I read an article by Charlie Cook, who tends to find a way to put the state of affairs in their proper context, which includes several poignant points pulled from Chris Matthews’ new book. Most people who follow the work of Washington know the contentious atmosphere that permeates the halls of Congress. I find it helpful - and necessary - to look back on history during successful periods in policymaking - meaning times like the current one. Cook’s piece is a timely reminder that conducting oneself with the greater good as the goal (and isn’t that the actual heart of politics, a term which comes from the Greek word “politikos” that means for the people) would be very helpful. The need for statesmanship is great and it can start with a little humility.
There has been a lot of nervous chatter in the nation’s capital since shortly after Paul Farhi’s article about the sale of the Washington Post appeared around 4:30pm on Monday, August 5. That this momentous development was kept a secret stunned many people who thrive on such information. How could something so significant to the chattering class remain out of their reach until Farhi’s article was pushed through the digital pipe?
I’m wondering what changes are going to take place over the course of the next year or two. I’m hopeful that Jeff Bezos will lead the news organization, and indeed, the news industry, to more stable ground and a vibrant future. Whether you agree or disagree with the reporting and commentary in the Post, the last thing we need is another news enterprise going dark. While that was a remote possibility for the paper according to Donald Graham and Katherine Weymouth, it is for too many news outlets.
If Bezos can create for the Washington Post what he has created in Amazon.com, the newspaper will be a success. And that means it will instigate discussion about issues, local to international, and serve as a platform where people can provide their point-of-view.
Bezos will certainly bring new thinking to the news world and that is needed. The current media strategists have been trying to figure out how to make the news business work but they seem to lack the proper perspective. While Bezos has a record of maintaining a long-term vision he will likely accelerate the pace of change at the Post. And that will expedite the opportunity for creating a thriving forum for news and showing the rest of the industry the path forward.
Immigration reform. Will it or will it not happen? The fate of immigration reform is hardly clear, yet the issue holds the interest of the American public as evidenced by continuing rallies and ongoing media attention.
With the U.S. Senate’s recent passage of immigration reform, all eyes are now on the House of Representatives. There, the Republican leadership has stated its intention to craft its own bill through “regular order,” and has vowed not to proceed on an immigration reform bill unless it has support from a majority of House Republicans. As House Republicans continue to seek consensus around the complexities of immigration reform, other legislative priorities including the debt ceiling extension and a continuing resolution for the budget further complicate prospects for passage of immigration reform by the House.
Washington last enacted comprehensive immigration reform in 1986. What is at stake for America’s national and economic security if Congress does, or does not, adopt immigration reform this year?
On Thursday, July 25, Ogilvy Government Relations and Ogilvy Washington are pleased to bring together Congressman John Carter (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and John Sampson, Director of Federal Affairs for Microsoft Corporation, to discuss opportunities and challenges toward passage of immigration reform in the 113th Congress.
To RSVP to this timely discussion, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/org/4272262955?s=15748263
The business of journalism is changing.
Newsrooms continue to shrink or disappear altogether, leaving reporters hungry for outside content. At the same time, there is a proliferation of online media providing channels to reach increasingly segmented audiences.
This dynamic should provide plenty of opportunities for PR professionals seeking to reach their target audiences through time-strapped media under increased pressure to produce content.
Perhaps, but only if PR professionals reevaluate their strategy and exhibit basic knowledge of media principles and simple tenets of interpersonal communication.
Luckily, the successful strategy is straightforward and will break through to news media regularly confronted by PR pros with information that is not relevant to their beat.
First, messages, pitches and targets must be crafted to include at least one of the eight news values, including timeliness, conflict and prominence. News, despite the proliferation of digital outlets or the popularity of social media, still conforms to canons of journalism — the story still matters and is still driven by well-established principles. Therefore, pitches must be provocative, newsworthy, and pitched to media who care about the subject.
Second, PR professionals must remind themselves that they are a resource for media, not the resource. Reporters and bloggers alike remain rightfully prideful in their obligation to deliver relevant content to their audience. Therefore, the relationship must be collaborative and PR professionals must bring value, just as they must bring value to our clients.
Third, PR pros must be selective with who and what they pitch because if they fail to do so, they effectively burn bridges one ill-constructed pitch at a time.
