Newstalgia Reference Room - A Truman Press Conference in 1952. One of the weekly press conferences during the Truman Years. This one covering the upcoming 1952 Presidential election and the prevailing question whether or not Truman would run.
Today most people naturally assume Presidential Press Conferences were always a thing of national record - something broadcast to the American people on a regular basis since the earliest days of broadcasting.
Not so. In fact, it wasn't until the Eisenhower Administration in the mid-1950's did anything remotely resembling a broadcast Press conference exist.
Prior to that they were recorded only as a means of verifying a statement and never broadcast. Because of that, they were much more relaxed, jovial and off-the-cuff affairs - on occasion they were free-for-all's, but in retrospect they are important glimpses of the less formal side of the White House and its interaction with the Press corps.
This Press Conference, given on January 10, 1952 focuses mostly on the upcoming election. In January, it was still not decided whether Truman would run for re-election or not. Speculation was General Eisenhower would, as a Republican and the Press tried every way imaginable to get a statement out of Truman over his decision to run.
Technically speaking - because the press conferences were informal affairs, not a lot of importance was placed on getting clearly asked questions. Subsequently, the volume levels fluctuate all over the place and it's a little hard in places to make out what was being said. Some of the references are obscure and germane only
to the Beltway in 1952. But for the most part it's an informative, rare look into the White House before the era of high-tech and how much, in retrospect, has changed as the result.
Here is the complete Press Conference of President Truman from January 10, 1952.