Government and the Press

May 6, 1953

Report Outline
Government and the Press
Relations of Presidents with the Press
American Press and Presidential Politics
Special Focus

Government and the Press

Bass for Cordial Newspaper-Government Rrlation

When President Eisenhower was elected last November, it was the first time in 24 years that the candidate favored by a majority of the voters was also the candidate favored by a majority of the nation's daily newspapers. Both President Roosevelt and President Truman won strong voter support without strong newspaper support—in fact, despite strong newspaper opposition — and they consequently were able to twit the press about its apparent loss of political influence. Whether the results of the 1952 election signified a rebirth of that influence is doubtful. But the fact that the successful presidential candidate, unlike his immediate predecessors, had received overwhelming newspaper endorsement in the campaign at least appeared to foreshadow an era of cordial relations between the new Republican regime and the press.

President's Cooperative Attitude Toward the Press

Although the experience to date has been brief, the expectation of better press relations seems to have been justified so far as the White House is concerned. Before the administration was installed, there were rumors that the new President would dispense with regular press conferences and move press and radio correspondents out of their strategically located quarters in the west wing of the White House. Those rumors proved groundless. Presidential Press Secretary Hagerty announced the day after inauguration not only that the news conferences would be continued but also that their scope would be broadened. The President would meet the press regularly to answer questions, which need not be submitted in writing, and when occasion warranted, he would have members of the Cabinet present to supply additional information in their respective fields. It was hoped, moreover, that arrangements could be worked out to put the conferences on television from time to time.

Neither Cabinet members nor television cameras have yet put in an appearance, but the White House correspondents appear to be well satisfied with President Eisenhower's handling of the sessions so far held. At the first conference, Feb. 17, he left comparatively little time for questioning, but his own announcements and comments produced a wealth of news. And there has been no lack of news, or of opportunity for questioning, at subsequent conferences. Charles Lucey, Scripps-Howard political writer, said in an Apr. 7 dispatch that the President was “giving new life to the White House press conference as a means of telling Americans more than they've known for a long time about their government.”

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Sep. 20, 1996  Civic Journalism
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Aug. 24, 1990  Hard Times at the Nation's Newspapers
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Aug. 18, 1989  Libel Law: Finding the Right Balance
Jun. 06, 1986  Magazine Trends
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Mar. 11, 1977  News Media Ownership
Jun. 21, 1974  Access to the Media
Dec. 20, 1972  Newsmen's Rights
Aug. 16, 1972  Blacks in the News Media
Dec. 15, 1971  Magazine Industry Shake-Out
Jul. 18, 1969  Competing Media
Sep. 02, 1964  Politicians and the Press
Dec. 04, 1963  Libel Suits and Press Freedom
Jan. 09, 1963  Newspaper Mergers
Dec. 20, 1961  Reading Boom: Books and Magazines
Dec. 02, 1959  Privileged Communications
Apr. 25, 1956  Newsprint Deficit
May 06, 1953  Government and the Press
Sep. 21, 1948  Press and State
Sep. 05, 1947  Newsprint Supply
Mar. 26, 1947  Facsimile Newspapers
Dec. 10, 1945  World Press Freedom
May 01, 1940  New Experiments in Newspaper-Making
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