Everybody wants to be in The New York Times or on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” but the reality is that not every story is going to end up there. PR professionals must drill deeper and take advantage of today’s fragmented world. They must not implement a one-shoe-fits all approach; rather, they must package client content on a case-by-case basis and direct them across all pertinent media types via appropriate and relevant messaging. In other words, they must connect the dots while realizing that the dots vary for each story.
So PR professionals — get back to basics — understand media and treat media professionals like the professionals they are.
Debt ceilings. Continuing resolutions. Deficits. Sequestration. While not the subject of plot and tension in Kevin Spacey’s new Netflix drama, “House of Cards,” the standoff between the Congress and the Obama Administration over federal spending and looming budget deficits is causing knuckle-biting drama in Washington—one that is being watched from every corner and every C-suite office of the country.
The U.S. has reached a new level of conflict as politicians continue to push tough trillion dollar budget decisions off until the 11th hour. As the nation looks at the rash of quick-fix budget-related legislation that has passed within the last year, an old adage comes to mind: “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”
Last week, Ogilvy Washington led a discussion to help answer the question: What is the plan to move forward on the U.S. budget? The event, “The Impact of the Budget Standoff on Businesses and the Economy,” featured leading experts, including former U.S. Congressman Jim Nussle, Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, Bill Miller from Business Roundtable and Russell Rumbaugh of the Stimson Center. The panel helped us examine where businesses feel the pinch of economic indecision, how sequestration affects the economy, and where the panelists see possible pathways forward toward a resolution that puts the U.S. back on course towards fiscal responsibility.
“Can a sow be made into a silk purse?” asked Stimson Center’s Rumbaugh. Many on the panel debated the question within the landscape of a Democratic-controlled Senate and White House opposed by a Republican-dominated House of Representatives. To thread the needle to that solution, many agree, requires transparency and using the legislative process as it was intended.
The sow, in this case, is the “new normal” identified by The Business Roundtable’s Bill Miller, speaking to the process of making budget decisions by last minute negotiations, or as sequestration has highlighted, failing to find common ground after months of no-decision making. “CEOs don’t like uncertainty” Miller summarized, intimating that the current budget landscape could threaten economic prosperity in the long run.
“By definition, something that is unsustainable cannot be sustained,” observed Jim Nussle, former U.S. Congressman (R-IA) and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. Indeed, the U.S. economy, the stock market, industry-leading CEOs–all do not like uncertainty, nor prosper, under it’s umbrella. Therefore, he said, the budget crisis must be resolved through tough decisions and by using the legislative process, and not through back-room poker standoffs.
According to our experts, the prognosis is that the landscape can change, and perhaps sequestration is a signal that we can withstand tough, but necessary spending cuts. According to Concord Coalition’s Robert Bixby, sequestration is a bad way to conduct the process of deficit reduction, but it would be a mistake to turn it off “since there needs to be political accountability.”
The discussion, analysis, and conclusions by many on the panel seemed to find its way back to this sentiment — accountability — as an answer to our looming budgetary dilemma. There are tough decisions to be made on the horizon, and forcing mechanisms such as sequestration can provide a flashlight to keep the process on track during times of uncertainty.
But to create a path forward, a lasting one meant to ensure economic success, Congress, the Administration, and other federal leaders must use the legislative process to make tough, bipartisan decisions, and avoid a last-minute, band-aid approach to governing recovery for a $14 trillion economy.
On Tuesday, March 12, Ogilvy Washington and InsideDefense.com will host an Ogilvy Exchange on “The Impact of the Budget Standoff.” This Exchange brings together Hon. Jim Nussle, former U.S. Congressman (R-IA) and past Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Robert Bixby, Executive Director of the Concord Coalition, Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and Bill Miller, Senior Vice President at Business Roundtable, to discuss potential outcomes to this year’s budget debates and how they may impact government programs, businesses and the economy. Register to attend this timely discussion here: http://goo.gl/XmzqK
Congress and President Obama may have avoided the January “fiscal cliff,” but significant fiscal challenges still remain this year. The most pressing issue for U.S. elected officials is “sequestration,” or massive across-the-board cuts in the federal budget totaling $1.2 trillion over the next ten years that will take effect automatically on March 1 unless President Obama and Congress can reach a compromise to alter current law.
