Magazine article American Journalism Review

Exhibit Explores Tension between Press, Candidates

Magazine article American Journalism Review

Exhibit Explores Tension between Press, Candidates

Article excerpt

Just in time for this year's election, the Newseum presents its latest exhibit, an exploration of the enduring love-hate relationship between U.S. presidential candidates and the press.

"Reporters and presidential candidates can't live with or without each other," said Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and guest curator for "Every Four Years: Presidential Campaign Coverage 1896-2000."

"But in a democracy, which depends on the reporters carrying the story of the campaigns and candidates to the voters, some form of a relationship is absolutely essential," she said.

Speaking Feb. 9 at the Newseum, Goodwin said that relationship can be difficult to cultivate. Presidential candidates always have struggled to project a particular image, for example, while journalists strive to report how they and the voters see the candidates.

During Campaign 2000, "We've talked about image over and over again, ranging from George Bush's smirk, to Al Gore's continually changing wardrobe to reflect his earth tones, to poor Steve Forbes' awkward facial expressions," she said.

The news media's concern with image dates back at least to William Howard Taft, who weighed 350 pounds, Goodwin said. President Theodore Roosevelt, serving as Taft's campaign adviser in 1908, told the candidate never to appear on a horse "because it [would] be cruel to the horse and dangerous for (your image)."

Goodwin said reporters and candidates also struggle with the definition of "what should be private and what should be public, and what is inappropriate for reporters to cover. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.