The Prez Needs a Press Agent

By Butters, Patrick | Insight on the News, June 16, 1997 | Go to article overview

The Prez Needs a Press Agent


Butters, Patrick, Insight on the News


Peyton Place has nothing on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- a den of murder ... and worse.

The president of the United States always gets his share of bad press, but this is ridiculous. Recent movies and books have characterized the chief executive as a murderer, rapist, cuckold, philanderer and wife beater. "We're not really talking about the Michael Douglas type," says Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution, referring to the squeaky-clean hero of The American President.

Take Sandra Brown's Exclusive, for instance. The plot revolves around first lady Vanessa Merritt, who becomes a martyr after her child dies of sudden infant death syndrome. When a reporter discovers the child was murdered, President David Malcomb Merritt (a womanizing cad) tries to silence his wife with the aid of the White House physician.

Former White House aide-turned-author Douglas MacKinnon has the president abusing his wife, the first lady sleeping with his press secretary and the vice president threatening to blackmail everybody in his book, First Victim. In David Baldacci's novel Absolute Power, a woman is murdered by the Secret Service after the inebriated leader of the free world slaps her around.

Absolute Power has been turned into a movie, joining a slew of cinematic slights against the office of the presidency. Wesley Snipes plays a D.C. homicide detective and Diane Lane is a Secret Service agent in Murder at 1600, in which Oval Office intercourse leads to foul play. James Garner and Jack Lemmon play ex-presidents who uncover a bad secret about the sitting chief exec in My Fellow Americans. Charlie Sheen is a George Stephanopoulos-like aide chased by a White House hit man in The Shadow Conspiracy.

"I think this is just the typical faddishness of Hollywood -- the blackbird theory," says Hess. "One flies on the telephone wire and they all fly on the telephone wire. There will be one or two successful movies and some real clinkers, but I don't think Hollywood is more fascinated with the presidency than they are in the extraterrestrial or the lonesome-cowboy movies in their days."

MacKinnon thinks the subject is ripe because "people in general are fed up with politicians. Obviously, the No. I politician in the country is the president, so why not make him a little twisted or evil? It's more fun."

While it's easy to point to President Clinton's troubled White House as the source behind the trend, the presidency long has been a favorite target of writers and playwrights. Lyndon Baines Johnson was spoofed in the theatrical satire MacBird, and Richard Nixon had to endure the TV miniseries Washington Behind Closed Doors, which starred Jason Robards as the sinister Richard Monckton. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Prez Needs a Press Agent
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.