Riley: The White House as a Black Box

Scholars have struggled since Nixon’s presidency in having access to Presidential records.  Scholars tend not to have access to documents until a President is out of office, or if the records have been released by the government to appease the American population.  Since Watergate, US presidents have been wary of releasing all of their information and documents. This led to an executive order made by George W. Bush that limited the amount of documents that are released and the access the public has to them.  Riley mentions how the White House uses press conferences to reveal information, but notes how they typically have a hold on the information that is spread. This leads some journalists to claim that they have ‘unidentified sources” which can cause a problem with the legitimacy of pieces.  Due to the lack of available documents, scholars are now relying on an oral history (public speeches, memoirs) to piece together the information of presidencies.

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