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Chapter Thirteen. Theodore Roosevelt and the Press

John M. Thompson

Subject Media Production and Content » Journalism
History » Political History
Study of History » Historiography

Period 1000 - 1999

People Roosevelt, Theodore

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444331400.2011.00015.x


I can't keep hating him if I get within twenty feet of him, and, damn it, I'm always forgetting and doing it accidentally, He's spoiling my story.” (James J. Montague, reporter for an unnamed anti-Roosevelt newspaper – quoted in Thompson 1929 , 112) From his earliest days as a politician, Theodore Roosevelt had a talent for attracting the attention of reporters and their editors. They could not resist his fearlessness, personified by his willingness to speak truth to power; his energy and enthusiasm, which were infectious and apparently limitless; his formidable intelligence; and his morality and zeal for reform, which he carried like a banner. The man was simply newsworthy. TR learned almost immediately how to employ this gift for two interrelated purposes: to gain publicity for himself and to promote his agenda. These goals could be accomplished in a number of ways. Sometimes it was sufficient to give an unexpected or fiery speech or to introduce a bill or resolution which challenged powerful interests. For example, in March 1883, as an assemblyman in the New York state legislature, he introduced a resolution calling for an investigation into allegations of corruption involving a Justice of the state supreme court, T.R. Westbrook, a wealthy financier, Jason “Jay” Gould, and the sale of the Manhattan Elevated Railway. This resolution, and the tenacity with which TR sought to implement ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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