1961 January 25

Controversy Sparked Over “Managed News” by the Kennedy Administration


Just days after President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, his press secretary Pierre Salinger announced that the administration would release information only “within the confines of national security.” The announcement sparked controversy over “managed news” by the Kennedy administration. The most famous incident over Kennedy’s attempt to manage the news was his speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) on April 27, 1961, “The President and the Press,” in which he called for voluntary media censorship of national security issue.

The controversy continued to simmer. On December 6, 1962, a Pentagon official claimed that the government had a “right to lie to protect itself” (without specifying whether he meant protecting national security from real threat or just protecting the administration from embarrassment).

Read Salinger’s version of the controversy: Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (1966)

Read an account of the New York Times, presidents, and the CIA: Harrison Salisbury, Without Fear or Favor: The New York Times and its Times (1980)

Watch Salinger discuss Kennedy’s speech on Firing Line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FhH351wYvk

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