Few Presidents have had the television experience and raw communication talent of Ronald Reagan, the quintessential "great communicator." Not only did Ronald Reagan come to the White House with considerable television skill but he came at a time when a well- entrenched legacy of automatic special television access cleared the way for his video magic. Unlike Lyndon Johnson, who brutally pushed the networks to their limits, Ronald Reagan gingerly reached for maximum exposure while leaving the networks wanting more. As Roosevelt and Kennedy before had done, President Reagan understood the pitfalls of overexposure. While Ford and Carter had lost much of their clout with the networks by appearing weak and vulnerable, Ronald Reagan retained a strong aura of confidence.
Like his predecessors, Ronald Reagan gave television priority in the media mix, surrounding himself with people who understood how powerful an agenda-setting tool television could be. As NBC diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb explained, television never took a back seat to anything at the Reagan White House, "This particular Administration begins its day by deciding how it will look on television at 7 o'clock that night. All activity at the White House stops at 6:59, while the three buttons are hit so that they can see the success of their work in the course of the day." 1
More times than not, the slant of White House stories was carefully orchestrated by Administration "spin doctors" who relentlessly and aggressively pushed their company line to the major media. If White House media experts could not affect the spin of a story through selective leaks
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Television Access and Political Power:The Networks, the Presidency, and the "Loyal Opposition". Contributors: Joe S. Foote - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 77.
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.