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Press Cover Ups: The White House

The notion of journalists covering up the news rather than covering it is nothing new, but sometimes they actually do not involve a crime or dishonorable conduct.

You can hardly turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without reading or hearing about another scandal involving the illegal or immoral antics of elected officials. What you may not realize is that this trend is not new. In the past, some major news stories were buried by the people who were sworn to expose them. Were their reasons valid? You decide.

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Ronald Reagan’s Senility 

Reporters covering the Reagan White House were undoubtedly enchanted by the charismatic and garrulous chief executive. They attributed his occasional gaffes to his busy schedule and his studied persona of being a manager rather than a detail man. If they noticed the symptoms indicating the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, they said nothing. It is probable that the correspondents in Washington D.C. realized that something was wrong, however, due to the nature of their profession.

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John F. Kennedy’s Addison’s Disease 

In addition to the World War II back injury that occasionally plagued him, President John F. Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease which is a disorder of the adrenal system that affects digestion and causes a brownish coloration to the skin. Although it isn’t fatal, it is uncomfortable. The fact that JFK had the disease was never reported, but then again, neither were his numerous affairs.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Infantile Paralysis 

Although the public knew that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had developed polio in 1921, newspaper photo editors honored White House requests not to publish pictures of the president being carried by his aides, in his wheelchair, his leg braces or on crutches. As a matter of fact, it was a general rule that reporters covering Washington, D.C. in the 1950’s systematically refused to report which elected officials drank, philandered, or got arrested unless (as one correspondent explained) “it affected his ability to carry out his job.”

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Woodrow Wilson’s Stroke 

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a severe stroke during his presidency in September of 1919. President Wilson was oppossed to the idea of allowing Vice President Thomas R. Marshall being sworn is as chief executive. Because he wanted to continue in office, he allowed his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt to assume many of his duties, which was in violation of the United States Constitution. The extent of her involvement was never determined. However, it is certain that she did so for the duration of his presidency which did not end until 1922. In fact, there are several references about her being the “first female president” and the “secret president”. Click here visit her biography page at the White House Government Site.

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  1. Dialga

    On December 5, 2008 at 11:22 am


    You can’t trust politicians. They promise you the world to get your vote, and then they don’t deliver when the time comes. The way I see it, the goal is to pick the politician who’ll break the least number of promises when he/she gets elected into power.

    As far as the news networks are concerned, I agree fully. They don’t tell the entire truth to the public.

  2. Olivia Reason

    On January 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm


    I don’t these things were unethical-except for JFK’s affairs. I always thought FDR keeping his paralysis under wraps was brave- a less scrupulous personmight have milked their disability.
    And I had no idea about Woodrow WIlson’s wife running the presidency. I love new historical facts…

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