FDR and the News Media Information

"Power was at the heart of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's relationship with the media: the power of the nation's chief executive to control his public messages versus the power of a free press to act as an independent watchdog over the president and the government. Here is a compelling study of Roosevelt's consummate news management skills as a key to FDR's political artistry and leadership legacy. [The author] explores FDR's adroit handling of the media within the classic conflict between confidentiality and openness in a democratic society. She explains how Roosevelt's manipulation of the press and public opinion changed as his administration's focus shifted from economic to military crises. During the depression FDR's leadership mode was flexible and open, seeking new answers for problems that had not responded to conventional solutions. Coreespondingly, his dealings with the media were frank and freewheeling. During the perilous years of World War II, when invasion was a legitimate fear and information could be used as a weapon, FDR was forced to be more secretive and less candid. Powerful publishers might have despised FDR, but Winfield shows how he bypassed them. Roosevelt elevated his personal relations with the working press to an unrivaled level of goodwill. He also held a record number of press conferences, nearly two per week during his twelve years in the White House. His famed fireside chats were carefully rationed for maximum impact. His press secretary, Steve Early, proved expert in promoting good press rapport. Winfield includes anecdotes and assessments culled from FDR's personal communications with journalists of the period from diaries and accounts of those who worked closely with FDR. She also gleans insights from the 1933-45 press conference and radio transcripts, journalists' responses, news articles, memoirs, letters to the White House, and the era's newspapers"--Jacket.

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