Thursday, February 21, 2013


February 21, 2013


Washington, D.C.  (JFK+50) 50 years ago today, at his afternoon press conference at the State Department, President John F. Kennedy was accused of managing the news* by reporter May Craig.**

*The Encyclopedia of American Journalism says "all (presidential) administrations can be faulted for trying to manage the news, especially if the phrase...refers to seeking favorable coverage."

Mrs. Craig asked....

"Mr. President, the practice of managing news is attributed to your administration.  Mr. (Pierre) Salinger*** says he has never had it defined.
Would you give us your definition and tell us why you find it necessary to practice it?"

President Kennedy responded...

"You are charging us with something, Mrs. Craig, & then you are asking me to define what you are charging me with.  Let me just say, we've had very limited success in managing the news, if that's what we've been trying to do."

Then, JFK, turned the tables by asking for a response from the reporter.

President Kennedy said...

"Perhaps you would tell us what it is that you object to in our treatment of the news."

Mrs. Craig made sure the President wanted her to respond & then said...

"Well, I don't believe in managed news at all.  I thought we ought to get everything we want."

JFK laughed & said...

"Well, I think that you should too, Mrs. Craig.  I'm for that."

Then, all the reporters laughed.

                                                       You Tube Video

*Elisabeth May Adams Craig (1889-1975) was a reporter for 5 different Gannett newspapers based in Maine.  She was Washington correspondent for the papers & wrote a column titled "Inside Washington."

She was always wearing hats & gloves "so that people would remember" her.  Mrs. Craig once served as president of the Womens National Press Club.

               May Craig & Soldier (1940)
               Library of Congress Image

**Pierre Salinger (1925-2004) was born in San Francisco & served in the US Navy in WWII.  He graduated from the University of SF in 1947 & became an editor for Colliers Magazine.

Salinger was press secretary for JFK & LBJ, resigning in March 1964.  He worked with RFK in 1968 & moved to France after Bobby's death.

                               Pierre Salinger