In the absence of a profit test, toonmany government officials make programngrowth their only criterion fornsuccess. Most innovations in the publicnsector are imposed either by outsidersnor by catastrophe. Drucker believesnthe reversal of these trends and thentransformation of the public sector isn”the foremost task of this generation.”nBecause he finds macro-planning incompatiblenwith an entrepreneurialneconomy, he rejects “industrial policy”nof the sort now found in Europenand hailed by some as the economicnfuture of the U.S. Such “policy,” henargues, “is a ‘delusion’: All it can comenup with is another expensive flop,nanother supersonic Concorde; a littlengloire . . . oceans of red ink.”nWhen Alexis de Tocqueville visitednthis country in 1831, he marveled atnits economic vitality. Since then, foreignnvisitors and foreign-born Americansn(like Drucker) have continued tonadmire our economic vitality. In contrast,nmany native-born Americansnnow cling to the anachronistic andnpessimistic notion that the entrepreneurshipnthat made us so powerful isnno longer possible. Fortunately, millionsnin North America, includingnmany new immigrants, continue tondemonstrate what Tocqueville callednthe Americans’ “clear, free, originalnand innovative power of mind.”nRoland Alum was recently appointednBureau Administrator in the New JerseynDepartment of Commerce & EconomicnDevelopment.nAn Executive FightsnBacknby Herbert LondonnGood-Bye to the Low-Profile: ThenArt of Creative Confi:ontation bynHerb Schmertz, Boston: Little,nBrown; $16.95.nDuring the well-publicized oil crisis ofnthe I970’s, populists looking for anneasy answer to the problem of excruciatinglynlong lines at gas stations reflexivelynblamed the big oil companies.nThese barons of black gold were accusednof bilking the public. So widespreadnwas this sentiment that Presi­ndent Carter himself joined the chorusnof blame. To many Americans it wasnsimply self-evident that the oil companiesnwere greedy. Almost every televisionnreport and newspaper story reinforcednthis story.nStanding against this tornado ofnpublic opinion was one man, a corporatenDon Quixote who demonstratedntenacity, imagination, and flair: HerbnSchmertz, Mobil Oil’s vice presidentnfor public affairs. Schmertz has writtennGood-Bye to the Low-Profile: The Artnof Creative Confrontation as a primernfor other business executives who arenlikewise obliged to respond to medianaccusations, hi answer to the questionn”What do you do when Sixty Minutesncalls?” Schmertz recommends a directnand complete response, while recognizingnthat much of what a businessnexecutive says may end up on thencutting room floor. Sixty Minutes alwaysnhas the advantage in this confrontation,nbut there are steps that cannbe taken to limit the damage. Mr.nSchmertz has superb instinct for response.nBut this book goes well beyond advicenon what to say to a televisionninterviewer. Schmertz examines thenways corporations can enter the debatenon public policy in which they arenoften cast as the villains. One of thenextraordinary developments nurturednby Schmertz was the Mobil op-ednpieces that first appeared in the NewnYork Times and now regularly appearnin the other major newspapers andnweekly magazines. It is his contentionnthat this was (and remains) an effectivenway for Mobil to address its critics and,nperhaps more importantly, affect thencharacter of public issues.nIn a way, it is odd that this publicnaffairs effort must be launched at all.nAfter all, business should not be perceivednas guilty of crimes againstnAmerica without a chance to defendnitself But in the era of Naderism,nbusiness is wrong until proven otherwise.nOne would think from the media’snstandpoint that this isn’t, or perhapsnshouldn’t be, a capitalist society.nIt is no accident that the heavy in mostnprime-time television programs is anbusiness executive. Invariably he isnamoral, if not immoral. Schmertz detectsna double standard among medianpeople, who are “perfectly happy tondiscuss morality with me—so long asnnnit’s my morality. Their morality, itnseems, is off-limits.”nSuch is the state of the media thatnwhat is, and only what is, sensationalnrepresents what is newsworthy. Youngnreporters are obsessed with the scoop,nthat story that will launch careers intonthe upper echelons of the news industry.nJournalists eager for a dramaticnstory often assume the worst about thenpeople or the companies they are askednto cover. Herb Schmertz has the fix onnthese people and scores points repeatedlynwith his analysis of their modusnoperandi.nAs important as this book is, it is notnwithout its flaws and questionablenjudgments. In discussing the effectnof liberal bias on reporting, Mr.nSchmertz agrees “that in most casesnthe journalist does not intend to exercisensuch a bias. In all probability, henhas no idea that this bias even entersninto his reporting.” Yet illustrationnafter illustration in the book point to anreporter who has an ax to grind.nWhere is the evidence that reportersncan maintain their objectivity? Neithernthe professionalism encouraged innuniversity schools of journalism or thenstandards among working newsmennhave proved adequate.nIn discussing public television, Mr.nSchmertz makes the sensible proposal—Inbelieve—that the governmentnshould not be in the business of supportingnthe arts and culture. But if thatnis true, it does not follow that “a farnbetter way to proceed is by having thengovernment issue the cultural equivalentnof food stamps.” Won’t the governmentnstill be involved in spendingnhuge sums of money for the arts?nNotwithstanding my trifling concerns,nthis book deserves attentionnfrom businessmen who are fed up withnthe moral posturing of media commentatorsnand self-appointed defendersnof the public “right-to-know.” Becausenfreedom of the press has grownninto a form of clerical privilege, journalistsnnow consider any limitation onntheir freedom as censorship. Beleaguerednbusinessmen will be glad thatnone of the most creative people in thencorporate community has now providednsome strategies for dealing withnmedia inquisitors.nHerbert London is dean of the GallatinnDivision at New York University.nJANUARY 1987 / 37n