The White House as a Black Box

The author started off the reading by referencing the Cold War and how we learned much more about the Soviet Union after it collapsed. This whole idea of a black box. He connected this to present day of the White House. He asked do we know what is happening in the White House? This has been a part of our history not always know. He pointed that now preisdents are moving away from the trend of recording what happens in the white house. He pointed a key factor for this type of study is oral history interviews. The primary sources for the behavior of the white house is quite limited. The press is very important with this as well. It is a way to connect the American people about what is happening. The author states the work of the press does 2 main things which is 1. To dig into a story more and 2. To give a more complete picture of what is happening. The official communication is considered an output of the black box. What we see in the press is more from an investigation of what is happening. The author than takes about leaking information from the white house. It could have the potential to show what is happening but could also be false. You also do not know who is the source is from the leak. Another way to understand is to look at the internal paperwork. Part of the reasons we know them is from official investigators having presidents make documents official. The author then discusses FOIA and how this a good way for people to get information about the presidents. Other good sources are memoirs because rely on their own paperwork and a big one is oral history. Oral history has been assisting the anthropology and sociology field to help construct social behaviors. Oral history can be a substitute for what written history does not have. While oral history is wonderful it does have a few faults. An example is humans sometimes cannot remember everything well. Details can be left out. This is also a chance for people just to talk about themselves. This practice of oral history did not start till about the 1960’s. In conclusion that oral history is a good short  term solution to the problem. I really enjoyed this article because it is important to think about what happens in the building that a lot of the decisions are made that affect us.

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