Our Observations

A Change at the Top: A Presidential Spokesperson Departs

Herbert Hoover appointed the first White House press secretary, giving George Akerson the title 85 years ago. Roughly 30 people have held the position since. Marlin Fitzwater was the last person to last through an entire presidential term, serving George H.W. Bush through 1993, after also serving at the end of the Ronald Reagan presidency. For the last three presidents, it's been a bit more of a revolving door.

Jay Carney today, May 30, became the latest to announce his departure. It's easy to speculate on reasons why press secretaries leave sooner these days: a changing press corps, more public intensity on politics, instant global communication that changes an administration's messaging in a moment's notic,e and the lure of better economic and lifestyle opportunities. And there's the scrutiny. Everything from Carney's style of glasses to his facial expressions were fodder for the press. 

For communicators in public service, the position of press secretary has long been considered the pinnacle of the profession. Now, we suspect, many more would be hesitant to embrace the mantle, knowing the heavy price to be paid. Still, it's the ultimate job serving the nation's top elected official.

We wish Carney's replacement, Josh Earnest, all the best as he steps behind the podium, and in front of the press corps.

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