microsoft font) that did not.

Rather’s mission was to “affirm” through selective reporting the predisposed reigning political philosophy of elites residing east of the Hudson and within the confines of the Beltway:

Democrat John Kerry was good; Republican George W. Bush needed to be excused from office.

Today, the list of affirmational elite media on the left is long: New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC. The list of affirmational media on the right is shorter: Fox News.

Whether these major media outlets reside on the left or the right, their mission is to affirm, sustain and enhance entrenched narratives that advance a chosen political philosophy.

Is Dan Rather solely responsible for this movement toward affirming, whether through interpretation or presenting, preordained narratives? No. There are others.

Is he the poster child for affirmational journalism and with it a record 32 percent low in national esteem for the media? Almost DailyBrett is making that assertion.

Affirmational Journalism Schools?

As a college assistant professor in a school of communication, the author of Almost DailyBrett worries that future journalists will be trained to seek facts and figures that fit a preconceived narrative, and ignore those inconvenient points that potentially contradict the “story.”

Are the ends of supporting an adopted political philosophy more important than the means of not presenting both sides of a story? If that is indeed the case and we are no longer informing the public about the positions of both sides, can we call this behavior Journalism?

There are some of us who yearn for the better days of a free-and-fair media.  The Fourth Estate can potentially come back; just the same way Rather is trying to revive his tarnished reputation.

Can the media return to the days of Informational Journalism? Or is Affirmational Journalism here to stay, contributing to and hardening our divided society for years to come?

Maybe if the media moves to adopt the model of Walter Cronkite — not Dan Rather — we will all be better off as an American society.

We can only hope.







“If he (Trump) took a dump on his desk, you would defend it.” – CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewing Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord

Do you think Anderson Cooper has reached the point (and beyond) in which he can’t cover Donald Trump objectively and fairly let alone his network, CNN?

According to Harvard University, the answer following empirical research of media coverage by CNN and several other major outlets during the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency is a resounding, “no.”

Let’s pretend Donald Trump did something really good for the country … and didn’t nocturnally crow about it on Twitter?

Before answering this interrogative, let’s first pose a relevant side question: Who do reporters, editors, correspondents respect more than any other living creatures on this planet? The answer is other reporters, editors and correspondents.

Taking this essential and undeniable truth into account, Almost DailyBrett must ask:

Can a reporter — any reporter, editor or correspondent — outside of the friendly confines of Fox News – write or produce a totally objective piece about Trump without triggering the wrath and disdain of his or her precious media colleagues?

Would that journalist be willing to take the risk of enraging the pack mentality, and maybe even jeopardizing a career?

It appears to be seemingly impossible for a CNN or NBC reporter/correspondent in particular to provide positive coverage of Trump as evidenced by new data harvested by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Harvard reported that 93 percent of CNN and NBC’s first 100 days of Trump coverage have been overwhelmingly negative.

Seven percent of CNN and NBC Trump coverage has been positive? It doesn’t seem that high.

Right behind in the race to the bottom is CBS at 91 percent negative coverage, surprisedly beating even the New York Times with 87 percent and Washington Post with 83 percent respectively thumbs-down coverage of The Donald and his administration.

Conservative media outlets tilt to the negative on Trump, but they simply cannot compete with the Clinton News Network (CNN) or the networks of Meet the Depressed or Deface the Nation. The Wall Street Journal’s coverage is 70 percent to the negative, and even Fox News is 54/46 percent to the downside.

MSNBC was not even measured.

The only Trump story that was covered in a positive manner by the newsies was the launching of cruise missiles at poison-gas Syria with 80 percent of the media on the Trump side of the ledger. Guess the remaining 20 percent may be secretly siding with Bashar Assad or more likely … can’t bring themselves to say anything remotely positive about Trump.

As a result, Trump hates the media. The media hates Trump. And Sean Spicer was last seen in the bushes.

