Sunday, February 21, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1866


Washington, D.C.  (JFK+50)At an afternoon news conference fifty-three years ago today, February 21, 1963, held at the State Department Auditorium here in the Nation's Capital, reporter May Craig* asked JFK the following question...

 "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?"

JFK responded...

"You are charging us with something, Mrs. Craig, and 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, did something rarely, if ever, done before in the history of presidential news conferences, he asked the reporter a question...

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

Mrs. Craig, somewhat taken aback, countered...

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

JFK laughingly responded...

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

Then, all the reporters laughed.

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."

*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.

**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.

May Craig & Soldier (1940)
Library of Congress Image