The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.
[1.] I have a short statement here, which I will read to you. And Tony,1 for your benefit I will read it very slowly, because it isn't mimeographed.
1 Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.
Tony Vaccaro: Oh, thank you, sir. [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. You know, at the Chicago convention, I said the Republicans have nearly all the newspapers and magazines on their side.
Governor Stevenson, the other day, in Oregon, had something to say on this situation. I agree with what he said, and would like to add just what I mean by Republican control of the press.
In 1948, only 10.3 percent of the 1769 daily papers
Q. Mr. President, would you mind repeating that figure again ?
THE PRESIDENT. Sure, Tony. Only 10.3 percent of the 1769 daily papers in this country supported the Democratic candidate, and almost all the big circulation magazines were pro-Republican. I don't think the situation has changed much since then.
In Michigan in 1948, for instance, not one of the 53 daily papers supported the Democratic ticket.
Q. What year was that?
THE PRESIDENT. 1948. There wasn't a single newspaper in Michigan that supported the Democrats.
Q. How many daily--43 ?
THE PRESIDENT. 53. 53 daily papers.
In New York, only 4 percent of the papers were for the Democrats. In Pennsylvania, 1.5 percent. In Illinois, 3.4 percent. In Ohio, 4 percent. In California, 4.8 percent.
Now I will repeat those figures.
Q. Yes, please.
THE PRESIDENT. All right. You got the one about Michigan, where not one of the 53 daily papers supported the Democratic ticket? In New York only 4 percent were for the Democrats. In Pennsylvania only 1.5 percent. In Illinois only 3.4 percent. In Ohio only 4 percent. Going too fast?
Q. Yes, sir--you were.
THE PRESIDENT. Going too fast--all right. How far have you got?
Q. I have 4 percent--up to now.
THE PRESIDENT. Have you? All right. In California 4.8 percent--that's the last one. The one-party press situation is, of course, particularly tough for Democratic congressional candidates, who get even less opportunity to state their case in their local Republican papers than does the Democratic presidential candidate.
Now, I do not expect that listing these figures will result in any switches from the Republican to the Democratic Party. Newspapers-especially daily newspapers-have become big business, and big business traditionally has always been Republican.
I suggest that Americans bear this in mind, and add a dash of salt to every Republican helping of news, especially in those many papers and magazines which do not give a fair balance of news between the two major parties.
If democracy is to work properly, the people must be able to read and hear not only the Republican story but the Democratic as well. Our newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV have a great responsibility to be fair in this and in all other campaigns.
I want to add a comment to that, that I don't think it makes much difference what they do. I have had some experience with the situation for over 30 years, and as far as I can remember I never had the support of the metropolitan press in Missouri when I was running for the Senate, and I never
In 1948 I read you the figures, and I think it is a rather pitiful situation, the small amount of political influence that the great free press of the United States has.
It is a good thing for the country, and I am not worried about the situation, but I am calling these things--nailing this thing down, for the simple reason that I am very anxious to see in the news columns a fair approach to the thing.
I will say this, that fairness has been increasing since Governor Stevenson's speech. I am ready for questions.
Q. Well, Mr. President, the Democrats have been winning for 20 years.
THE PRESIDENT. That's right.
Q.--and I wonder if your figures don't mean that more readers read the news columns than they do the editorials?
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, yes. I have already said that. I don't give a "hoot" what they say on the editorial pages if they will just give me a fair deal in the news.
Q. Well, Mr. President, when you say that you don't give a "hoot" about the editorial pages, isn't that what your statement was aimed at, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. No, it was not. It was principally aimed at garbling the news, and there are papers in this country that do garble the news. There are a lot of first-class newspapers that do not, but there are a great many that do. I could specifically name them if it were necessary, but I won't. And you know who they are as well as I do.
[2.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you have any comment on Senator McCarthy's primary victory in Wisconsin?
THE PRESIDENT. No comment.
[3.] Q. Do you have any comment, sir, on Governor Shivers' 2 decision to support Eisenhower and Nixon?
THE PRESIDENT. No comment. When I get out on the road I'll tell you a lot of stories that will be of interest to you.
2 Governor Allan Shivers of Texas.
[4.] Q. In that connection, Mr. President, could you tell us something about your forthcoming western trip, where it may take you beyond Hungry Horse?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, it isn't quite ready for an announcement yet, but just as quickly as we get the thing properly lined up, I will see that you get mimeographed copies of the schedule, and you will have to take two or three clean shirts, because it is going to be pretty well stretched out. There won't be time to stop and get any laundry.