The Donald claims he is not being covered fairly compared to his predecessors. Conservative bastion Harvard backs up this contention. Barack Obama’s coverage during the first 100 days was 59 percent positive; George W. Bush’s was 43 percent affirmative; Bill Clinton’s was 40 percent positive … Donald Trump, 20 percent to the positive.

Is the media not-so-secretly rooting for Trump to be impeached, while trying to implicate Mike Pence as well? Consider the instant parallel to Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” with James Comey’s firing.

Almost DailyBrett always thought that a massacre required more than one person.

Below the Mendoza Line

The media feasts on Donald Trump’s record 54 percent negative approval rating. According to the same Real Clear Politics average, Trump has a 39.6 percent positive approval rating.

Gallup reported last fall the nation’s approval of the work provided by the media stands at only 32 percent or 8 percent behind Donald Trump.

The same polling firm reported that 72 percent of Americans approved and admired the media’s standing and coverage in 1976, right on the heels of the Watergate busting Pulitzer Prize work of Messrs. Woodward and Bernstein. Since that time, public approval of the media has dropped 40 percent in as many years.

Could it be, the media has become more partisan, more “interpretive” and less objective (i.e., CNN, NBC, CBS, NYT, WAPO)? Do the media feed our nation’s divisiveness? Do they regale in the internecine warfare and bickering, while being above it all?

What’s next: Streaming video of the 21st Century version of a fatal Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel with tisk-tisk anti-Second Amendment commentary by Rachel Maddow?

If the media was a stock with a 40 percent sustained decline during four decades – essentially down to the right – a wise investor would have dumped these shares a long time ago. Putting this metaphor aside, does it sound like the American public with only 32 percent support (e.g., 14 percent among Republicans) has rolled their eyes in unison and washed their collective hands of the media?

Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America in 1972 in an era when the media informed the public. Today, the likes of Maddow on MSNBC and Sean Hannity on Fox News essentially affirm philosophies of entrenched political populations segments. Ditto for social media.

Anderson Cooper’s disgusting metaphor about presidential defecation can be dismissed as an unprofessional verbal assault in the heat of battle. CNN’s and NBC’s 93 percent negative coverage of Trump and his administration points directly to the fact the newsies have reached a point they can no longer be fair and objective to the president.

And who are the ultimate losers?









For the first time in the planet’s history, women are poised to serve as heads of state for three-of-the-five largest economies of the world: Angela Merkel, Kanzerlin of Germany; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Hillary Clinton, President of the United States.hillarytheresaangela

And let’s not forget the head of the U.S. Bank is Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

It’s great news for women as yet more glass ceilings are finally being broken on both sides of the pond … but the question needs to be asked: What’s not-happening with far too many men?

Is the rising tide for women raising all boats? The answer is far too men are up a creek without a paddle or at least that would seem to be the case.

Do these men even care?

Should they care?

What’s to become of this now troubled gender demographic?

The author of Almost DailyBrett grew up during the Pleistocene fully anticipating that he would support his spouse and assist in the raising of a family.normanrockwell

As a GEICO ad suggests, “It’s what you do.”

Or should we now say, “It’s what many of us used to do?”

Columnist and über-brain George Will recently wrote about the “quiet catastrophe” of one-third of working-age American men who are by choice “economically inactive.” The vast majority of these underachievers are idly sitting around day-in and day-out watching a daily average of 5.5 hours of TV, playing video games, and checking out digitally streamed movies.

In the meantime, the so-called “little woman” is out there working not to just “Stand By Your Man” as Tammy Wynette would suggest, but to fully support her idle spouse and her family too.

Almost DailyBrett was downright surprised to hear about women justifiably complaining about being required to support not only their children, but their lay-about husbands/boyfriends as well. According to the OECD, the United States leads all industrialized nations in inactive 25-54 men with the exception of Italy (Le Dolce Vida).malevideogames

The official Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics first-Friday-of-the-month “jobs report” released for October 2016 reported a 4.9 percent unemployment rate, 4.6 percent for adult men and 4.3 percent for adult women.

