I was never really impressed by former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. He often stammered through answers and, at time, seemed totally ill prepared for that day's questions from the White House media. However, compared to the new White House press secretary, Jay Carney, Gibbs is a master communicator.
During the regular White House press briefing on February 17, Carney was asked whether President Barack Obama shared the negative view of multiculturalism that three European leaders have expressed over the past several months. Carney's response was that he was not aware of such comments.
Now let me see if I have this right. For weeks, the media in the United States and Europe has reported statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy about how multiculturalism has failed in their respective countries. Their opinion was that those immigrating from other lands were not assimilating into their respective nations' cultures, but were trying to impose their own culture on their new homelands. Carney, however, was unaware of the comments these world leaders made even though they have been repeated in just about every major media outlet.
I've been involved in corporate communications for more than 36 years, and Jay Carney, I've got news for you: it's your job to be informed about such comments from world leaders, especially those of our NATO allies. How did Carney possibly reach such a high position when it is already painfully obvious that he is not prepared to fill it.
During most of my career, especially when I reached the level of senior communications professional, I always stayed abreast of subject matter that had any effect on the organization I represented. It was my job to make sure that the organization's leadership stayed informed of items they didn't have the time see, hear or read.
What most people don't understand is that not only the President of the United States, but the leadership of most major companies and organizations, are so busy that they don't have any available time to stay up to date on the every news item that might affect their decision making. During most of my career, I would send a daily news briefing of the latest information of any concern to our organization that was being published in selected major newspapers throughout the country. As far as I'm concerned, that is a given, especially if you hold such a sensitive communications post for what is the most powerful man in the world.
I have an idea for President Barack Obama. Hire me. I was born in a hospital on Stony Island Avenue on the southeast side of Chicago, only blocks from where you own your Chicago home. We already have something in common. I am a White Sox fan, too. I guarantee you I can do a far better job of relating to the press than Jay Carney has so far, and I won't be caught unprepared.