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The Consequences of “Nonpublicity”

  • Stephen Ponder
Chapter

Abstract

William Howard Taft’s refusal to try to influence public opinion by managing the press, especially in his critical first year as president, had important consequences for the Taft administration and for the media presidency. Inspired by the supportive press coverage generated by the Roosevelt White House, an increasing number of executive branch administrators had hired publicists, usually former newspaper reporters, and created press bureaus to try to appeal to the public through the press themselves. When Taft, unlike Roosevelt, showed no inclination to restrict leaks or to try to coordinate executive branch publicity activity, the practices spread rapidly.

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Notes

  1. 4.
    For an analysis of Roosevelt’s conservation program, see Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Movement, 1890–1920 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    For a comprehensive discussion of this conflict, see James Penick Jr., Progressive Politics and Conservation: The Ballinger-Pinchot Affair (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968)Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    For the speeches, see Arthur Hooker, ed., Proceedings of the 17th National Irrigation Congress (Spokane.Wash.: Shaw and Borden, 1910). For the extensive news coverage of the conference, see the Washington Times, 10 August 1909, among others, in clippings, Ballinger Papers.Google Scholar
  4. 26.
    The agency’s role in suggesting and shaping the Glavis article is documented in letters from Overton Price to Pinchot, 14 September and 16 September 1909, in Ballinger File, Pinchot Papers. Norman Hapgood, The Changing Years (NewYork: Farrar and Rinehart, 1930), 183.Google Scholar

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© Stephen Ponder 1998

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  • Stephen Ponder

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