These somewhat-positive numbers are unfortunately deceptive, unintentionally painting a rosier picture particularly for men. These results reflect only those who are actively participating in the labor force (e.g., employed, underemployed or out looking for a job) … and those numbers are declining.

Since 1948, the proportion of men 20-and-older without paid work has doubled to nearly 32 percent or one-out-of-every-three-working-age-males.

How many men aged 25-54 are not pounding the pavement? What’s their future? Are they merely running out the clock until the Grim Reaper arrives?

What’s on Netflix anyway?

“Economically Inactive”

“In America today, compared with 50 years ago, three times as many working-age men are completely outside the work force … Feeling superfluous is a blow to the human spirit. It leads to social isolation and emotional pain, and creates the conditions for negative emotions to take root.” — The Dalai Lama and Arthur C. Brooks

“Donald Trump is perhaps perverse evidence that some of his army of angry men are at least healthily unhappy about the loss of meaning, self-esteem and masculinity that is a consequence of chosen and protracted idleness.” – Washington Post Columnist George Will

Nicholas Eberstadt’s new monograph “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” points to Social Security Administration stats that revealed one disabled non-worker for every 134 workers in 1960. Fast forward five decades and the number falls to one disabled non-worker for every 16 workers in 2010.couch-potato

Worse, in just seven years the number of those on disability has risen from 7.4 million in 2009 to a record 8.9 million now, a 20 percent increase. As a result of government assistance and support by other family members (e.g., women), Eberstadt said these non-working men between 25-54 years of age “appear to be better off than tens of millions of other Americans today, including millions of single mothers who are either working or seeking work.”

Almost DailyBrett does not want to be charged with merely stating the problem without offering a solution. The first point in developing a strategy to entice these males to get off their derrieres lies with the fact that the world does not value brute strength, ignorance and testosterone as it once did. Get over it.

The second is the service-driven economy is technology driven. If women can learn software and hardware, so can men.

The third is that men have been known to be competitors. It’s time to take a step back … yes, a step back and pick up the skills they need to succeed in this changing world.

As a college professor, the author of Almost DailyBrett arrives each morning and is greeted by women majority classrooms. They have rightfully chosen to compete and engage in lifelong learning. There is no reason why men can’t pull themselves away from the TV or video game console and do the same.

It’s no longer a “Man’s World,” but that should not mean the Battle of the Sexes has been won by one side at the expense of the other.










“Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

Weren’t we all repeatedly told by mumsy to never discuss religion and politics in polite company?

Wouldn’t you expect this admonition to particularly apply to your dear friends and family?

And what are the impacts of these unwise political discussions on the most important public relations of all? Your own PR and personal brand.fbpolitics

Then why do far too many of us insist on bloviating and pontificating our unrestrained and unvarnished political views on Facebook, and other digitally eternal social media sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and others?

Don’t we have enough to do?

Before delving any further into this issue, Almost DailyBrett must pose the following rhetorical question: What are we expecting when we bombard our family and friends (or LinkedIn connections) with unrestrained political diatribe, regardless of whether it comes from the progressive left or the patriotic right?

Don’t the vast majority of our friends and family already know our political views? Don’t they harbor their own political opinions? Are they really persuadable at this point in time?clintontrumpdebate

For most Americans, you have to be living under a rock if you don’t have a well-formed and mostly unchanging opinion about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to the Real Clear Politics average, almost 59 percent of national poll respondents have a negative view of Hillary and nearly 62 percent are thumbs down on The Donald.

The political pros tell us these two are the most unpopular respective nominees in the long histories of the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a result, most of us have formed an unalterable opinion about both of these pols, and they are hardening, not softening … if that’s still possible.

