How the Fireside Chat Provided a Model for Calming the Nation that President Trump Failed to FollowRoundup
tags: FDR, presidential addresses, Franklin Roosevelt, Donald Trump, Mass Communication
Michael J. Socolow is Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.
The president of the United States was speaking to the nation live, on television, from the Oval Office. His topic was the new coronavirus, and his mission was clear.
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” he assured the American citizenry, “and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.”
Yet, when the brief address was over, his aides needed to quickly clarify what he had said because it failed to align with the reality of the policies his administration planned to take. And the following morning, stock trading was halted 38 minutes into the daily session when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7%, demonstrating that the financial markets he sought to calm remained troubled by his leadership.
In other words: President Donald Trump’s March 11 speech failed to fulfill the most important goals of a live, prime-time broadcast address from the White House.
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