Brief History: Presidents and the Press

Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama marks veteran reporter Helen Thomas' 89th birthday.

Barack Obama: The inescapable president. From Good Morning America to televised town-hall meetings, ESPN to Men's Health, the leader of the free world misses few chances for free publicity. In his first six months in office, Obama gave three times as many interviews as either of his two immediate predecessors, according to the White House Transition Project. He's already held more prime-time news conferences than George W. Bush did in eight years.

Presidents weren't always so eager to meet the press. Thomas Jefferson had little use for the ink-stained wretches, believing newspapers offered "the caricatures of disaffected minds." During Theodore Roosevelt's...

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