If all the above is true, Almost DailyBrett must ask why do we bother offering our political views to people who we regard as friends and family? Do we enjoy making them react as if someone took their finger nails to a chalkboard?

Do we secretly enjoy being passive, aggressive?

Unfriending A “Friend” Because of Politics

Who is ultimately responsible for an unfriending decision because of political digital intercourse?

  1. The “friend” who frequently offers political opinions to one and all via a few digital key strokes with no consideration of how these comments are going to be construed.
  2. Or the “friend” who takes personal affront to repeated political commentary, more often than not, negative about the opposition, and angrily unfriends the so-called friend.buckleyquote

The late conservative commentator William F. Buckley is probably smiling from heaven as a result of the Pew Research Journalism Project, which revealed that liberals are more likely than their conservative counterparts to unfriend someone with contrary political views (e.g., conservatives).

However, the same study opined that conservatives are more likely to gravitate to their own kind online and have less exposure to competing points of view.

Which is better? How about none of the above?

If the Nielsen ratings folks are correct, the Monday, September 26 debate between Hillary and The Donald will be the most watched and streamed presidential debate in the history of the country, if not from a purely infotainment standpoint.

If that is indeed the case — and there is zero reason to suggest it won’t be — then why will we insist upon offering our biased opinion before-during-after this encounter to our friends and family via Facebook and other social media?

Weren’t they also watching the same feed and avoiding the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints?

Didn’t they already form an opinion about what they watched on their own and/or had their views reinforced by Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, Chris Matthews on MSNBC, George Stephanopoulos on ABC or David Axelrod on CNN?

Former football coach Lou Holtz once said: “If you can’t add value to silence, then shut up.”

Considering that minds have been made up and are unlikely to change … and we really respect and value our friends and family … wouldn’t it be best to refrain from offering our own version of political invective?

Silence can indeed be golden.






“Chelsea rationalizes this career promiscuity as a hallmark of being just another millennial, experimenting liberally until she figures out her professional purpose. But, of course, she’s not just another millennial. She’s political royalty.” – Danielle Sacks, Fast Company

“All I’m saying is that the idea that there’s one set of rules for us (The Clintons) and another set for everybody else is true.” – Former President William Jefferson Clintonchelseahillarybill

Chelsea is just old enough under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution to be president … 36 years. If elected, she would be the second woman and the first-millennial commander-in-chief.

She is the ultimate winner of the biological lottery: Her dad was president (#42), and her mother is just about to become president (#45). And Chelsea will be 44-years young in 2024 (#46?).

Chelsea would be the first-ever offspring of not one, but two presidents.

She went to all the right schools: Stanford, Columbia and Oxford.

She lives in a $10.3 million Manhattan apartment with her hedge-fund hubby, and is reportedly worth $15 million … not a bad start.

The First Daughter is the vice chair of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation. It’s a “charitable” foundation.

Earlier, Chelsea was a $600,000-per year, $1.55 million total, special correspondent (14 reports), for the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

“Checkbook Journalism” on steroids? You bet.

Brian Williams? Where did we hear that name before?chelseanbc4

We once contemplated the Kennedy clan with its Hyannis Port compound as America’s royal family, but alas only one family member was elected president.

And then there is the Bush family on the other side of the aisle with its Kennebunkport compound, which produced two family members as presidents.

With Chelsea, the Clintons can prove three is the charm … and who knows, maybe Chelsea’s offspring, Charlotte and Aiden, will get into some of the White House action (Presidents #50 and #51?).

Charitable Work?

“The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc. Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel, accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.” – Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

Krauthammer defined the phrase, “acceptable corruption,” which makes it easier for legions of Clinton apologists to yet again explain that one set of rules properly applies to the Clinton family, while everyone else has to follow the letter of the law.

Many rail about the privilege associated with the top 1 percent. With the Clintons we are talking about the 0.01 percent of the 1 percent.

ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS -- Pictured: (l-r) Brian Williams, Chelsea Clinton -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Williams, Chelsea Clinton — Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC

So how does Almost DailyBrett ponder the prospect of a second morally challenged Clinton presidency, let alone a third?

Rolling one’s eyes is a momentarily refreshing, but in the end, a minimal response.

Going through the Five-Stages of Grief is more therapeutic: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally, Acceptance. When it comes to the largesse of the Clintons and their elite media Praetorian guards, it is best to get to acceptance as quickly as possible.

It started with Bill. It moved next to Hillary. And eventually it will be Chelsea.

Wonder if Chelsea will have the same taste in Oval Office drapes as her mother?







“I did not defend Roger Ailes nor did I condemn him. I just stated what I knew or did not know. Period.” – Fox News host Greta Van Susteren

“Van Susteren was behaving just as the Roger Ailes Fox News would have her behave, as a loyal knee-jerker who gets out in front of the evidence.” – Erik Wemple, Washington Post media bloggergreta

What happens when you don’t do the bidding of elite media?

What happens when you don’t follow a bully’s pre-ordained script?

What happens when you stick to your guns?

The same thing when a small child doesn’t get his or her way.

Speaking about bullies, everyone knows that former Fox News boss Roger Ailes was tough, boorish and the evidence overwhelmingly points to, a big league sexual harasser as well.

He is now advising Donald Trump’s sinking campaign as it heads to the bottom of the political ocean.

Will Hillary score more than 300 or more than 400 electoral votes? Almost DailyBrett will take the over, thus completing as Charles Krauthammer calls it, “The Clinton Restoration.”

Back to Fox News:

Ailes became a juicy, meaty target for the media elites because of his biggest sin, breaking up the media cartel aligned with not a specific party, but a uniform left-of-center ideology. The masthead of the New York Times and the personas of Dan Rather and Brian Williams all serve as poster children for what the Washington Community wants the nation’s media to be.

Damn Fox News and its No. 1 cable news ratings.

One More Time …

“1/ I never heard of the sexual harassment allegations – no one ever came to me and said anything to me about it – not once;

“2/ I never saw it

“3/ It never happened to me


“4/ I said that Gretchen Carlson was unhappy when she was at Fox News (she told me that a few years back when we both happened to be in London covering the same story but never said it was sexual harassment.)

“What I said above was true when I said it …and it is true now.

“In the meantime, all sorts of motives and intentions have been assigned to me.

“I did not defend Roger Ailes nor did I condemn him. I just stated what I knew or did not know.  Period.”ailesgretchen

Lightning-rod personalities, such as Ailes, need to keep their noses clean and their zippers fastened. The alternative is akin to spreading blood in the water for the thrashing, gnashing carnivorous Schadenfreude-seeking media sharks.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson lost her show at the cable network. She later filed a sexual harassment suit against Ailes, and other women followed with their own legal actions. It was time for Ailes to go and Fox News is better for it.

Did the story end there? Of course not.

What did the major personalities at Fox News, particularly those of the feminine persuasion think of Ailes? Wemple said that Greta repeated her consistent assertion in her “fabulous” (Wemple sarcastic adjective) blog.

He then ripped her for repeating what she saw and experienced and what she did not see and experience, nothing more and nothing less.

But what happens when your recollections and statements do not jive with the pre-conceived elite media narrative?

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, trade association and corporate spokesman, who has probably been quoted in print and broadcast hundreds and hundreds of times, the author of Almost DailyBrett has been urged and coaxed by media types to agree and support a certain narrative, which makes for a better story. Sometimes they even ask questions with super-charged words, enticing you to repeat these words on-the-record.

The only problem with this approach is you don’t work for the media. You are obliged to tell the truth as you know it, not to make some reporter, editor, correspondent happy. And if you do not know the answer, you say exactly that.

Some reporters even threatened to ensure my boss, the governor of California, would not be re-elected … even after he was … re-elected in a landslide.

