PT 167 | Hyper Exposure


The power of media and public information is undoubtedly powerful, especially in today’s digital age hit by the pandemic. And as this time of hyper exposure – and hypersensitivity – will probably continue for a long time, the Republican Party is now being challenged to walk on eggshells. Bill Stierle and Tom talk about the lasting impact President Donald Trump left on the GOP and how it affects the entire party’s reputation to the American people. This has been further fueled by the recent issue involving Republican Senator Ted Cruz leaving his home state of Texas in the middle of a harsh winter and the energy grid failure. This pushes the two to discuss the huge contrast between self-service and public service, particularly on what elected politicians must do for their constituents to avoid negative public perception.

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The Many Consequences of Hyper Exposure to the Republican Party

Bill, we talked a little bit last time about, where do we go from here as a nation? That’s a big question to answer, but what we can have a meaningful discussion about is some things that are clear in the events that show a struggle within the Republican party for leadership, values and public service. It almost feels like some Republicans are walking on eggshells here. 

It’s the public service versus self-service mindset. The self-service mindset is that I have flexibility, I have choices and I’m going to exercise those. The public service is what’s best for the people and let me take an action step towards it. There’s always going to be certain politicians that are better at being out there in the public and supporting it, both Democrats and Republicans. There are people that are better at caring for or stepping into helping the people or demonstrating boots on the ground. There are folks that talk about boots on the ground but meet with their small groups of followers, and then they broadcast this as if they’re meeting everybody. The person resonates with that message and then follows them because they make a judgment about the other side.

PT 167 | Hyper Exposure

Hyper Exposure: Many elected leaders in the Senate and Congress are leaning whichever way the base wind is blowing instead of speaking about their core values.


If a Democrat does something kind or supportive, the judgmental mind and the belief mind will click it to, “They’re just doing that. They’re not authentic.” It’s like, “No, I think I see their feet there.” We can talk about whether or not they show up for five minutes. We can talk about if they’re showing up for an hour or if they’re doing X amount of time in work or providing the public something. You can see that some people think that it’s enough for Donald Trump to go to Puerto Rico, and throw out paper towels, meanwhile, not putting any money and support and they’re going like, “That’s enough.” He was there. He had some meetings, and he flew back because he’s the Commander-In-Chief and he has other things to do, but then there’s the person that takes an action and causes a meaningful change to take place.

On a scale of 1 to 10, media does a crappy job of this, which is they can underproportionalize things and they can overproportionalize things. We’ve talked about that in one of our shows. You can take one word out of context, hammer that, and all of a sudden, you’ve escalated the word fairness, where it wasn’t a fairness conversation. It was a clarity conversation. This is when it gets difficult. We’ve had some senators and some governors make some statements and now are going to be exposed to our current environment of hyper exposure of choices. There’s the hyper exposure. It’s tough.

A true public servant is someone who rolls up their sleeves, puts on an extra jacket, and goes out to see how they can help. Click To Tweet

There’s no better example right now than Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He stepped on a landmine that he forgot he buried himself. It’s a self-inflicted wound here with him. 

It’s going to affect his hopes of the presidency. The amount of exposure there is going like, “Do you want that guy who did this and that?” He might get it done in Texas again because you’ve got to have somebody that is going to say, “Enough is enough.” Whether Beto O’Rourke takes on that again or if there is somebody else that wants to run against him again, we’re still going to be seeing messages because this character has wanted to run for president and has run for president several times already. That’s the tenacity that Richard Nixon had. He keeps showing up, “We know Richard Nixon, so let’s put him in there. Although we took JFK over Richard Nixon, we’ll take Richard Nixon this time.”

Richard Nixon was the political cat that had nine lives.

The hyper exposure that’s taking place is causing folks to walk on eggshells and not saying things, or saying things that are in alignment with where the vote is. They’re not interested in the truth. They’re interested in who is the illusionary vote whose belief in me or the Republicans, I’m going to say things that are going to be safe for that. Marco Rubio is caught there. The Florida folks are caught there because the numbers are terrible in that space.

