Monday, February 12, 2007

Wartime Announcements

This article looks at how various presidents have broken bad news in war to the American public. I just pulled a few examples from the article for you all!

FDR promised openness:
Most importantly, he promised the people openness, as much as possible. In his words: "Your Government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst ... You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your Government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us."

Lincoln kept in mind the fact that the Union great outnumbered the Confederacy:
It is also testimony to his optimism that even after a loss, Lincoln was able to make this observation: "If the same battle were to be fought over again, every day, through a week of days, with the same relative results, the army under Lee would be wiped out to its last man, the Army of the Potomac would still be a mighty host, the war would be over, the Confederacy gone, and peace would be won at a smaller cost of life."

Johnson used TV to help him deliver his own bad news:
Johnson was not without his own uses for TV. He could be short, precise, and sarcastic with his comments, and he could also time his messages. After months of deliberation and meetings over the situation in Vietnam, LBJ’s task would be to break the bad news of a dramatic increase in troop strength - from 70,000 to 125,000. The televised address came midday on July 28, rather than prime-time in the evening, coupling news of a fifty-thousand-man increase with another reiteration of why America was involved in Vietnam.

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