Thus far, both Congress and President Obama seem deadlocked on the federal budget, with Republicans in Congress wanting more cuts to federal spending to reduce the budget deficit and President Obama favoring higher taxes to generate more revenue. Beyond sequestration, other fiscal issues including the debt limit and expiration of the Continuing Resolution that is funding the government in the current fiscal year are all pending. Larger debates regarding the future of entitlements, discretionary spending and tax reform are likely to linger well into the fall. The outcome of these debates will significantly re-shape the federal government’s spending priorities. But what impact could these decisions have on American businesses and the struggling U.S. economy?
What do you believe should be a priority in the U.S. budget debate facing Congress and President Obama this year? Are austerity measures more important, or should federal spending continue near current levels to boost the U.S. economy’s recovery? How can Congress and the president balance deficit reduction with continuing the government’s commitment to Social Security and Medicare?
From a recent Forbes.com commentary . . .
Many organizations default to opacity and obfuscation in their communications. Clarity of purpose is crucial in business. But many within organizations have difficulty expressing that purpose – whether it’s in a mission statement, a news release, or an internal marketing presentation. The result isn’t surprising. As workers grapple for clarity, there are more meetings about meetings, more memos about memos, more time and resources spent clearing away the brush in an attempt to reveal a purpose.
We are quickly approaching the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious year in Asian culture. But what about here and in other places around the world?
The World Economic Forum recently released Global Risks 2012 report, which identifies the issues 469 experts and industry leaders believe will have the greatest impact on society.
At the time the data for the report was compiled, survey respondents believed that world-economic conditions are having a greater impact on society than any other factor. Over the next 10 years, they ranked water supply as the second significant risk.
If we take a step back, these issues and others mentioned in WEF’s report are grounded in political risk. That should be top-of-mind for everyone. Indeed, whether the issue is income disparity, chronic fiscal imbalances, or cyber threats the issue is rooted in political factors. The report does list global governance failure as a Center of Gravity. But far less attention is paid to that macro issue than risks that would be the result of political decisions.
There was a lot of political turmoil in 2011 but the outcome will start to emerge this year. Indeed, the changes in governments in the Middle East will have a profound impact on the cost of energy over the course of the next 11 months. In addition, there are a myriad of policies in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and China that will go into effect this year and will significantly affect the financial sector. And, perhaps just as important, is the lack of progress that won’t be realized in 2012 because of a lack of political decisions on a whole slew of issues, such as land use, that are in dire need of addressing.
It is important to focus on vital issues that ladder up to the macro risks but it will be critically important to keep an eye on the big picture in 2012.
Cecilia Muñoz is a name that, until a few days ago, didn’t mean much to many who hadn’t followed her involvement in immigration issues or her work as senior vice president at the National Council of La Raza. To those, that name might have sounded as common as any María Rodríguez or Isabel Meléndez. However, on January 10th, 2012, Cecilia Muñoz became a name that can be considered a tangible representation of hope and success for many Latinos and Latinas like me who have worked hard each and every day to be someone and to be acknowledged in the United States. It is with great honor and pride that we welcome her as President Obama’s new Director of the Domestic Policy Council, as announced by the White House.
As President Obama said in a statement, Ms. Muñoz “has done an extraordinary job working on behalf of middle-class families, and I’m confident she’ll bring the same unwavering dedication to her new position.” I am with you on this, Mr. President.
Ms. Muñoz’s appointment signifies a level of respect that many strive for. She represents, not just a growing segment of the population of the United States, but also one of the fibers that makes this country strong. Latino participation, presence and contribution to the US is undeniable, and Ms. Muñoz is only a reflection of what we are here for: to be part of the American community as a whole, to work for the better of this country, to be acknowledged for our worth and our dedication, and to be seen as active contributors to the well-being of this grand nation.
This appointment is a three-way success because it is, again, a woman who will be occupying this position, as Ms. Melody Barnes steps down. It is not only a woman but it is also a Latina who will be taking this role and not just any Latina woman, but one who has demonstrated dedication and generosity in her efforts for fair immigration reform. Thirdly, but not less important, Ms. Muñoz has been selected to not only serve her Hispanic community, but to work for the American people, for each and every American without distinction. That is how honorable her appointment is.
This Latina has shown that sí, se puede, and she is living proof that we, Hispanics, can excel beyond the ethnic lines, can feel confident that we are part of this society and have a lot to bring to the table for every single citizen of this country.
Behind The Scenes: Ogilvy PR, Washington, D.C.