|Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson, 1965|
The press and the White House have had an adversarial relationship for many years. Some believe that it all started with Watergate, the political scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974. However, the relationship had already begun to change during the 1960s when the term “credibility gap,” describing skepticism over the veracity of the Johnson administration’s public assessments of the Vietnam War, came into widespread use. It may be impossible to pinpoint an exact date, but signs of strain surfaced sometime after the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed at Da Nang in March 1965, marking the first large-scale deployment of the war.
|White House Press Room, 1965|
Dated August 27, 1964, the menu below comes at the end of the blissful era when the White House press corps could be depended upon not to photograph FDR in his wheel chair, or dig too deeply into JFK’s peccadilloes. Featuring a typewriter and microphone in the spot normally reserved for the presidential seal, the humorous menus were made by the White House staff for members of the press covering the last day of the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. (President Johnson accepted his party’s nomination that day; it was also the president’s 56th birthday.) Ironically, the breakfast menu opens with a “Campaign Promise” and ends with a “Wake-up Special.”