Every morning for many years, after I make my coffee and feed the dogs, I turn on my iPad and read these papers or periodicals: NY Times, Washington Post, HuffPo, The Intercept, Politico, BuzzFeed news, Breitbart, Pro Publica, Slate, Vox and more. And then there are the monthly’s: The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Time Magazine and more. It also doesn’t include podcasts that I try to minimize because by 5:00 PM I need to watch 2 hours of political TV as I have 2 clients back-to-back who are unabashedly the hope for truth and fact about the underpinnings, the dark dealings, the corruption on both sides of our political aisle. In the last year, I have been privy to “speculative” information coming to light by Mueller investigations that have weighed heavily on my psyche. I have been told by people who are dedicated liberals or progressives when I mentioned what I knew that I must be wrong – more conspiracy than fact. I wisely learned to not talk about things I might know before others.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been stressed! If I hadn’t been vigilant, however, since the crazy 2016 election, my negotiations with network executives would not have born the fruits of my client’s labors or mine. Networks are run by aging white males for the most part. Women remain an anomaly in executive producer and news management positions. I have had the good fortune of having a wonderful relationship with one executive as he and I have known each other for twenty years and trust builds over that period. There are others however who won’t see me even though I represent one of the highest profile people in the business. Why? You can judge for yourself.
For thirty-five years, I have fought idiot General Managers in local TV. I have been banned from Gannett and gratefully banned from the evil machinations of Sinclair TV – an entity that is now taking over the country with a very skilled, very sophisticated video packaging of conservative ideas that will brainwash (no other word for it) great swaths of this country. My hope lies in the future of young people who don’t listen to local TV preferring podcasts but also preferring the less contextual and gossipy corruptions contained within social media.
I decided twenty plus years ago that I would forgo the usual path to success in the television news business. I bucked the trend of living in NY and LA as I had done that, and it nearly killed me. I moved to as remote an area of the country as one could find but I had paid my dues in big cities and those executives who knew me would either ignore me or appreciate the style I brought in representing my clients as compared to some of the bottom feeders in LA and NY.
I expected I would fail but that didn’t happen. I prepared for anonymity and no work, but that didn’t happen. I made bold choices without fear and lots of hope. The last year plus I have played a very long game in negotiations whereby I knew what I could accomplish, and I never wavered, nor did I hurry the process. Executives ignored me, tried to undermine my proposals, ignored a request I had made for over a year, but I didn’t fold. I rejected every offer they tried to perpetrate. I told them my clients would walk, and god love them, they were loyal, they trusted me, and we prevailed.
The final step in my last negotiation took place as I was walking Georgie. They called me as I was nearing the meadow on Dale Creek road. I called Julie with five minutes to spare to ask her to come get Georgie as I couldn’t deal with him and the network executive pile on that was about to happen. She raced to my rescue and as I stood in the field nervous and anxious but determined to win, determined not to cave, within forty-five minutes we had the deal I wanted.
Three people will know what we achieved. It is a bittersweet victory because I am human and want accolades; yet, I have a responsibility to my clients to be an asterisk, a ghost. It is a difficult for me because I see how important Tim’s work is and how he is able to deservedly receive praise and accolades and I wish I could receive the same. In the scheme of things, I must be satisfied with the work that I do quietly and its broader impact that I cannot advertise or discuss with others. Additionally, I must be careful about what organizations I support as the trolls are gunning for any weaknesses to use against my clients,
My career is now mostly done, and I am facing the inevitable awareness at 70 years old that my focus was relatively singular; thus, I have spent my time in Hawaii this year wondering how I fill that void. I no longer want to write missives about our national political breakdowns. It’s all been said. I conclude my cynicism is the by-product of my hard won and lost experiences and I wouldn’t trade one thing for all that I have experienced.
To return to myself, I have created a project. It is complicated because creating meaning in one’s life demands that it be complicated and hard as one searches the very inner core of their existence. Some people get to know that early in their lives. Some people, like me, must fight the inner war between good and evil, to find peace with our cynicism (although healthy cynicism is the lifeblood for creating meaning) and disappointment.
As my time for transcendence is at hand, I will no longer write about political failings or successes. We can all read about that in the papers. I have discovered the Kabbalah – I have no Rabbi to mentor me which is probably good, because I am going to create a Kabbalah – Tree of Life garden, based on certain aspects of that science and my own spiritual musings planted into a large swath of land behind our house. I love creating big spaces in nature that absorb my energies and become metaphors for life. The Kabbalah is called a science by the living and renown Kabbalist, Dr. Laitman – and I love that idea. I will study as best I can the Lurianic traditions from hundreds of years of mystic musing. It is not a dogmatic religion as most religions have become today. It is an all-inclusive study for those who wonder what is BEYOND.