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Weekly Update 04-10 Apr 21

Clips on media/communication, national security, politics, sports, and pop culture worth knowing about in the days ahead.

At Provision Advisors, we prepare your team for the challenges, and 'what-ifs' you never thought you'd encounter--specializing in strategic communication planning, crisis communication, and media coaching for senior-level leaders and communicators. We look forward to hearing from you.

--Bashon Mann, Chris Servello, John Schofield

For more information on how we can help your team email us or click here.


This week our friend Mary Jane passed away after a courageous battle w/ cancer. If you knew MJ you were better for it. An outstanding naval officer, wife & mother—will miss her smile & sense of humor.

Please keep her family in your prayers.

Mary Jane Osmeña Perry, Commander, USN (Ret). (1967-2021)

Top Clips

Democrats and Republicans No Longer Speak the Same Language

A dictionary for these polarized times.

By Michelle Cottle, NYT

President Biden campaigned on a promise to unify America. An inspiring goal, to be sure, but one that ain’t anywhere close to happening. Decades of polarization, turbocharged by the us-versus-them philosophy of former President Donald Trump, have left the nation so divided that it can feel as though the two political teams are not only talking past each other but speaking in entirely different tongues. English is a living language, built to grow and evolve, but the red-blue political split is pushing its limits. There are increasingly fierce disagreements over what it means to be “canceled,” what constitutes “bipartisanship” — and don’t even try to figure out what counts as “infrastructure.”

Opinion: Antony Blinken offers a window on how Biden’s foreign policy decisions will be made

By David Ignatius, Washington Post

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken describes President Biden’s approach to major foreign policy issues, you don’t sense a “doctrine” so much as a pragmatic mind-set: Solve problems, communicate clearly with friends and adversaries, advance the “rules-based order” one step at a time. Blinken outlined Biden’s worldview in a 45-minute interview this week, his first lengthy one-on-one discussion of administration foreign policy. Nobody has worked longer with Biden on these issues, or knows the president’s mind better, so the interview offered a window on how foreign policy decisions will be made.

Prince Philip, the Man Who Walked Two Paces Behind the Queen

The Duke of Edinburgh understood that the rituals of monarchy were both ridiculous and necessary.Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1951 By Tina Brown, for the NYT

In 1953, in the rustling, ermined silence of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, the 31-year-old Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, removed his own coronet, knelt at the feet of the young woman he wed six years before, and swore an oath of allegiance. “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship … so help me God.”

Cops Caught on Video Holding a Black Army Lieutenant at Gunpoint, Then Pepper-Spraying Him

By Emma Ockerman, Vice

Caron Nazario was driving his newly-purchased Chevy Tahoe home when two police officers pulled him over in Windsor, Virginia, whipped out their guns, and started barking orders. With their weapons raised, the officers demanded that Nazario, a Black and Latino man, get out of the SUV. Nazario looked in the mirror and saw he was being held at gunpoint, then placed his cellphone on his dashboard to film the December 5 encounter. He repeatedly asked to know what was going on. At one point, he even admitted to being afraid to leave the vehicle. “Yeah, you should be,” one of the officers responded

The Wall Street Journal’s Internal Audit

A look at what the newsroom’s internal study — The Content Review — concluded about the paper’s faults.

By Edmund Lee, NYT

For over a year, a special team of editors within The Wall Street Journal analyzed the state of the newsroom and produced a detailed, lengthy report on what the paper is doing right, and, more important, what the paper is doing wrong.

The stakes are high. Subscriptions to The Journal are growing — but not fast enough. News Corp, the company that owns The Journal, wants the broadsheet to double its readership. The study, called The Content Review, concluded that that goal would be difficult without sweeping changes.

Navy disciplines officer for calling enlisted sailors hatchet-wielding perverts

By Jeff Schogol, Task and Purpose

The Navy has disciplined an officer after an investigation determined he wrote a letter complaining about being forced to live with enlisted sailors that he described as “deviants” and “perverts” who posed a risk to his family. Task & Purpose obtained a copy of the letter that was signed by Lt. Nathanael Allison, PhD, who wrote that he had received orders to live in Yokosuka, Japan, for the next three years and he was willing to pay for his family to live in hotel rather than being billeted in enlisted housing. In the typo-ridden letter, Allison alleged that the enlisted quarters were unsafe for his family due to rampant drug use, alcoholism, sexual assaults, “and other perverts.”

