I was glad to see the classy manner with which Mitt Romney accepted Melissa Harris-Perry’s apology for remarks made on her MSNBC program about the former presidential candidate’s adopted African-American grandson. Hopefully, this puts an end to the incident because there are far more important issues on the national agenda for 2014.
Two quick observations from my years in politics and media:
Number one, the incident reminds us that all public figures, no matter how powerful or influential, are people just like the rest of us. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and so on. Yes, they signed up for a life in a fishbowl, and they’re more thick-skinned than most of us. But they experience the same feelings and emotions as we do.
I once worked with a man who had been a speechwriter for a member of the Kennedy family. He told me he began to think differently about what he once thought were harmless Kennedy jokes when he realized they involved someone’s uncle or father.
Secondly, I feel a need to clarify a sentiment emerging from the controversy, namely that targeting families of public figures is off-limits. While spouses, children and siblings may not have chosen to enter the limelight, politicians often use their family members to create warm, fuzzy images. In my opinion, they can’t have things both ways. Politicians and other public figures who use their families to score points can’t cry foul when someone brings one of those family members into the public discourse.
# # #
It’s no secret that the manner in which news and information flows from political leaders to the citizenry has changed radically over the past few years – and Governor Christie’s post-budget day schedule provides a prime example of that change.
In years gone by, governors, presidents, even mayors would follow up their major speeches, such as budget addresses and States of the State, with a series of public events and photo ops to drive home the main points and new initiatives contained in the speech.
On the day after Tuesday’s budget address, however, Christie had only two events on his public schedule – -a 7:05 a.m. inthttps://richleeonline.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/a-sign-of-the-times/erview on NBC’s The Today Show, followed by a 7:30 a.m. interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
It’s not hard to argue with the Governor’s logic. Given the cutbacks that have diminished personnel and resources for New Jersey’s news outlets, Christie probably reached far more New Jerseyans by appearing on two national television programs than he would have had he conducted three or four public events. He also didn’t hurt his national reputation since the shows gave him national exposure.
Christie is not the first New Jersey governor to take advantage of the national talk shows. His predecessor, Jon Corzine, was a frequent guest on several popular programs which also allowed him to reach large numbers of New Jerseayns who were among the viewing audiences.
Keith Olbermann’s sudden departure from MSNBC is illustrative of an overriding tenet that characterizes the media industry.
News organizations are businesses first – businesses that exist to make a profit. Providing news and information is secondary, just a means to bring in revenue.
In the world of big business, journalists are just tiny cogs in giant machines such as Continue reading