Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media

By Louis W. Liebovich | Go to book overview

public, because he could not radically change his ideas about government's role in relation to the private business sector and because he would not listen to those who advised him to adapt new media policies. Just as he was fortunate to have succeeded such undistinguished presidents as Coolidge and Harding, he was unfortunate in having preceded Franklin D. Roosevelt. A natural public speaker and a masterful manipulator of the White House press corps, Roosevelt used his personal talents to the fullest and learned by Hoover's unfortunate mistakes. He also enjoyed the support of a sympathetic Congress and could, for many years, blame his mistakes on Hoover and the Republicans, while erring without retribution.

No president after Herbert Hoover would ever be successful in promoting his policies or arousing the nation to his cause without first mastering techniques for controlling or influencing the media. Herbert Hoover was the first president to use modern public relations techniques, but the last of the old-line presidents, who relied upon party and partisan media support to build his career and accede to the White House. Other presidents, such as Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, would later harzbor deep-seated antipathies for reporters and the news media, but they would learn to mask their dislike and to incorporate successful mass media promotional techniques into their political strategies. The depression brought a new era and a new focus to the presidency. Only those who could influence reporters, look presidential, speak with authority, and appear sincere would be able to claim success in the White House. Herbert Hoover, a decent man with nineteenth-century values, was a 1ictim of circumstance and changing times to which he could not adjust.


NOTE
1.
Byron Price interview with Raymond Henle, director of the Herbert Hoover oral history project, March 21, 1969, Chesterton, N.Y., p. 5, oral history files, HHPL.

-211-

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Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue xi
  • Note xv
  • 1 - The Unlikely Road to Success 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Secretary of Commerce 29
  • Notes 50
  • 3 - The Campaign and Aftermath of the 1928 Election 57
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Lost Opportunities 83
  • Notes 97
  • 5 - The Crash 101
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - Radio, Newsreels, Newspapers, and the Presidency 131
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - The Bonus March 155
  • Notes 177
  • 8 - The Dawn of the Roosevelt Era 183
  • Notes 203
  • Epilogue 209
  • Note 211
  • Selected Bibliography 213
  • Index 217
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