spar, you can often use the early contact as a benchmark by which to
assess later contact. In the early days we see how a freshly minted
president would prefer to deal with the press, all controversy aside.
Correspondent questions are more creative in the early days; reporters
have to work harder on their questions in the absence of obvious controversy. It was not difficult to come up with a good consistency question
when Ronald Reagan announced he sold arms to Iran secretly. Formulating a question that would make news in early 1981, at the outset
of Reagan's first term, was a much more difficult task.
Press conference agendas run the gamut from single agendas to institutional agendas, where there seems to be no agenda at all. But in all
cases, it is the agenda of the president and the agenda of the reporters
that combine to form the agenda of the press conference. It is incumbent
on the critic to discover the agenda in order to assess whether or not
the president has been persuasive and the press has performed its proper
Gerald Ford, A Time to Heal ( New York: Harper and Row, 1979), p. 153.
"The President's News Conference of August 28, 1974", in Public Papers
of Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, August 9 to December 31, 1974
( Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975), p. 56.
8 Ford discussed the influence the press conference had on his decision to
pardon Richard Nixon in ibid., pp. 155-160. 9
"U.S. Military in Grenada, Reagan, Charles Announce", Congressional
Quarterly Weekly Report 41, no. 43 ( October 29, 1983): 2258.
"Reagan Statement on Marine Base Bombing", Congressional Quarterly
Weekly Report 41, no. 43 ( October 29, 1983): 2256-2258.
"Text of Reagan's Nov. 19 News Conference", Congressional Quarterly
Weekly Report 44, no. 47 ( November 22, 1986): 2947.
"Text of March 19 News Conference: The President and the Press Focus
on Iran-Contra Affair", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 45, no. 12 ( March
21, 1987): 532.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Presidential Press Conferences:A Critical Approach.
Contributors: Carolyn Smith - Author.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1990.
Page number: 91.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.