Q. I have half a dozen thousand-mile shirts. [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. So have I.
Q. Mr. President, can't you tell us whether or not you plan to go to the Southwest, since they have had this trouble down there?
THE PRESIDENT. The program is being outlined by the National Democratic Committee, and the President will go where he is requested to go by the committee.
Q. Well, Mr. President, it seems that you are going to do about as much campaigning as in 1948, is that about right?
THE PRESIDENT. No, no, it is not right, because in 1948 I started out on several nonpolitical trips in June, and then I started out on a real political tour on Labor Day, and I didn't stop.
Q. I meant the trips after Labor Day, would it be about as extensive--
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet, because the thing has not been completely outlined; and as soon as it is, why then you can compare them if you like, and I have got the figures on the other trips.
Q. Mr. President, can you give us any assurance as to how early you will be getting up in the morning for some of these whistlestop speeches? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't ever put any early-rising time on any of these things. I always get up when it is necessary. I think the earliest time we ever got up was about 6:30, and that wasn't bad.
Q. Mr. President, was that really necessary?
THE PRESIDENT. It carried Colorado, if I remember correctly. [Laughter]
[5.] Q. Mr. President, some of these House investigators looking into the Justice Department claim there has been some pressure from the White House on Caudle3 and others on the tax case. Do you know of any pressure like that?
THE PRESIDENT. I do not.
3Theron Lamar Caudle, former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Tax Division.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that some high-level British officials are coming here next year to discuss all manner of economic matters between the two countries. Do you know about that?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't been informed on that. I suppose they will wait for the new administration, because they know I won't be here next year.
Q. Is there some preparation on this side for such talks--
THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it.
Q.--a particular visit
THE PRESIDENT. --I know nothing about it.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on General Eisenhower's endorsement of Senator Jenner? 4
THE PRESIDENT. No comment.
4Senator William E. Jenner of Indiana.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, those figures you gave us on newspapers, were they percentages of circulation of the newspapers, or percentages of the newspapers--
THE PRESIDENT. Newspapers as a whole, 1700-odd of them. Those percentages were based on number of newspapers. When you get to circulation the percentage runs a great deal higher.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower said yesterday that he knew the temper of the troops, so to speak, and knows the temper of the people--had been out for a long time--he thought they were more interested in a change than in peace. What do you think about that ?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that's true. I think the thing that the country and the world is interested in is peace. That is what we have been aiming for, for 7 long years, and I am still hopeful that we will get it. We won't necessarily get it by the sort of change that they are talking about.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower spelled out a Republican farm program gram a few days ago. I wonder what you thought of it?
THE PRESIDENT. I am glad Ike is perfectly willing to take some of the principal planks in the Democratic platform and try to stand on them. It's a little late, though, for the Republicans to get on that platform.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, the Japanese wish to log a large section of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Do you approve of allowing them to form an American company ?
THE PRESIDENT. Ask that question again, I didn't hear it?
Q. The Japanese Government through its embassy here has informed the State Department and other agencies that it wishes to log a large section in the Tongass National Forest-which is southeastern Alaska largely. The--do you approve of letting them form an American company to do that ?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it, so I can't approve or disapprove. It has never been put up to me.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, I believe you said you didn't think we would get peace with the change that Eisenhower proposes?
THE PRESIDENT. That's right.
Q. That could be construed that you mean.--
THE PRESIDENT. An isolationist Congress is what he is proposing. That won't bring peace.
Q. That could be construed--I mean--
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say that at all. I said it would not bring peace. Don't misinterpret what I tell you. Don't try to put words in my mouth, I don't like that.
Q. Just to clarify--you said an isolationist Congress is what he is proposing, I don't think that will bring peace. Do you mean by his endorsement of some of the candidates ?
THE PRESIDENT. I mean if we elect a Republican Congress it will be isolationist. I am only going by their votes in Congress as a whole, in the minority that they are in now.
Q. Mr. President, could we quote "isolationist Congress" ?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes--isolationist Congress.
Q. Anything we have overlooked, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. I haven't anything else on my mind.
Reporter: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. It's all right.
Note: President Truman's three hundred and fifteenth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 11, 1951.
Harry S Truman, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231398