April 13, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SEVENTH CONVERSATION XIV
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on the seventh conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.
The seventh conversation was recorded on June 3, 1964.
Arthur Schlesinger asks:
“What about the President & the press….?”
Jacqueline Kennedy answers:
“I suppose so many of our friends before….were in the press…Rowlie Evans, Hugh Sidey (&) Bill Lawrence.* You know, he basically liked them.”
“I always thought in Washington, politics & the press–you’re both sort of involved in doing something.
So many of (Jack’s) friends were there.
He liked the kind off badinage & everything you could have with them. Much more than his colleagues in Congress.”
Mrs. Kennedy goes on to say that people criticized her husband as being thin-skinned regarding his treatment by the press, but she disagrees.
She says that one night Ben Bradlee came over & was “in a rage” because Ralph de Toledano** had written an article critical of Bradlee.
Jackie Kennedy says:
“Jack just sort of….leaned back & looked amused & said, ‘Well, see how you fellows feel when something unfair is written.”
She says that JFK admitted the cancelling of his Herald Tribune subscription was a mistake.
A footnote in the book relates that the reason for the cancellation was criticism of JFK to boost Nelson Rockefeller’s candidacy in 1964.
*Rowland Evans of the New York Herald Tribune, Hugh Sidey of Time Magazine, & Bill Lawrence of the New York Times.
**Ralph de Toledano (1916-2007) was founder of the conservative William F. Buckley’s National Review who was close to Nixon.
Once at a press conference, President Kennedy was asked what he thought of the press “in general.”
JFK quipped “I’m reading more & enjoying it less” & then added that he would “read & talk to himself about it” but otherwise “we will work together for a period then go our separate ways.”