Monday, July 31, 2017

John Kelly's Military Approach to the Media

From Hadas Gold, at Politico, "Kelly's military approach to the media":
The new chief of staff respects the press but will defer to his superior, Donald Trump.

When it comes to the media, new White House chief of staff John Kelly is a military man at heart, according to those who know him and have dealt with him in the past.

Operating out of the Pentagon, the former Marine Corps general and head of the U.S. Southern Command learned to respect members of the press but felt burned when they didn’t cover the news of what was under his command — including Guantanamo Bay — in what he considered a fair way.

His new challenge, some of those people say, is that the political writers in the White House are a different breed than their Pentagon counterparts, who tend to have deep groundings in defense policy. And Kelly’s value system may be strained in his new job — both by the press corps and the boss he will serve.

To some extent, his brief tenure as Homeland Security secretary was a period of adjustment to dealing with a more politically oriented media, as he was on the front line defending some of President Donald Trump’s more controversial moves like the travel ban and crackdown on illegal immigration.

"In his time at DHS, he’s been a bit frustrated with the press coverage in some aspects but he doesn’t think there should be less of it,” explained David Lapan, his DHS spokesperson who has worked with Kelly for more than 10 years. “His concern was making sure it was accurate.”

Kelly’s preference for straight shooting was reflected in his first major decision as chief of staff, pushing out Trump’s newly minted communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. The Mooch, as he was nicknamed, was widely viewed as the kind of fast-talking, political-oriented communicator that Kelly distrusts. In his experience with the Marines, Kelly came from a culture in which if "we just tell the truth, that’s enough,” Lapan said.

To the extent that he’s able, Kelly will try to develop more of a transactional, two-way approach to media relations, according to those who’ve dealt with him over the years. He’ll respect them, if they respect him.

“Listen, I respect them enormously,” Kelly once told his transition “Sherpa,” Blain Rethmeier, Rethmeier recalled in an interview.

"I would characterize [Kelly’s feelings] as a deep respect for the media and understanding there is an important job for them to do, and in order for them to do it, it takes that trust,” Rethmeier said...