Huffpost Politics

How Nixon Ruined The Relationship Between The White House And The Press

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The White House has become much more secretive and selective about what it communicates to the public over the years, and President Richard Nixon could be to blame.

Prior to Nixon, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was known for facilitating a give-and-take relationship between the White House and the press. Huffington Post Editorial Director Howard Fineman explained to HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps that FDR frequently invited reporters to stand with him around his desk.

"Those were the days when presidents used the press corps as megaphones for their ideas, and as debating societies in fact, and as ways to get a sense of what public opinion was," Fineman said.

In audio footage that can be heard in the video above, Nixon threatens to fire his press secretary Ron Ziegler if he doesn't ensure all press be kept out of the White House.

“I want it clearly understood from now on, ever, no reporter from the Washington Post is ever to be in the White House. Is that clear?” Nixon says.

Fineman points all fingers to Nixon for the White House becoming increasingly hush-hush over the years.

"Nixon is at the dawn of the shutting out, the complete shutting out of the press corps from the White House in many respects, to the point where people are begging for background interviews, which used to be assumed to be on the record in many cases," Fineman said.

Watch the full conversation about the power of the White House press secretary here.

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