Weekend Digest: The lessons learned from Hawaiian Kings, big media problems, and real ‘Mad Men’ of advertising edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 34 views 

TV PREVIEW
On this week’s TV edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on KATV Channel 7 in Central Arkansas; 10 a.m. on KAIT-NBC in Northeast Arkansas; and 10:30 a.m. on KFSM Channel 5 in Northwest Arkansas/Fort Smith:

Cong. Rick Crawford. The 1st District Congressman weighs in on an ethics controversy in Washington this week. Also, is he a candidate for Agriculture Secretary? His answer may surprise.

Michael Tilley from Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas areas and George Jared from our Northeast Arkansas bureau sum up the year in review in 2016 and what to watch out for in 2017.

We’ll go “Inside the Numbers” for a roundup of local news headlines.

Plus, political columnist John Brummett with a roundup from Washington and a preview of the Arkansas legislative session.

Tune in to Talk Business & Politics on Sunday in your local market for these interviews and stories.

NEW PIZZA BILLIONAIRE
Forbes reports, “A disgruntled investor once called Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to suggest that he buy cheaper ingredients to cut costs and shore up the company’s shares, which then hovered around $8.”

Schnatter, whose company flaunts the motto “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza,” wasn’t having it. “I said… ‘Take your Papa John’s stock, put it under your pillow, and over the next two to three years we’ll do you a good job,'” he recalled in a 2016 video interview with Purdue University.

“The CEO, often seen in a red shirt emblazoned with he company’s logo, delivered on his promise when the stock more than doubled to $19 in early 2012, three years after the investor’s call. Shares have more than quadrupled since, enjoying a 58% increase in the last 12 months alone that boosted Schnatter’s net worth to about $1 billion.”

“In the last three decades, Schnatter has turned the company that he started out of a broom closet in 1984 into a pizza giant with $1.64 billion sales in 2015 from more than 4,900 locations in 44 countries and territories.”

For more on this legendary pizza billionaire and Papa John’s success story, click on this link.

MEDIA’S PROBLEMS ARE BIGGER THAN FAKE NEWS AND FILTER BUBBLES
According to Harvard Business Review, “The U.S. media has come under intense scrutiny, with analysts, politicians, and even journalists themselves accusing it of bias and sensationalism — of having failed us — in its coverage of the presidential election.”

Critics across the political spectrum have said that fake news and cyberattacks played a big role in determining the course of events. The prevailing logic has an “if only” tenor: If only the media had been less swayed by shocking stories, if only bias in the media had been purged, and if only fake news had been eliminated and cyberattacks curtailed, the outcome would have been different. The presidential transition has been marked by the same attitude: if only the media were less distractible and headlines more accurate.

“Thinking that way is tempting, but it misses the mark. The media did exactly what it was designed to do, given the incentives that govern it. It’s not that the media sets out to be sensationalist; its business model leads it in that direction. Charges of bias don’t make the bias real; it often lies in the eye of the beholder. Fake news and cyberattacks are triggers, not causes. The issues that confront us are structural.”

To the question, If the media were to cover the election again, with the benefit of hindsight, could we expect anything different? my answer is a sobering no. This is for two reasons:

What are they? Find out here.

A MEDIA MOGUL SAYS NETFLIX WILL CHANGE HOW YOU WATCH TV
“Media mogul Barry Diller thinks the future belongs to companies like Netflix, and that ad-supported television is going to crash,” says Business Insider.

“This is thought to be the best year for content, and most of that content is not on linear television and broadcast networks,” Diller, who founded the Fox network, said on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Because of high-quality shows in places like Netflix, “a lot of people, most people I think, are going to opt for commercial free television,” he continued, according to Deadline.

“That means only people who can’t afford ad-free services like Netflix will continue to watch traditional TV, Diller explained. And that’s a big problem, as it will send the model spiraling down. “You’re going to be advertising to people who can’t afford your goods,” he said. He characterized free TV as “endangered,” Deadline reported.”

“Diller also sees the TV world moving toward more choice for consumers.”

For the complete read on this expert’s vision of TV’s future, follow this link.

UNITEDHEALTHCARE, FITBIT TO PAY USERS TO USE DEVICES
CNBC posts, “A new program from Fitbit, UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm will reward users with up to $1,500 in health-care credits for activities completed on their Fitbit Charge 2 devices, Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park told CNBC on Thursday.”

The UnitedHealthcare wellness program, called Motion, is powered by QualcommLife’s 2net remote care cloud-based platform. With it, users can earn up to $4 a day in credits for reaching fitness goals tracked by their Fitbits.

For more on this innovative program, go to this link.

WHAT THE KING OF HAWAII CAN TEACH US ABOUT TRUMP
“To the ever-expanding literature of How to Explain Trump, I’d like to add a short little fable. It was first told 35 years ago by Alasdair MacIntyre, one of our greatest living philosophers, but it concerns an actual event that took place in the kingdom of Hawaii in 1819, many years before it was annexed by the United States. MacIntyre didn’t really intend it to be a story about politics, but I think it speaks to our political moment more directly than any op-ed you’ll read, because it’s a story about the rules we take for granted, and about what happens when those rules become hollow,” posts POLITICO Magazine.

“Once, in the kingdom of Hawaii, there was a set of unwritten rules – whose name English-speaking writers spelled “taboo” – that governed all kinds of everyday activities. One of them, for instance, forbade men and women from eating together; others forbade certain foods. In 1819, a new king, Kamehameha II, came to the throne and decided to do away with the taboos. The rules had held sway for longer than anyone could remember, and many predicted a tremendous backlash if the king went through with his plan. But Kamehameha was adamant: He declared that the taboos were abolished, and so they were.”