After Capitol Riot, Pentagon Announces New Efforts to Weed Out Extremism Among Troops

By John Ismay and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

One young soldier said that for the first four months after he joined his Army unit, a flag representing the right-wing militia the Three Percenters hung in the entry hall of his barracks. A Black Marine described feeling sick when he saw the iconic red-and-gold flag of his military service being waved by rioters during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. A white brigadier general fretted privately about whether service members could get in trouble for supporting former President Donald J. Trump. A Black Army sergeant described having no one to talk to in his office after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Fire-ravaged Bonhomme Richard will be decommissioned, then towed to Texas for scrapping

By Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union Tribune

After extensive cleanup and reclamation in the wake of a July inferno, the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard will be decommissioned in San Diego next week before being towed to Texas where it will be scrapped, the Navy said in a statement. Navy officials said in November that while Bonhomme Richard was salvageable, the time and price of repair — five to seven years at an estimated $2.5 billion to $3.2 billion — were too steep to warrant saving the 22-year-old ship. The Navy plans to hold a small decommissioning ceremony April 14 with limited attendance. Then the ship will be towed to Galveston, Texas, said Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Naval Surface Force Pacific spokeswoman.

Biden requests $715B for Pentagon, hinting at administration’s future priorities

By Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, Defense News

U.S. President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request asks for $753 billion in national security funding, an increase of 1.6 percent that includes $715 billion for the Defense Department. The request, rolled out Friday, amounts to a slight decrease for the Pentagon when adjusted for inflation, and it’s well shy of the Trump administration’s projected $722 billion request for FY22.

China holds aircraft carrier drills in waters near Taiwan

By Ken Moriyasu, Nikkei Asia

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and five escort vessels have passed through a key waterway off Japan on their way to the Pacific Ocean, the Joint Staff Office of the Japanese Defense Ministry said Sunday. The carrier group was spotted around 8 a.m. Saturday roughly 470 km southwest of Nagasaki Prefecture's Danjo Islands, the joint staff said. The convoy then passed through the Miyako Strait, the 250 km-wide waterway between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island. This is the first time since April 2020 that the Liaoning has been known to pass this waterway, and it comes just days after exercises between the U.S. and Australian navies in the Eastern Pacific.

America’s Broken Civil-Military Relationship Imperils National Security

By Risa Brooks, Jim Golby, and Heidi Urben, Foreign Affairs

When U.S. President Donald Trump left office on January 20, many of those concerned about the state of civil-military relations in the United States breathed a deep sigh of relief. They shouldn’t have. Yes, Trump used the military as a political prop, referred to some of its leaders as “my generals,” and faced a Pentagon that slow-rolled his attempts to withdraw troops from battlefields around the world. But problems in the relationship between military officers and elected officials did not begin with Trump, and they did not end when Joe Biden took office.

Vaccine Refusal Will Come at a Cost—For All of Us

People who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have higher health-care costs. The rest of us will foot the bill.

By Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic Imagine it’s 2026. A man shows up in an emergency room, wheezing. He’s got pneumonia, and it’s hitting him hard. He tells one of the doctors that he had COVID-19 a few years earlier, in late 2021. He had refused to get vaccinated, and ended up contracting the coronavirus months after most people got their shots. Why did he refuse? Something about politics, or pushing back on government control, or a post he saw on Facebook. He doesn’t really remember. His lungs do, though: By the end of the day, he’s on a ventilator.

Nearly 40% of Marines have declined Covid-19 vaccine


Nearly 40% of US Marines are declining Covid-19 vaccinations, according to data provided to CNN on Friday by the service, the first branch to disclose service-wide numbers on acceptance and declination.As of Thursday, approximately 75,500 Marines have received vaccines, including fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated service men and women. About 48,000 Marines have chosen not to receive vaccines, for a declination rate of 38.9%.

A New PR Pro Finds Lessons in the Pandemic

By Seth Arenstein, PR Newswire

Today’s profile is Olivia Olson, a media coordinator at Ketchum in NY. This Young Voices series profiles “new communicators,” or those with fewer than 10 years’ experience, which some might argue isn’t necessarily a new communicator. By nearly any measure, though, Ketchum’s Olivia Olson is new. She began her PR career in mid-December 2020, not long after graduating from college. As you might guess, Olson has never seen Ketchum’s offices or met the majority of her colleagues in person. The interviews for her position as a media coordinator were virtual.