Greta’s consistent comments go against the media grain about Ailes, and quite frankly it pisses them off and some are throwing a fit.

Sorry the notion that everything left-of-center is good and all right-of-center is bad is too simplistic, and reality bites sometimes.

The media monopoly is permanently broken, and Ailes and by extension, Rupert Murdoch, will be forever vilified for that. Deep down inside that may be a bigger sin with the majority of the media than sexual harassment.











“To protect herself as president, and to protect her presidency, Clinton needs a Dr. No. That’s somebody more powerful than the smart loyalists she surrounds herself with, somebody with the stature to say: “Ma’am, you cannot do that.” – Bloomberg Columnist Al HuntDrNO

Whether or not Hillary Clinton is elected president in November will play out in the next four months. For now, Mr. Hunt may be getting a little ahead of himself.

And whether or not Hillary Clinton and by extension Bill Clinton (and of course, The Donald) needs a personal reputation “Dr. No” as Mr. Hunt suggests is beyond doubt.

The author of Almost DailyBrett would be a very wealthy hombre, if he received a dollar for every time somebody suggested that he should be coaching/mentoring Public Celebrity A. (e.g., Tiger Woods) or Public Celebrity B (e.g., Anthony Weiner).

The very notion of mentoring suggests that a Hillary Clinton and/or Bill would actually listen to a brand/reputation coach regardless of her or his level of personal gravitas.

Now before one accuses Almost DailyBrett of directing attention to only one side of the ever-widening political divide, your author would like to opine that Donald Trump has repeatedly warranted an ejector seat. This point applies to his rambling off-the-cuff remarks and his fire-ready-aim use of Twitter.

FILE - This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. FBI director Comey has caused huge offense to a U.S. ally: using language to suggest that Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust. On Monday, April 20, 2015 Poles were waiting to see if FBI director James Comey apologizes _ something Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said he expected so the matter can be settled. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

At a time that FBI director James Comey handed the Republicans a political gift with his public repudiation of Hillary as “extremely careless” in regards to her mobile devices/personal server, The Donald is meanwhile assessing the positives of brutal dictator Saddam Hussein because he allegedly fought terrorists.

Where is your message consistency, Mr. Trump?

Can you stay on topic?

Must you always say what is on the top of your mind?

Ma’am and/or Sir, you cannot do that’!

Most Americans – including elites in both parties – believe both Bill and Hillary Clinton think a different set of rules and standards apply to them than everyone else. This dates to the 1990s.” – Washington Daily 202 columnist James Hohmann

“Mr. Trump was typically free-associative and talked too long, more than an hour. He doesn’t know when to stop because he doesn’t know when he’s made his point, or sometimes what his point was.” –Former Presidential Speech Writer Peggy Noonan

Just as most Democrats wax nostalgic about John F. Kennedy and Republicans harken back to “Shining City on a Hill” Ronald Reagan, there were also influential aides-de-camp who were always there to question, advise and mentor.

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia's economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia’s economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Ted Sorensen was beside Kennedy as the U.S. faced down Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and the Missiles of October. The young president was well served by listening (and not necessarily always agreeing) to Sorensen.

James Baker was the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State and served as chief of staff for two Presidents, Reagan and his successor George H.W. Bush. The native-born Texan was always cool under pressure, seemingly hitting the right tone and drawing the ear of at least two presidents.

The Always DailyBrett question of the day: Who are the Ted Sorensens and Jim Bakers for Hillary and The Donald?bakerbush

Some may immediately point to Hillary’s spouse, former President Bill Clinton, but is he a paragon of political discipline? Wasn’t there an embarrassingly improper meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the broiling tarmac of Phoenix International Airport? And for some reason, Almost DailyBrett is reminded a series of presidential dalliances in the 1990s.

