Good PR Can Guarantee High Job Approval Ratings and High Stock Prices What government and the private sector can learn from one another
Eisenhower replied wearily, “I know, I know. But I will not impose any censorship on the story. No security is involved.”
The correspondents assured Eisenhower that they believed it was up to the Army to handle the story as it saw fit.
“I appreciate that, boys,” Eisenhower said, “but I still won’t order any censorship ban.”
According to Reynolds, the sixty-odd correspondents then agreed among themselves that they were satisfied with Eisenhower’s decision, and that it would be playing into Goebbels’s hands to publish the story. They imposed a censorship on themselves for what they believed to be the good of their country, and loyally observed their own ban until Drew Pearson broke the story [three months later].
Media Relations and Job Approval Ratings
Eisenhower came into the White House with a reputation of being absolutely straight with the media, and the press treated him well. His job approval rating never fell below 50 percent.
The press also loved Eisenhower’s successor, John F. Kennedy, the first president to hold televised press conferences. Kennedy was young, good looking, fast on his feet and often very funny. In the past 50 years, Eisenhower and Kennedy were the only presidents whose job approval rating never fell below 50 percent.
Following Kennedy, presidents started miscuing and began to play fast and loose with the media, whereupon the short swords came out and have been out ever since.
Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War generated a great deal of mistrust. By the time Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein drove Nixon from office, the media’s distrust of government had grown exponentially, and every subsequent administration has discovered that contentious relations with the press have resulted in low job approval ratings.
With low job approval ratings, it is difficult—if not impossible—to govern effectively, especially when Congress distances itself from an unpopular president during election season.