Mark Grimm


Albany Airport Tries to Ground 1st Amendment

Think airport security is a pain in the neck? Well, in Albany, even the 1st Amendment gets strip searched.

When two young people tried to videotape handing out flyers explaining the right to opt-out of the body scanner, airport spokesman Doug Myers tried to shut them down. Fortunately, Albany County Sheriff Deputy Stan Lenic stood up for individual rights. Witness this for yourself.

You need a $1 million insurance policy to exercise your 1st Amendment rights? Keep in mind, the airport is public property so this is the government acting to curtail free expression. The Founding Fathers really had a problem with that. So should all of us.

Deputy Lenic did what all law enforcement are sworn to do, protect our rights. His measured, fair minded response reflects well on him and his department. Myers is another story. His insistence on the $1 million policy was pure intimidation and would likely have scared off most people. These young journalists are not most people. They stood their ground. Bravo!

The airport has some explaining to do. Far too often, in the name of “security,” some passengers and visitors feel they have been unfairly treated by airport personnel across America. This case is Exhibit One.

An apology is needed. Fast. The Bill of Rights is not excess baggage.

The writer is a former news anchor/reporter, radio host and adjunct media professor at the College of St. Rose. 

Why Christie is Toast in the GOP

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is said to be stunned by the negative reaction among Republicans to his hug of President Obama just days before the election.


Christie’s Obama hug must be judged in the context of his GOP convention address — a self serving speech that barely mentioned Romney. The two episodes present a test for Christie. He flunked.

It is one thing for a Governor to say he needs a positive relationship with the President at a time of crisis. That’s a governor doing his job. But Christie went well beyond that. He gushed over the President’s photo op leadership when no such praise was warranted. Obama’s poor leadership was a central campaign theme and Christie knew it. This was Christie’s attempt to capitalize on the national spotlight to show how “bipartisan” he was. It was a self serving move that will backfire in the GOP.

Many believe, without the storm, and the Christie hug, Mitt Romney would be the next president. We’ll never know. The last ABC News-Washington Post poll released Election Eve had Obama up 50-47, pretty close to how it ended. The same poll had Romney up by one the day the storm hit.

Backstabbing is very common in politics, but rarely is it so visible and so obvious. Christie may have become the darling of the ultra liberal MSNBC and be getting praise from the NY Times editorial page. But among Republicans, he’s toast.

The writer is a former elected GOP official. More here on his political career and political consulting.

Are You Interesting? Essential Tips for the Facebook Age

The consumption of information has exploded with the Internet. That’s the good news. The bad news is much of this content is not being read. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc have made us all publishers. However, being interesting is a skill. You have to work at it. How can we get more people to notice our posts? Consider these suggestions:

1- Ask yourself, “why would someone care about this?” Does your content serve a purpose? If you are vague about the answer, think of something else to post.

2- Get to the point. Fast. Attention is a commodity.

3- For professional content, jot down the most frequent questions you get about your field of expertise. If people are willing to pay for your expertise, there is certainly a market for the free stuff. And after your brand has garnered enough  attention, read from on how to maintain those leads, for they aren’t something that come by everyday.

4- Be visual. Frequently use photos and videos that tell good stories.

5- Capitalize on the hot stories in the news. Use those stories as launch points to provide timely content. For example, I’m a speaking coach with political experience so I provided a lot of media analysis on the presidential debates.

6- Be plain spoken. The best writing is “conversation on paper.” We don’t talk so formally so we should not write that way either. Do not confuse conversational for bad grammar and punctuation. That sends the wrong message.

7- Ask for feedback. That’s the best way to get it.

So, what do you think? Helpful?

Contact Mark Grimm for help with becoming more interesting. Everybody has a story to tell.

Republicans May Have Cost Romney the Presidency

Four years ago, Americans voted for hope and change. This time, they voted for the status quo — same president, same party controls each house. The nation remains divided about 50/50.

The election was more about why Mitt Romney lost than why President Obama won. Though Romney made his mistakes, fellow Republicans may have cost him the presidency. The bruising Republican primary put Romney in a deep hole in terms of likability and drained his resources, badly needed in the summer months when the Obama Team was pounding away at him. Gingrich and Santorum, with their shameless class warfare, spent a fortune attacking Romney.

Two Senate Republican candidates (Akin and Mourdock) made ridiculous statements on rape that were quickly wrapped around Romney’s neck. Romney’s gender gap was not all his own doing.

Had there been no storm, Romney may have won. He had the momentum and the polls were clearly moving in his favor. Then, the storyline changed and Obama capitalized on the moment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dealt the final Republican blow. Yes, his responsibility in a time of crisis was to have a constructive relationship with the president. But that is a different thing than his over-the-top praise of the kind of leader Obama was. This was a central issue in the campaign and Christie knew it.

Christie no doubt feels genuine compassion for those affected in his state. But he also seized the political opportunity, grabbing the national spotlight to show how “bipartisan” he was. It was a calculation based on his own political self interest, fully aware an Obama win would create an open seat for president in 2016. This criticism gains validity given his “Christie Fest” keynote address at the GOP convention.

Mitt Romney was an imperfect candidate. His 47% remark hurt greatly, as did his “self deport” plan for illegal immigrants. The “Hispanic problem” looms as a great GOP challenge, especially given the key role they play in many swing states. Hispanics are a fast-growing group and they gave about 70% of their vote to Obama. The GOP must develop a workable immigration policy acceptable to their base and to Hispanics.

The voters did not reject Republican values on Election Day. Indeed, “the people’s house” remains firmly Republican. Candidate Mitt Romney found his stride demonstrated by his historic first debate performance. He came up just short in a race where Republican misbehavior may have been the difference.

The writer, a speaking and media coach, is a former elected official who has managed a number of campaigns that unseated entrenched incumbents.