Monday, June 19, 2017

Does the President harbor a petty animus against the Press?

American Media and the Kennedy Administration worked hand-in-glove to create the Society-of-the-Spectable image of glamorous Camelot.   Further, even moreso than in the case of the crippled FDR, the media scrupulously hid JFK’s health-problems from the public -- much worse, as he took office, than FDR had at the beginning of his first term:  Had the public been aware of the many physical liabilities they were electing (cf. historian Robert Dallek’s 2002 book, re just how severe these were), that squeaky-close 1960 election might well have broken the other way.
Equally indulgent and gingerly was the media approach to Kennedy’s many flagrant affairs while occupying the Oval Office.   Yet for all that,  they didn’t get a pass from POTUS:

Kennedy … was angry again … He picked up the phone and got Newton Minow, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  “Did you see that goddamn thing on Huntley-Brinkley?  I thought they were supposed to be our friends.  I want you to do something about that.  You do something about that.”
-- Richard Reeves, President Kennedy:  Profile of Power (1993), p. 300

(That final implied threat, and its prose style, incidentally recalls that of Mafia dons.)

“The fucking Herald Tribune is at it again,” Kennedy said that morning in an angry telephone call to his press secretary.  Then he canceled the twenty-two Trib subscriptions  that came to the White House each morning.
-- Richard Reeves, President Kennedy:  Profile of Power (1993), p. 300

(One suspects, incidentally, that that last fit of pique, meant only that some hapless aide would have to drag himself early out of bed each morning, and drive off to a newsstand, to purchase 22 copies.)

No comments:

Post a Comment