|Franklin D. Roosevelt in Philadelphia, PA||Challenger Thomas E. Dewey|
The Election of 1944 was not that memorable
and did not have any suspense, nor was the outcome in doubt. The Republicans
were faced with a daunting task of trying to oust a popular President in
a time the country was in the middle of the war. The only thing the Republicans
had going for them was the fact that President Roosevelt was very ill.
However, since the press refused to make public the extent of the Presidentís
illness, the public was unaware of the Presidentís illness. In desperation,
the Republicans turned to their usual charge of the Democrat being soft
on communist and the President was trying to become a dictator with little
The President continued to receive favorable coverage, for the most part, from the media who had an enormous respect for the President throughout his term because he continued his good treatment of the media. The fact that he became the longest serving president in the history of the U.S.A., having run and won four consecutive term for the Presidency despite his handicap, is largely attributed to the fact that his close relationship with the media and his good handling of himself in the media. The fact that he was receiving good coverage is not only because he was so well liked by the media, but also because the media was very respectful of most elected officials and believed all elected officials were basically good people and respected their privacy.
The media coverage of 1944 was basically the same as that of the 1940, and even the 1936. The only noticeable change was the different candidates running under the Republican Party. In 1944, it was Governor Deweyís turn to face the President and he tried his best to portray the President as being soft on Communism and being too ill to take care of the responsibilities of the office. The President, avoided campaigning for the most part, started a rigorous campaign after rumors started by the Republican began to circulate that he was close to dying despite his doctors warning against such things. By campaigning hard, he effectively dispelled the rumors of his sickness and convinced the voters that they should return him so that he could end the war with a win and restore peace. He also disavowed communism and convinced the voters that he was the only experienced person who could effectively deal with communism and the world after the war.
Governor Dewey had no answer to the Presidentís charge that he was not experienced enough to deal with the war. The people also did not buy his argument that the President was soft on communism or that he was too sick, especially after the newspapers and radio stations reported how vigorously the President campaigned. The reporters wrote most of what the candidates were saying without framing the news to fit their agenda and did not try to ascertain what the true nature of the Presidentís health was; they accepted the White Houseís version and reported not as a fact, but as what the White House said. Had the media received the Presidentís prognosis and reported it, the election might have had a different outcome. We might have had a President Dewey. However, because the media did not, the President won the election and died six month after the election.