Keeping reporters in place
White House news conferences have long been governed by a Darwinian law: survival of the loudest. To get the President's attention, reporters shouted and waved like unruly kindergartners.
But at President Reagan's first press conference last week, the normally obstreperous pack was suddenly tame.
The turnabout resulted from new ground rules laid down by White House Press Secretary James Brady. Reporters would please stay seated and raise their hands to ask questions; anyone shouting at the President would be ignored. Said Brady: "I'm asking you to join us in an effort to restore confidence, dignity and decorum to this institution."