PT 167 | Hyper Exposure

Hyper Exposure: Politicians need to have a second message in case the crap hits the fan.


When you see a lot of the elected leaders in the Senate and in Congress, they’re leaning whichever way the base wind is blowing. They are not speaking about their core values. They’re not being guided by their core values. You mentioned Marco Rubio. There are plenty of soundbites to play of him saying one thing, and then going back on it and saying another. Lindsey Graham is another great example of that. You have a lot of that going on. What’s shocking and what peels back the curtain on elected leaders’ values and motivation is something like what happened with Ted Cruz, who is in the midst of a serious crisis in his state.

It was such a bad crisis they have.

On several levels. You have an unprecedented weather event. That’s once in 150-year type of event in Texas, at least from history. Freezing cold weather that does not happen there to then the power crisis that was spurred by that, and then the water crisis. You know all too much about water crisis, Bill. You’ve got this triple threat going on in Texas. Ted Cruz and his wife made the decision to get out and dodge, and go somewhere warm, sunny and comfy. That in and of itself was probably ill-advised. It’s not the wisest decision to make. One thing gets worse after another as he’s communicating it.

You’ve got to go on your apology tour. The apology tour is going on a media, going on Fox News and getting support from Sean Hannity and others saying the sentence, “It’s not that big of a deal. If I was him, I would do that too.” In other words, “If I was him and I was rich, I probably would fly out of Texas too.” There were many people that could afford leaving Texas, private citizens that did leave Texas and did fly to other states to get out of the cold and they left. The public servant, the person that rolls up their sleeves, puts on an extra jacket, goes out there and figures out, “Where can I be most helpful?” In the case of other legislator, congresspeople, they raise money to give money to people that can help them. They become an advocacy for the voters that are there. There’s no mistake that there are people in Texas that got affected by Ted Cruz’s experience, and the oxygen being sucked out of their situation. Our time on hyper exposure and hyper information is a little weird. I learned more about the Texas electrical grid than I ever could have several years ago. I would not know that Texas has its own grid that is separate from the entire nation.

All a person needs is a talking point, and they will hammer it down. Click To Tweet

I did not know that either.

I was going like, “What?” It’s poorly regulated because they don’t want to do the regulation. They want to spend it on. The turbines that they complained about weren’t winterized. All they had to do was be winterized, but they weren’t winterized, so they weren’t able to run. That’s why they don’t run. They didn’t run because they fail. They run because somebody didn’t do maintenance on them.

Not only that, Bill, the wind turbines, which were the fast scapegoat of right-wing media and even the governor of Texas got baited by Sean Hannity. I don’t know if you saw that in an interview where he got baited into blaming the green energy sources for this problem, which in the analysis of the Texas State’s own Energy Commission that wasn’t the problem. I heard them on a radio interview and they said that the wind turbines performed twice as well as they expected they would in this type of situation. The real problem, all the other sources of electricity, gas, power, nuclear and other things had other problems because of the electricity.

The lines were frozen. The natural gas was the number one failure. There were a couple of other ones before you get to the wind turbine. All a person needs is a talking point, and then they just hammer the talking point. This is the thing to capture and realize about the hyper exposure and the hypersensitivity. During the Benghazi trials, when Hillary Clinton sat for eleven hours and was asked questions/interrogated on that thing, all they did was get one soundbite out of that, that was a little tragic.

She was tired and frustrated.

PT 167 | Hyper Exposure

Hyper Exposure: When the service orientation of a politician is different from their individual value sets, exasperation happens.


She did not have Bill Stierle’s skills to be able to stare that down and go like, “You’re feeling worried and concerned and you would like some trust right now, is that correct?” In other words, put the crap back on them, “Is this about trust or are you looking to get more clarity?” In other words, make the question that is so volatile, or the baited question that’s being posed to the person, one that deepens the situation, not to avoid the baited question. You want to step into the baited question. If I were on Ted Cruz’s team and I had to clean this mess up as a communication specialist, the first thing I would do is take the listener through my decision-making and fall on the sword of integrity.

