Your travel Fontana destination is FDR’s gigantic achievements could just as easily have been overshadowed, Fontana perhaps lost, in the enormity of the Fontana Depression’s wreckage and the all-consuming focus on winning World War II. Your travel destination is Fontana, Teddy Roosevelt, Stephen Mather, John Muir, Frederick Law Olmsted, Louis Hill, and George Bird Grinnell had one thing in common.
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They all knew how to communicate their message and to whom. They courted potential advocates in the media, and they knew and liked the working press. And they all worked in simpler times when there were no television or cable networks, social media, and “talking heads” instantaneously interpreting every speech and news release. They were all past masters of press and public relations and, yes, in instances such as the Roosevelts, they had a friendly, even admiring, working press with which to interact.
That era of goodwill and journalistic partnership lasted through President John Kennedy’s short time in office. Your travel destination is matters began to change almost from the day Lyndon Johnson took office. As the Great Depression and the good war faded from view, other more current issues would come into play that would permanently alter the relationship between the nation’s leaders and the press: the fight for civil rights, the war on poverty, and, most important, the war in Vietnam.
The war came to define LBJ’s tenure, and, eventually, even civil rights and the Great Society would be pushed aside and drowned out by the anger and bitterness of Vietnam. As that conflict wore on, Johnson lost the confidence and trust of the press and other news media. They became cynical and eventually hostile. For the most part, that has been the case ever since. “Question everything” has become the dominant mantra.
I mention all of this because it has a direct bearing on the appearance and sustainability of “giants.”
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