Koskinen And *More* Media Y2K Perception Management...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

September 20, 1999


Clinton Cabinet meets to discuss Y2K issues

From National Journal's Technology Daily


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]


The weekend meeting was "to make sure everyone is thinking not only what their responses are but thinking how those responses will affect other agencies," Koskinen said. "Part of the goal was to make sure all the Cabinet members were brought up to speed on the range of possible issues we had to deal with."

Koskinen also participated in a panel on media coverage of the Y2K date change, which urged all media to "bear a heavy responsibility to avoid Y2K alarmism and to provide balanced coverage" of the date rollover, writes Newsbytes' David McGuire.

While journalists on the panel agreed with the need for "responsible coverage," they warned that industry leaders must do their part in distributing information on Y2K remediation efforts. It is the journalists responsibility to "insist on disclosure, and if (they) don't get it, make non-disclosure the story," said San Jose Mercury News Assistant Managing Editor Jonathan Krim. Industry leaders requested journalists to report what they say are the positive Y2K developments.

See also...

Clinton Cabinet meets for FIRST TIME on Y2K



Cabinet in first meeting to discuss possible Y2K failures


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 20, 1999


Obviously if there was REAL, VERIFIABLE, INDEPENDENTLY TESTED COMPLIANCE (instead of self-reported substantially completed reasonable confident readiness pretty soon now) we wouldn't need to caution media to "avoid Y2K alarmism".

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), September 20, 1999.

Just an aside...

Interesting little group... CENTER FOR Y2K & SOCIETY...

Y2K Kountdown -- August 24, 1999

http:// www.y2kcenter.org/news/bf08.html

Time to End the Mixed Messages on Y2K Readiness

"Medicare is a vitally important program to many millions of people -- including beneficiaries and their families, providers, and individual healthcare workers. Therefore, I am, and will continue to be, extremely concerned about how HCFA is meeting the Y2K challenge." --

Sen. Charles E. Grassley,
Chair of the U.S. Senate
Special Committee on Aging,
in an August 5th letter to the
Deputy Administrator of

Last week we learned that the U.S. Navy was predicting "likely" or "probable" failures in essential power and water systems because of Y2K. The military report drew front-page attention to "likely" partial failures in electric utilities serving about 60 Navy and Marine Corps facilities.

In short order -- less than 24 hours -- the Navy began climbing down from this negative assessment, offering assurances that an earlier White House report insisting that national electrical failures were "highly unlikely" was the report to heed. Something about a delay in data entry of new "good news" information relating to Y2K compliance, according to press reports.

Ultimately there is only one set of credible facts regarding these important concerns, and we hope the Navy will sort them out with dispatch. But the scrambling by the Navy and the Administration reveals a more pressing public need as Labor Day 1999 approaches.

From the community level to the Federal level, from the local hospital to the regional power grid to the Pentagon, the American people need credible, independent information about Y2K readiness.

Too much of what we are hearing is insufficient or subject to broad interpretation. For example, a July 1999 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on the status of Medicare providers points to low response rates and unverifiable information by those groups working with the President's Council on Y2K Conversion.

Said the GAO: "Based on our review ... it was unclear on what basis (e.g., vendor certification statements, test results) the self- reported compliance statements were made."

In too many cases, we are being assured that this sector or that agency will be ready for Y2K by the fourth quarter of this year.

December is often cited as being soon enough, but that assessment defies credulity. Clearly it does not leave sufficient time for testing, for contingency planning, for the shortfalls and mistakes that will inevitably occur.

In an effort to educate the public about the state of Medicaid readiness, for example, the Center for Y2K and Society has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Health Care Financing Administration.

It is critical that the news media -- and private citizens -- press officials at every level to provide accurate risk assessments and contingency plans. The American public deserves no less.

It's not just about computers. It's about people.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 20, 1999.

Thanks Diane. IMHO, one of the most important and revealing statements made to date was when Koskinen said "Perception management is Job #1". This speaks volumes on what the strategy has been and continues to be. Isn't it ironic that they have 'succeeded' to the point that they now are wondering if they have done too 'good' a job - that there is actually too much complacency.