Call yourself on it, “I was caring for my kids. My thought I could work remotely. That came into my mind and I wanted to get family connection time with my kids. I could work remotely and I can do that from another location.” Call yourself on it, “The optics does not look good, but my thoughts structure was this. Here were the seven phone calls that I would have done. Yes, I would have done it from the comfort of a hotel room where the constituents are freezing. That part is true, but I thought it would be better served that I could be more effective if I had that place, as well as get family and connection time at the same time. I could see it wasn’t a strong choice.” Call yourself on the misstep. Don’t wiggle out and say, “On further thing, I probably thought about this.” You’re not even falling on the sword.

Today’s conflicts made everyone look at how elected officials see public service versus self-service. Click To Tweet

It becomes whining, noise and excuses. Even if Ted Cruz had done that, if he had Bill Stierle’s skills and he recognized, “He erred here, but here’s how he’s going to try to clean it up.” While some may argue, “You can’t clean this up or too little too late.” At least there wouldn’t be calls for him to resign as much if he had used Bill Stierle’s skills and clean it up. 

It’s the unconscious mistake, which we call that in the slang as an honest mistake. It’s an unconscious or a lapse on one part of our rational mind. He is an attorney, so he has a rational and logical mindset. He rationalizes it. I don’t know what his record is on public service or social service. I can’t comment on how much he helps the State of Texas and the people in it. That’s for other people to decide upon. I don’t know what it is. I know when he gets himself into the pickles that he gets himself in, he starts playing to win at the expense of truth, ignore truth at the expense of integrity, and support others at the expense of fairness.

I have a list of those, but those are small examples. I’ll follow my own bias mindset. At the same time, in this world of hyper exposure, they’ve got to have the second message, which is what happens if the crap hits the fan? You’ve got to be ready to have your second message. That’s what the show is about, it’s about creating the second communication message that still allows human beings to make the mistakes that they do, but also be able to maintain their ability to have or restore integrity in a short amount of time to prop up and advocate for truth at the same time, and empathize with falsehoods. You’ve got to empathize with those. You can’t ignore them. You’ve got to empathize with them. That’s the way to get out of that experience.

Although Ted Cruz would be having a much better day now had he had Bill Stierle’s skills and done that. He still would have been facing an uphill battle, especially when you see how quickly Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leapt into action to serve the public in different ways. AOC goes and raises at this point over $3 million to help the people of Texas. No matter what you do as Ted Cruz, if you didn’t do that, you’re in trouble.

PT 167 | Hyper Exposure

Hyper Exposure: The power struggle within the Republican Party will only get worse if they keep playing by Trump’s violent narrative.


Ted Cruz could have run a fundraising program to raise money for certain communities and showed up with trucks. Had trucks ready as the snow was cleared in order to get things ready. They could have liquidated generators and drop generators all over the place for all these community centers or high schools. This is where you come to get warm instead of, “We came here. The lines are around here, and we got turned away from the community center because that was full.” Not only is the infrastructure bad, but the infrastructure is bad to support the bad infrastructure. You don’t even have the backup. It’s PPE all over again. You’re not prepared for a pandemic and you’re not prepared for this. I was on a call with people in Idaho and they said, “We know how to do snow. Everything’s around snow. We know how to move snow. We had other things. We know how to get snow out of driveways. We know how to get our car out of there. We know how to run it because we know snow.” Texas doesn’t know snow. They have no idea what snow is like and stuff. The optics on AOC and Beto O’Rourke supporting people has made a big difference.

It shows their true intent. At least it appears that way. If it’s not the real problem, that is certainly a communication problem for Ted Cruz, because AOC and Beto O’Rourke are making people believe through their actions that they’re helping the people, and they’re trying to do the best to help them through the situation. They’re not just running to try to phone it in from Cancun because that’s more comfortable for them. Beto O’Rourke is from El Paso, Texas. We know that. Interestingly, I’ve learned also a lot about the Texas electric grid. The El Paso is different than the rest of Texas. It’s the one area of Texas that’s not a part of this isolated Texas Lone Star State grid. Because of that, they’re connected with New Mexico and Arizona and adjacent states. When they lost power, they lost it for a couple of hours, and it came back on because they could bring in electricity from other states. They’re much better off there in terms of the electricity issue, but this has been a real serious problem in Texas. I have friends in Texas. I know you and I both have people we know in Texas who have put videos on Facebook of empty grocery store shelves. It’s real what’s going on there.

