chapter  4
16 Pages

Presidents and News in the Television Age

Today the president and the news media jointly occupy center stage. "The president of the United States ordinarily is brought to you by the news media," scholars Michael Grossman and Martha Kumar write. "Images of the White House produced by strategists who advise the president reach their audience after they are processed in the great news factories and fine craft shops of print, broadcast, and television journalism."l

As noted in the previous chapters, the press has always played an important part in presidential governance, but over the past half-century, its impact has grown considerably. The Founding Fathers would spin around in their graves if they observed the role that the news media play in presidential decision-making. For today, as former defense secretary Richard Cheney noted, "there is no way to do this job as president if you are not willing to think about the media as part of the process in the same way that Congress is part of the process. Consciously or unconsciously, the press often b . h . ,,2 ecomes an actor m t e scenano.