CDC Director Declares Racism A 'Serious Public Health Threat'

By Laurel Wamsley, NPR

Racism is a scourge in American society. It's also a serious public health threat, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a statement released Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky pointed to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, as seen in case numbers, deaths and social consequence. "Yet, the disparities seen over the past year were not a result of COVID-19," Walensky said. "Instead, the pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism."

Conquer the “statistic scaries” and optimize data-driven storytelling

While many writers avoid math at all costs, an ability to parse the data is a crucial storytelling skillset.

By Katherine Grubaugh, PR Daily

As the world has continued to change rapidly, reporters are looking for by-the-moment data, broken down by cohort or demographic—hyper-specific insights that tie to whatever story they’re writing today, whether it’s credit card debt held by millennials in North Carolina, sentiment on climate change by political affiliation, or years to save for a down payment on a home in Denver, Colorado. But spreadsheets, crosstabs and weighted averages can seem daunting if not an outright nightmare for some comms professionals.

Political talking points: good theater, bad crime strategy

By Baltimore Sun Editorial Board Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan appeared on one of the local media platforms preferred by the right and attacked Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott for daring to appoint a task force to consider how the Baltimore Police Department might be downsized over the next five years. The savings would be used, the mayor has said, for more effective crime reduction strategies, such as involving mental health professionals in reports of domestic disputes. In other words, spare the police from chores for which they don’t have the training — and where their presence may actually escalate matters — so they might attend to more pressing law enforcement duties. That the mayor wants to pursue such a possibility seems neither shocking nor wrongheaded, particularly given that he’s proposed spending 5% more on the same department in the next budget year despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s hit on tax revenues. Shouldn’t a city with a shrinking population be looking to find efficiencies in government at all levels, after all, law enforcement included?

Naval Academy to hold in-person commissioning ceremony for class of 2021 after COVID changed 2020 plans

By Heather Mongilio, Capital Gazette

The Naval Academy will be holding an in-person graduation and commissioning ceremony. Graduation on May 28 will be held at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with limited guests allowed to attend Commissioning Week events, according to a release from the Naval Academy. The schedule will keep as many traditional events as possible, according to the release. The Blue Angels rehearsal and demonstration, the Color Parade, graduation and the commissioning ceremony are all on the schedule. The Ring Dance for the Class of 2022 will be postponed to the fall semester, according to the release. The release did not include the Herndon Climb, which usually occurs during Commissioning Week. The climb, along with a traditional Commissioning Week, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

From trade talk to 22 lawsuits: How the narrative around Texans QB Deshaun Watson flipped

By Sarah Barshop, ESPN

At the beginning of March, the conversation surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson was about whether the Houston Texans would grant his wish to be traded. It was a rocky start to the 2021 offseason, during which Watson reportedly was upset with the way the team had handled the search for its next general manager and refused to return calls to Houston's front office. Watson still has not directly informed the Texans why he wants to be traded. Watson scrubbed his social media platforms of mentions of the team that traded up to draft him in 2017 and signed him to four-year, $160 million extension in September, telling those close to him he never wanted to play for the Texans again.

The Beijing Games Are Giving the Biden Administration an Olympic-Sized Headache

By Louise Radnofsky and Vivian Salama, Wall Street Journal

In the space of a few hours Tuesday, the U.S. State Department raised the possibility of a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing—and then denied current or past discussions about a boycott. The quickly quashed idea that the U.S. might not send athletes to the Games is just the latest sign of the quandaries the Biden administration faces over China’s hosting of the mega-event.

Annapolis loses a legend: Hall of Fame athlete Alan Pastrana dies at age 76 from complications of Covid

By Bill Wagner, Capital Gazette

An Annapolis legend — as a remarkable athlete, an incredible person and a dedicated contributor to the community. That could easily be the epitaph for Alan Pastrana, a lifelong Annapolis resident who ranks among the greatest athletes ever produced by this city. Pastrana died Thursday morning from pneumonia caused by COVID-19. The Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Famer was 76 years old. “I don’t even know where to begin with talking about Alan. He was truly one of a kind,” said Robert Pastrana, his younger brother. “I guess the best, most accurate thing you could say about Alan was that he cared about everyone else more than he cared about himself.”

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