That’s apocalyptic and unsettling because there’s nothing on the shelf. The hope is five days before that stuff comes back in, and you’ve got to hope that the snow melts. You don’t need to overstock or have a backup, but you need to figure out as a person of public service, what does my state need? If everything’s shut down, how much material do I need so that there’s not a blip for anywhere between ten days and two weeks? How much stuff do I need in storage for that? At least that. It’s not the thing hits, our pants are down, we’re freezing out here, and there’s no way to get it, and then everyone is rushing for water at a public park because they think it’s good. It’s the only place to get water because our pipes are frozen. It’s disheartening and unsettling.

This is interesting, public service versus self-service. It puts into focus what elected officials are supposed to be doing for their people that they represent.

What’s the job? Part of the job is to write laws. Part of the job is to represent the state to write the laws the way you would like to. Hopefully, it benefits your state or makes things better. It may not benefit your state, but it makes things better. Nobody in California wants to pay more taxes so that other states can get the support that they needed. Nobody in New York wants to say, “We are so glad to pay up $1.75 and we only get a dollar back, and $0.75 goes into helping the state of Mississippi or Alabama because they’ve got to make some changes and they’re doing some stuff to grow their economies. We’re going to tax our people to make it work.” It’s unsettling but that’s the value of the United States. The Texas grid is a great example of the nation of Texas treating itself as the nation of Texas. The nation of Texas voting to support the nation of Texas by low regulation, low taxes, leaning on infrastructure of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to get you through.

We must always be mindful of who we are in today’s hyper exposure and teach ourselves how to be more compassionate and empathetic. Click To Tweet

You’re not in the United States and you’re not asking for help. Joe Biden came in with the disaster money in a timely way. There wasn’t the anticipation on whether or not there was going to be money to come in to help the people. There wasn’t any hesitancy as much. They talk through it. They talked through how much, what the support might be, what is the accurate contribution. It wasn’t like Puerto Rico going, “We’ll see how much we’re doing.” There wasn’t any level of support for the American citizens down there.

This is the exasperation that takes place when the service orientation of the politician and the political leader is different than their individual value sets. Some people are not doing the Republican thing anymore because it doesn’t match their values. That’s a big part of what’s happening in the Republican party. They’re walking on eggshells because we don’t want to tell the truth to the 73 million people who voted for Donald Trump. You’ve got to tell them the truth.

That is the struggle. We’re seeing the biggest example of that in Arkansas. The State Senator there, Jim Hendren, has made national news because he’s announced he’s leaving the Republican Party because it’s not maintaining the values that he’s believed in his whole life. He’s taking a stand saying, “I’m not going to follow the Republican Party who is all about loyalty to one guy, President Donald Trump.” There’s going to be a struggle because he was expected to run for governor. Who else is running for governor? Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Press Secretary for Donald Trump who is a loyal Donald Trump supporter, and Donald Trump is already backing her. The current Governor, Asa Hutchinson who’s the uncle of Jim Hendren, has come out and said that he would not support President Donald Trump if he ran in 2024 again. You have these fissures opening up, and there is this power struggle going on in the Republican Party. It’s going to get worse for a long time before it gets better.

As Donald Trump activated the individuals that would have voted Republican anyways and armed them with tragic, violent narrative, that’s what he armed them with, “Here are the bad Americans, we are the good Americans.” When he armed them with sentences that were similar next to a comment that a person could take as racist, and another person says he didn’t mean it in a racist way, but it can be taken that way. What it does is it enlivens or emboldens that mindset. There’s a good reason why, in Germany, that the Nazi symbol is illegal. It’s a good reason. We don’t want that mindset and we’re not doing that mindset here. That mindset and that value set caused great suffering to take place to our people because that fascist ideology was traumatizing, tragic, shameful, and not healthy for us. That symbol, it’s not allowed. Will the Confederate flag get into that category for the United States? As a Floridian, I used to see it as a novelty piece because the Civil War happened so long ago that some people called it Dukes of Hazzard.

