A Perspective On The Huge “First 100 Days” Focus

The huge focus of the media — both liberal and conservative — on President Trump’s accomplishments in his “first 100 days” in office is yet another clear confirmation of what I’ve been saying for several years now, particularly since I set up this web site last year and started posting to its Blog section. What prompts me to say this? …

“Outside The Box” Thinking

Almost nobody in the media seems to be “thinking outside the box” in covering what is going on in our government these days.  News anchors, as well as the “expert panels” they have on their nightly broadcasts, are simply looking at historical information and comparing conclusions drawn from that information to what is going on now, and making their assessments accordingly.  This approach completely ignores the fact that we are in a completely different environment than any that has existed certainly in my lifetime, possibly since this country’s founding.

Let me use a simple parallel to describe what I’m saying.  Let’s look at Podunk, a town of 10,000 people in a largely rural area somewhere, one of six similar-sized towns about 20-25 miles apart, each within 25 miles of Metropolis, a city of 500,000 people. Acme Water Company, the water company serving Podunk, is projecting its future needs for expansion and upgrade of its infrastructure.  Analyzing historical usage trends, they project that in the next 10 years demand for the water they supply to Podunk will increase by 2-3% per year, and they outline their infrastructure projects accordingly [sizes of pipes, pumps, etc.]. Two years later, the town is in an uproar because water usage has doubled and very unpleasant restrictions on water usage have been necessary to balance supply and demand until massive “emergency” infrastructure upgrades can be made by Acme. … In making its ten-year projections two years earlier, Acme had failed to take into account several significant facts that made linear projection based on Podunk’s past data meaningless: 1) the population of Metropolis at that time was almost twice what it had been just three years earlier, and property prices were driving residential development to the surrounding smaller towns [but at that time, not to Podunk]; 2) four large manufacturing plants had recently been built in the two towns closest to Podunk, one having gone into production six months earlier and one scheduled to do so later that year. I won’t go into more here because I think my point [and hopefully the parallel connection] has been made.

The Seven Most Dangerous Words …

I shall never forget the words a Partner of a major “big eight” consulting firm made in a presentation to the Board and Executive Team [of which I was a part] over twenty years ago: “The seven most dangerous words within an organization are ‘We’ve never done it that way before’ “. Let me introduce here my corollary to that statement: “Seven additional dangerous words within an organization are ‘But we’ve always done it this way’ “.

The media today is failing to recognize either of these warning signs. They’re doing exactly what Acme Water Company did in my allegorical parallel above. … Looking at past presidencies, matching First 100 Days “success” with years-later evaluations of overall “success” after their one or two terms — using parameters like “major” legislation passed, Executive Orders issued, etc. Then, they’re comparing their resulting conclusions with Trump’s “success” or lack thereof in his First 100 Days and projecting what they think that means in terms of how his presidency will ultimately be assessed vis-à-vis past presidencies. There’s a total failure to recognize that they are comparing apples to oranges.

One Thing On Which Everybody Seems To Agree …

For all his faults, there’s one thing about President Trump on which I think almost everybody, whether they like him or hate him, agrees: he doesn’t fit any of the “molds” that characterize past presidents. Just as two recent examples of how he just thinks differently — like a businessman, not a politician: “The price tag for the new Air Force 1 is ludicrous” [result: it has been negotiated significantly downward]; “Let’s use American steel in the Keystone and Dakota pipelines” [result: limited because of contracts already in place, but the idea would probably never have even occurred to a politician].

This “doesn’t fit past molds” observation alone should put the media in “outside the box” thinking mode. The message to the anchors and “expert panels”? … Quit trying to force this square peg into the nice round holes you’ve bored into which you put daily “happenings”. Instead, consider the cumulative post-2016 “pile” of “happenings” as pieces of a puzzle which, when grouped into categories — some of which will be entirely new categories — and placed onto the board, can begin to reveal the image of the New Paradigm. As you do that, you will see every day a bigger and bigger percentage of the mosaic depicting the New Paradigm. That, in turn, will enable you to report information that actually interests people, rather than continuing to develop content that feeds your own perceptions of reality [which are clearly in the Old Paradigm]!

For starters, how about this? … Pull from your databases two lists: 1) everything DJT said in the campaign he’d do in his First 100 Days and “score it”; and 2) everything HRC said in the campaign she’d do in her First 100 Days and try to objectively “score it” [i.e., try to realistically view how much from that list she might have actually gotten done within that 100 days with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate].  Also, try to paint a picture of what our overall status would be now had she won last November and had that projected First 100 Days “score”, and compare that to what our overall status is now [“overall status” meaning the economy, international perceptions, national security, etc.]. I for one would find any truly objectively-produced content like that very interesting.

img_7026 Charles M Jones

Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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