Wednesday, 05 November 2008 19:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Americas

As someone who trains people in the art of successful negotiating, I had some professional reservations about the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. It wasn’t that I knew anything more about her than anyone else, but I knew that the first image she created in the voter’s mind and the time remaining in the campaign were going to be essential factors if they were to succeed.

Recall that President-elect Obama had been campaigning for well over a year and a half by the time the nation learned about Gov. Palin’s choice. Consider, too, that he created a “vision” in the voter’s minds of international expertise by choosing a vice presidential running mate who had a long history in foreign affairs and was already well known.

In any negotiation, time plays a very important role in creating the vision that drives decisions that lead to the desired outcome. In my book, “Start with No”, I used the example of the 1974 Paris peace negotiations between Ho Chi Minh’s team representing Vietnam and the team of Nixon and Kissinger. The North Vietnamese had been fighting the French for a generation and they knew that neither Nixon, nor Kissinger had the luxury of time on their side.

Tuesday, 04 November 2008 19:00 Pete Winn Editorial Dept - Americas

Phyllis Schlafly was around for the beginning of the modern conservative movement. Now, in the aftermath of yesterday’s sea change election, the president of Eagle Forum and veteran conservative activist says the movement needs to start over again – from the beginning.

“The conservative movement will rise again, just as it re-rose in 1964 and nominated a little-known senator named Barry Goldwater, and rose again with the nomination and election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and then, after (Bill) Clinton’s victory rose again and elected a big majority of Republican congressmen in 1994,” Schlafly told in an interview.

1994 was the year Newt Gingrich and others developed the Contract with America, which inspired the election of a class of conservative Republicans, who took control of Congress.

“The conservative movement knows how to rise from the ashes, and we need to pick up the pieces of the movement, which was so badly dismantled and put in disarray by the George W. Bush administration. But we can do it. And we’ve got to get started immediately,” she said.

Schlafly lays the blame for Tuesday’s defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket – and a decline in the fortunes of the conservative movement – at the feet of the Bush administration.

Tuesday, 04 November 2008 19:00 Brian Fitzpatrick Editorial Dept - Americas

A West Hollywood prankster is making Halloween headlines by hanging Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in effigy. But the real story of the past few weeks is the news media’s high-tech lynching of the Alaska governor.

Coming out of the Republican nominating convention in early September, Palin was viewed favorably by 59 percent of Americans, according to ABC News.

In mid-September a majority of Americans, 54 percent, still viewed her favorably and only 32 percent viewed her unfavorably, according to Pew polls. By mid-October, Pew reported her negatives soaring to 49 percent and her positives dropping to 44 percent.

Today, CMI released a brand-new special report assessing network television news coverage of Palin during the week of the October 2 vice presidential debate and the subsequent week: “A Study in Character Assassination: How the TV Networks Have Portrayed Sarah Palin as Dunce or Demon.” Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy title. The report’s a quick read, and the key findings ought to make the news media blush with shame:

Tuesday, 07 October 2008 19:00 Jean-François Julliard and François Bugingo Editorial Dept - Americas

The evidence is accumulating. The censorship imposed on the Chinese media about the contaminated milk scandal had disastrous consequences. Reliable information about a wave of hospitalisations of new-born babies linked to powdered milk made by Sanlu was gathered back in July by a journalist working for the investigative weekly Nanfang Zhoumo. But his editor decided not to publish for fear of reprisals. As a result, China had to wait until after the Olympic Games, until early September, before another news media dared to publish this explosive news.

How did this happen? How was it that the Chinese government once again put control of news and information before the protection of its citizens' health? And how was it that companies, some of them foreign ones, were able to keep a scandal of this scale secret for such a long time?

The Propaganda Department - a censorship office that answers directly to the Communist Party's Politburo - circulated a 21-point directive to the Chinese media on the eve of the Beijing Olympics detailing subjects that were banned or for which coverage was to be restricted. Point 8 was very clear: "All subjects linked to food safety, such as mineral water that causes cancer, are off-limits." In the face of worldwide mistrust of the quality of its products, the Chinese government chose silence. The Chinese press had to say nothing. The editors of liberal publications such as Nanfang Zhoumo know only too well the price to be paid for violating the decrees issued by Beijing's censors. Three members of the same media group spent several years in prison after reporting a case of SARS without official permission in 2003. One of them was released only in February.

The tainted milk affair is a just a tragic repetition of the mistakes made in 2003. The SARS epidemic emerged at the start of the winter of 2002 but the Chinese authorities opted to cover up the truth for as long as possible in order to avoid a flight of foreign investment. When a military doctor revealed that Chinese officials were hiding the SARS epidemic, the government finally allowed the press to talk about it and swore that the same mistake would not be repeated. If only that had been the case.


Friday, 05 September 2008 19:00 Brian Fitzpatrick Editorial Dept - Americas

The media are showing presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a life member of the NRA, what it’s like to be the hunted instead of the hunter.

The Big Media are in a frenzy over Palin’s announcement Monday that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant. Bristol’s indiscretion has provided a handy stick to beat the Palin candidacy. How could a pro-life mother of five, a conservative Protestant who believes in waiting until marriage, have a daughter pregnant out of wedlock?

Then there’s the motherhood question. How could a full-time mother of five, including a disabled infant, possibly serve as Vice President? Won’t she be forced to neglect her children? This shouldn’t be much of a problem for Palin. She’s received rave reviews for her performance in a far more difficult job, running the government of Alaska, while also being a hands-on mom. Besides, no elected office in the land is better suited for a full-time mother than the vice presidency. Unlike governors, vice presidents spend most of the day looking for something to do.

Since John McCain announced last Friday that he had chosen Palin, the 44-year-old Alaska governor, to be his running mate, media dirt-diggers have been working around the clock. They hadn’t found enough for a good mudslinging campaign – just a dispute about why Palin fired her public safety commissioner, and her husband’s 1986 arrest for drunk driving – but with yesterday’s announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy, they think they’ve hit pay dirt.

Saturday, 02 August 2008 20:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Americas

As a negotiation coach it is natural for me to view election campaigns conducted between the two candidates for president and voters as a negotiation with multiple agendas, adversaries, and intense decision making.

That is why it strikes me as disturbing that both of the presidential candidates have similar positions on immigration that run contrary to the vast majority of voters in both parties. Other than the war in Iraq and concerns about the economy, the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal, and the need to bring immigration reform into our society is likely to emerge as a deciding factor.

In a new book by Dr. Joseph H. Boyett, a political science scholar, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, the author warns that, “We’ve used up our stupid quotient. It is time to get it right,” adding that voters should “treat every person who presents himself or herself to you as a potential leader with the utmost suspicion.”

This is particularly true in a political campaign in which “many people are working hard right now to orchestrate your choice of leaders. They are employing sophisticated psychological techniques.”


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