That was what was in my mind. I was going to bring that up. When I was a kid, that was one of my favorite TV shows. That flag was emblazoned on the roof of that car. In fact, the name of that car, the General Lee, is in alignment with that. That’s troubling. As a kid that’s 10, 11, 12 years old watching that show, you don’t understand that.

In my mind, “The General Lee, the Confederate flag. That person was the person that was fighting for his state and the economics of slavery, which is taking a group of people and make it work for free, not letting them go anywhere, and not have any freedom.” It is unsettling.

Interesting how all these things relate to each other, not directly. We’re not making a statement about Ted Cruz and the Confederate flag, but there are symbols and messages in service.

Service to the society, how do we want to serve the society? You and I, Tom, were not around when the foundations of slavery came about. We were not around when the Civil War took place. What we’re around is now. What does service, self-service, care for a nation, and collaboration look like? If Texas thinks of itself as a nation, which many Texans, Remember the Alamo, that’s what I have in my head as a belief structure. They have that mindset that we’re in this by ourselves. We are the Lone Star State. It’s already in there. We’re going to do our own thing here. The nation has provided space for that messaging and that identity to take place. Now they’ve got to look at themselves and go like, “We might be the Lone Star State. It was an interesting part of our history. Those other states around us, maybe we need to be more collaborative and cooperative regarding an energy grid, and we can still call ourselves the Lone Star State. Do we have to listen to their regulations?” “Yes, you’ve got to listen to the regulations.” “Do we have to upgrade our infrastructure so it matches their power grid?” “Yes, you’ve got to do that.” “That means we need to tax our people a little bit more?” “Yes, it’s a part of being in the collective in this space.”

I bet you, because it’s affected the entire state, there’s probably a majority of Texans who would be willing to have a little more regulation if that meant they get more stability in their electric grid and their water supply going forward, and don’t have problems like this come up again. 

PT 167 | Hyper Exposure

Hyper Exposure: A majority of Texans may be willing to have a little more regulation if that meant more stability in their electric grid and water supply.


As the communication person, if I was a Democrat in Texas and running for that, I would start that message now. If you’re a Democrat and you’re reading this, it’s the messaging of how Texas can have the next level of safety and stability by working with the other states around us to support us as we support them. “Vote for me, and I am pursuing that because what happened with my opponent’s party, is that they didn’t care for their people.” You’ve got the whole thread of communication of, “I’m showing up for you, then things got better.” The hypersensitivity of things or the messaging is you’ve got to be mindful of that in the public setting. We see a pile of crap over there. We do our best not to step into it directly.

Some people say, “Why don’t you do it like Alex Jones or Rush Limbaugh, just step in the crap and then people get to rally behind you.” That’s an example of a short-term payoff, and then you get another short-term payoff. Meanwhile, you’ve got this crappy language narrative around you that you’ve got to go like, “I said that but I don’t mean it now.” You’re always arguing with your own integrity about the good reason why you’ve got the paycheck or got the followers. It’s going to be interesting to make sure that we take a look at languaging and being in touch with and being mindful that we are in a hyper place. We need to be more compassionate, more empathetic, use needs-based language to navigate through that. That’s what I teach people to do. That’s what you and I are working on to try to get this way of communicating out to the public, which is important.

It will improve a lot of people’s lives if they have those skills. 

Next time Tom, because the pressure is so much on Zoom and recording, I know many people step their foot in the crap, and they’ve got to clean it up, maybe we take a look at how you message things when you’re communicating in a public way and have to take accountability. What is taking place is that people are not being held accountable over a long period of time. They’re being given a pass, and then they give a second pass, and they are given a third pass. Whereas Richard Nixon, for his part of it, was able to retire and go into being obscure and not say anything, and go away and live in that distant shame spot. This is a different time. People get to bounce back and come back and take another run. We need to take a look at how we clean things up and be back in alignment with integrity.

I look forward to continuing that discussion. Thank you so much.

Thanks, everybody.

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