I wonder what he thinks Job #1 will be in 102 days.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@com.net), September 20, 1999.

Diane, as a semi-retired Silicon Valley refugee, I enjoy your posts. I am no fan of the present administration, but I have some level of sympathy for the "between a rock and hard place" position they are in. By the time almost all of those folks got to their present position they were rewarded along the way for their ability to be political (i.e. correct as opposed to just being right). I suspect straight talk could well mean political suicide for them. Weasel words could come back to them as well--particularly with next year being an election year.

Ed Yourdon made an elegant point in his dissection of Greenspans talk when he mentioned the lack of technical expertise on high profile panels. A lot of non-technical people do not get it. Of those who do, fewer understand the economic ramifications.

This is an ugly situation with potentially terrifying ramifications. I think it would be naive (though nice to hear)to expect someone to say it straight. I am heartened to see articles like the one in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that was published over the weekend (It is on Scarey Gary's site today). I also applaud the GAO and OMB reports as well as the network of community action that is working hard to encourage people to prepare.

Wish I knew the best way to go. I send out notes to people I care about. Some hear me; others assume I am some sort of nut case. So I have added in extra water, rice, beans and canned tomatoes to feed folks who show up on my doorstep. It is sort of like the old tale about the grasshopper and the ant. Hope to God I get to make a large donation to the Second Harvest food bank...

-- Nancy (wellsnl@hotmail.com), September 20, 1999.


I've always felt they've been walking a tightrope. But why does their rock... look like it's going to end up as our hard place?

My issue with their approach has been that they appear to place more importance on the machines, and the system, rather than people's lives. Nothing precluded their placing STRONG emphasis on both.

They choose not to. For that, I'll gladly kick shins while wearing steel-toed hiking boots!

And, I won't forget. (Neither will the rest of the voters, at least, those who are still able to vote next Fall).


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 21, 1999.

Diane, It's an interesting little group indeed. Check out its advisory board:


Velly interesting. :)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), September 21, 1999.

Woah! FM... good one! Velly interesting indeed!!!



Advisory Board

The following people are members of the Center's Advisory Board:

 Senator Robert F. Bennett
 Representative Dennis Kucinich
 Former Senator Sam Nunn
 Franklin D. Raines
 Douglass Carmichael
 Juan A. Figueroa
 Dorothy S. Ridings
 Sara E. Melindez
 Margaret Wheatley
 Al Lenhardt

Senator Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah. Senator Bennett chairs the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem. The Committee is studying the impact of the problem on both the public and private sectors and is offering recommendations for response. The Committee has just released a major report that has received unprecedented attention.

Representative Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Representative Kucinich is the Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight -- the subcommittee of the House that is following the Y2K problem and issuing report cards to government agencies.

Former Senator Sam Nunn, D-GA. Former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn now practices law in Atlanta and teaches at Georgia Tech. He has taken a keen interest in Y2K and chairs both the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Board of Directors and the CSIS Y2K Risk Assessment Task Force.

Franklin D. Raines, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae is the largest non-bank financial services company in the world and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. Prior to joining Fannie Mae, Mr. Raines was Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a member of President Clinton's Cabinet.

Douglass Carmichael, Ph.D., Shakespeare and Tao Consulting. Mr. Carmichael is one of the nation's leading experts on Y2K and is frequently consulted for advice by Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

Juan A. Figueroa, President and General Counsel, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Mr. Figueroa provides the Center with strong organizational skills and will assist the Center in building links with minority communities.

Dorothy S. Ridings, President and CEO, Council on Foundations. Ms. Ridings will help the Y2K Center build bridges with foundations and assist foundations and their grantees in preparing for Y2K problems.

Sara E. Melindez, President and CEO, Independent Sector. Ms. Melindez will help the Y2K Center reach out to the broadest range of voluntary organizations and enlist them in the effort to plan for Y2K.

Margaret Wheatley, Co-Founder, Berkana Insitute. Dr. Wheatley is the co-author of "The Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social Transformation," and other seminal articles on Y2K and organizational management more generally.

Al Lenhardt, Executive Vice President and COO, Council on Foundations. Mr. Lenhardt has primary responsibility for Y2K coordination at the Council on Foundations.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 21, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