And nothing else happened. That’s the story.

“I can’t be the only one who has lost count of the democratic norms – the unwritten, informal, but hugely important rules that help us govern ourselves – that now seem to be gone with as little consequence as the taboos in the story.”

If you’re running for president, you don’t even raise the possibility that the election won’t count if you don’t win. You don’t threaten to throw your opponent in jail if you do win. If you change your mind about throwing your opponent in jail, you don’t explain it as an act of mercy, because that’s not how the rule of law works. If you’re running for president, and especially if you get elected, you release your tax returns, so voters can know that you’re not financially compromised by foreign governments, or by corporations seeking to do business with the United States. You put your assets in a blind trust, so you never confuse your self-interest with the public interest. You don’t accuse millions of Americans of voter fraud without evidence. You don’t compromise civilian control of the armed forces. You don’t let your team threaten to lock up journalists who investigate you.

“You don’t do those things, until, one day, you do. The only thing holding you back in most cases is the force of custom, and there are times and places – Hawaii in 1819, or America in 2016 – when custom is so weak that it’s no force at all.”

Link here for the rest of this op-ed.

GOP WON’T PROMISE OBAMACARE FIX WILL COVER ALL
“Republican leaders are refusing to commit to their ObamaCare replacement plan covering as many people as President Obama’s health law,” says The Hill.

Congressional Republicans are quickly moving forward to pass a repeal of ObamaCare and say a replacement plan will come later this year.

But it’s unclear whether that eventual replacement will provide insurance options for at least 20 million people, the number who gained coverage under ObamaCare, amid worries that many could lose their health insurance.

“Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday declined to commit when asked at a press conference if the Republican plan would allow everyone covered through ObamaCare to remain insured.”

Fore more on this developing story click here.

REPUBLICANS MUST SCRUTINIZE TRUMP’S CONFLICTS – OR OWN THEM
Real Clear Politics says, “Good for Donald Trump, shaming congressional Republicans into reconsidering gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics, thereby rescuing them from a mistake that could further corrode Americans’ faith in government—if such a thing is possible. In the days to come, Republicans must return the favor by pushing the president-elect to divest from his businesses and thus rescuing him from a mistake that would corrupt his presidency.”

On Tuesday, House Republicans were forced to retreat on their foolish, surprise plan to neuter the ethics office and instead police themselves without ever permitting information to be released to the public. Trump undercut his new GOP partners, with a tweet, naturally, suggesting they had better things they had to do.

“Though Trump didn’t criticize the plan itself, and acknowledged House Republicans’ concerns about the ethics office (“as unfair as it may be,” he said), the president-elect still bashed the optics and timing, listed what should be their higher priorities and finished  his tweet: “#DTS,” which presumably stood for “drain the swamp,” not “Donald Trump Says.”

These members of Congress lectured on Twitter by the incoming president are well aware that some ethics experts are already arguing that Trump, unless he divests his business interests, will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution — and thus impeachable — as soon as he takes the oath of office. They must have found it rich to hear Trump telling them to drain the swamp. Still, they immediately retreated into submission.

More at this link.

TRUMP AND THE GOP START HITTING THE ‘UNDO’ BUTTON
“Republicans figured out a way to gut funding for Obamacare early in 2016. Now they set the plan into motion.,” reports USA Today.

Who would have won a head-to-head matchup: Donald Trump or Barack Obama? The whole debate always had a Batman-vs.-Darth Vader vibe to it — no amount of arguing on Facebook could ever make the showdown a reality. Still, Morning Consult and Politico pitted Obama’s net favorability of +15.3 against Trump’s -4.5. The result: Trump wins, 45% to 44%. If there’s one lesson, it’s this: “The electorate loves bad boys.”

“Back in the real world, Trump’s gonna be president unless Congress forgets how to count numbers tomorrow. We’ll still get our Trump-Obama face-off, sorta … the fight over the Affordable Care Act repeal is just Round One.”

Complete story and video at this link.

‘JAMES BOND OF PHILANTHROPY’ GIVES AWAY THE LAST OF HIS FORTUNE
The New York Times posts, “As it happens, Donald J. Trump is not the only person to announce plans to shut down a personal philanthropy, just the best known.”

This is the story of a man who made and kept that same promise.

Who is he and what did he do? Find out here.

TEXAS DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ARE SWORN IN WEARING COWBOY JERSEYS
“It’s hard for a Democrat to get elected to public office in Texas. Donald Trump bested Hillary Clinton by 9 percentage points in the presidential race, and even though Democrats added five seats to their tally in the state House of Representatives, the GOP still outnumbers them by 40,” says The Washington Post.

But Mark Gonzalez bucked that trend on Election Day, defeating incumbent Republican Mark Skurka to become the new district attorney in Nueces County, which borders the Gulf of Mexico in the southern portion of the state. So you’re darn right that he can go ahead and wear whatever he pleases to his swearing-in, and because it’s a playoff year and you’re in Texas, might as well make it a Cowboys jersey.

There was some grumbling, but others joined in. Go to this link for the full story.

‘REAL MAD MEN OF ADVERTISING’ CHRONICLES THE FORMATIVE YEARS
“WHAT: Smithsonian Channel’s The Real Mad Men of Advertising, a four-part documentary series premiering on January 8 at 9 p.m. EST.”

From Howdy Doody to that Orwellian Apple ad, the new doc looks at the advertising business from the 1950s through the 1980s.

For the “Who” and “Why We Care,” follow here.

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