Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

November 29, 1929

THE PRESIDENT. I am expecting Mr. Byrd to fill your columns in the morning, so that I won't have to do anything for you today.

THE PRESS AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE

There is a purely personal note that I wanted to sound with you about this business situation--not for publication. All of you have been extremely helpful, and the press, in fact, has I think, performed one of the most unique services that has been undertaken in a great many years, in a general restoration of confidence.

The handling of public psychology in a problem of this kind, however, is a little difficult. If we overdo our job we may create a sense that the situation is more serious than it really is. There is always a very difficult point of balance, and I only wanted to make a minor suggestion to you, and that is that hereafter if you could confine yourselves merely to the statement of the things that actually happen; that when the government and municipalities and various sources report that they have gone out to do something, that would be the most helpful form of news on the subject. So far as our activities are concerned, we have developed an organization in the Department of Commerce to cooperate with the State and municipal and Federal Government so far as public works are concerned. And the Chamber of Commerce, as you know, is developing an executive committee to coordinate the work in the business world. These two organizations will follow up and see that those things take place that have been promised to us.

And I am anxious that our form of news be not so much any exaggerated statement of items as it is a definite statement of accomplishment without overdoing the situation. There is a delicate balance in it, but I will leave that to you. We probably won't arrive either way 100 percent, but we will get somewhere with it.

I am making that suggestion to you. It is not my intention to lecture [p.402] the press on what they should do, but you have shown a cooperative spirit in this problem of nationwide importance, and I merely make this suggestion on the form of news. It is not censorship.

COMMANDER BYRD

Q. Have you heard from Commander Byrd ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't had a word. I am in hopes he will give you something to fill the papers with in the morning, successfully.

Note: President Hoover's seventieth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 29, 1929.

Comdr. Richard E. Byrd had taken off from Little America on November 28 for a flight to the South Pole.

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209033

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