For The Donald, he heavily relies on his family. Yes it is true that blood is thicker than water, but are any of his clan ready to tell Emperor Trump that he doesn’t have any clothes on? More to the point: Will any of them insist that Mr. Billionaire think before he speaks or tweets?

When egos exceed respect for any advisor no matter how talented, how skilled, how schooled and how seasoned, does it really matter if the candidate stops listening before the aide-de-camps stop talking?









Or should we say the Pols are wrong?

The experts backed by polling originally told us: Britain will leave the European Union (EU).

Hold on. Wait … the polls and pols then said there would be no Brexit.

Global markets surged and the pound sterling gained strength against the greenback.

Ahh … the polls and pols were wrong once again. Can’t they get anything right?mobilelandline

Britain is indeed leaving the club. PM David Cameron resigned. The markets tanked along with the pound sterling and the Euro. It’s a mess.

What happened (again) to the “experts”?

Remember the elite pundits told us Donald Trump will flame out when the “Silly Season” turns to the “Serious Season.”

And then … The Donald will never win the Republican nomination. Certainly not.

Certainly, yes.

Why do we pay attention to the polls and listen to the pols?

“Two Nations Separated by Common Language” – Winston Churchill

Before we go much further, Almost DailyBrett will immediately acknowledge the political landscape of one nation does not necessarily equate to the state of affairs of another.

Some including the Daily 202 of the Washington Post are now hyperventilating that Brexit could very well mean that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.BREXIT ahead: UK leaves the EU

Let that thought permeate for a nanosecond or two.

Consider the contradictory news flashes from this morning:

Washington Post: New Post-ABC News poll finds support for Trump has plunged, giving Clinton a double-digit lead.

Wall Street Journal: Trump weathers stormy month on campaign trail, loses only two points versus Clinton — WSJ/NBC Poll.

What’s it going to be, political experts?

What may be certain in this most uncertain political environment is the electorates on both sides of the pond are anxious, full of angst and may be downright angry … and that makes them increasingly volatile and unpredictable.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 percent for the past seven years, at least one full point under what it should be, is not and should not be accepted as the new normal.

Instead of celebrating globalization, free worldwide trade and technology breakthroughs (e.g., social, mobile and cloud) and having these all serve as symbols of progress, they are increasingly viewed as threats.

How long will it take for the machines to be cheaper than people (e.g., automated check-out, ATMs, robots, driverless cars …)? Each of these gadgets also has the added advantages of never whining, complaining, calling-in sick or demanding a pay raise.

The net effect: Far too many believe they are being left behind, and no one seems to care about them or that is their sense.

The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.7 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And yet only 38,000 new jobs were created in May and labor participation stands at just 62 percent. And how many of these “employed” are underemployed, working less than 30 hours per week for zero benefits?

Something is amiss and it is not just in the new world, but obviously in the old world as well.

Land Line Surveys vs. Internet Polls

“Never in recorded history have so many been so misguided by so few.” – With apologies to the memory of Winston Churchill, if he was still around to sound out his opinion about pollsters and their surveys.berniemichigan

Hillary was supposed to blow out Bernie in the May 8 Michigan primary by 20 points; she lost by nearly two points.

The folks in the UK were increasingly expected to vote to stay in the European Union. Instead, they are leaving.

The polls are particularly wrong this year. What seems to be the problem?

Let’s face it, quantitative analysis has always suffered from the being a snap-shot-in-time syndrome. Polls are scientifically accurate with a 3.5 percent margin of error, 95 percent of the time provided the random sample is large enough … let’s say 1,000 respondents.

The increasingly difficult proposition lies with how one gathers a random scientifically valid critical mass of respondents to participate in a nationwide poll. The traditional way is for polling firms is to call registered voters on their land lines.

There were days when everyone had land lines. Those days have obviously passed, leaving the only folks with land lines to be older, less receptive to mobile technology, but at the same time they have a greater propensity to vote. Translated: These folks need to be surveyed, but they are not representative of a changing electorate.

