ERIC Number: ED232151
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Bess Truman and the Press: Case Study of a First Lady as Political Communicator.
Beasley, Maurine H.
Unlike her energetic predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady Bess Truman sought to remain outside the public spotlight. While Mrs. Roosevelt held weekly press conferences for women reporters, Mrs. Truman held all press conferences somewhat under protest, and in absentia, with questions filtered through her social secretary. As she consequently became an unwilling party to the political communication process, reporters were forced to write stories that stressed the commonplace. With portrayal of Mrs. Truman left mainly to the press, she received more kindly treatment than she might have been expected to: instead of presenting her as noncooperative, reclusive, or even hostile, the press chose to deal with her performance in more positive terms, referring to her as independent and an individualist. Some editors found Mrs. Truman a welcome relief from Mrs. Roosevelt, and apparently without conscious design, her image was acceptable to the majority of Americans, who saw nothing wrong with a small-town matron being devoted to her husband and refusing to express her own ideas in public. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Press Conferences; Roosevelt (Eleanor); Truman (Bess)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).