The alternative is to call mobile numbers of the CPOs (cell-phone onlys) or a combo of mobile dialing and/or internet surveys. The advantage: This is clearly the wave of the future. The disadvantage: the mobile and PC crowd are younger and more educated, but with a lower propensity to vote.

The net effect of this discussion is a changing, volatile electorate that is increasingly difficult to measure with any sense of accuracy.

Can’t anyone get anything right?

Seems like a germane question at this point of time.










“The Trump-less debate proved the Donald right … While more than 24 million people watched the first GOP presidential debate on Fox, just 12.5 million watched this one.” – Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

From a public relations and long-term reputation standpoint, which is better?

  1. Caving into Mr. CombOver and jettisoning Megyn Kelly as a GOP debate moderator for the benefit of ratings?
  2. Retaining Kelly as a moderator, even at the expense of a Donald Trump debate boycott and the obvious sacrifice of literally millions of viewers?megyndonald

Whichever course Fox News’ boss Mr. Warm-and-Fuzzy Roger Ailes chose, there was going to be criticism and impassioned finger pointing. It was a simply a no-win situation for Fox News, regardless of the decided course of action.

Fox News chose Option 2: Standing behind Kelly, journalistic principle and calling Trump’s debate-boycott bluff.

Almost DailyBrett must also take a stand on this question: Allowing any politician, no matter how demagogic, influential and wealthy, to dictate coverage by any network sets a horrible precedent and worse yet: The decision is indefensible.

Besides … love it or loath it … cable news ratings leader Fox News will be around longer than Donald Trump. The network claims it is “fair and balanced.” Whether one agrees with this moniker or not, how can Fox News stand behind this motto if a billionaire bully dictates journalistic standards?

Tit in a Ringer?

“Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s (slush fund story) published.” – Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell

Do you think Richard Nixon wanted Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post to be fired during the height of the Watergate scandal? Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell even warned he would put Post publisher Graham’s “tit in a ringer.”postgraham

The Post was properly saluted by the journalism profession for sticking to its proverbial guns in the 1970s. Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men” (both the book and the movie) and “The Final Days,” celebrated the Pulitzer-Prize-winning coverage by the Post.

So why not even some modicum of acknowledgement of the courage of Fox News, even at a network loss of upwards of 12 million viewers? Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting an equivalency between the Watergate coverage and Donald Trump debate boycott other than to state that both required courage.

What’s ironic is at least one or more Washington Post pundits (and presumably other media as well) are leading the criticism of Fox News’ decision to back Kelly and suffer the ratings hit as a result of Trump’s petty-and-childish debate boycott.

Who Is the Real Loser?

“Slinking away from an accomplished journalist who might ask a tough question is lame and makes the blustering, bullying real estate mogul look weak and petulant. This could permanently damage the perception that he’s strong and fearless.” – Presidential Campaign Manager Karl Rove

There are some who are taking Donald Trump at his word: He boycotted last Thursday’s debate because of Kelly’s tough questioning at the August 6 debate, asking him to respond to charges that he is a misogynist.

There are others who contend he played it safe, especially when word leaked out that Kelly and her two other moderators Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, were planning on interjecting Tim Russert-style “got-ya” videos into the debate questioning.  Last Thursday’s debate featured the toughest questions of the seven Republican and four Democratic debates to date.trumpailes

And then, there is the distinct possibility the threatened boycott had nothing to do with Kelly, but really boiled down to two-little boys in a sandbox (e.g., Trump and Ailes) contesting who had the biggest Tonka truck.

It will be interesting to note whether Trump’s pettiness will cost him in the Iowa Caucuses this evening. If so, a national wave of Schadenfreude may ensue.

For the Fox News PR department, it is far easier to stand-up for Vanity Fair cover-subject, Megyn Kelly and more importantly, journalistic principles, than to rationalize backing down to Donald Trump.

When in doubt: Think long-term reputation over short-term benefit.














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