Jonathan Daniels: Brickbats for Boswell

“If Harry Truman ever had a faithful Boswell, he was Jonathan Daniels, the even-voiced editor of the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer (circ. 113,277). Daniels, briefly Truman’s press secretary in 1945, was always welcomed at the White House as a friendly reporter. The President read, and edited in galley proof, large chunks of Daniels’  ‘The Man of Independence.’

“Last week Presidential Press Secretary Joseph Short angrily denounced an article by Daniels in Collier’s which…  attributed to the President some recommendations for reforming Congress. Most notable: limiting tenure to 12 years. Daniels pointed out that such a limitation would lop off such Democratic pillars as Speaker Sam Rayburn….

” ‘That subject,’ said Short, reading from notes he and Truman had prepared together, ‘was mentioned a long time ago in a casual, joking way during a confidential conversation…. The President never has considered the subject seriously . . . The article is an entirely misleading distortion….’

“Stung at being called a bad reporter, Daniels snapped back: ‘I wish . . . Joe Short had consulted the White House files . . . Letters . . . will show that the article was not even undertaken until I had written the President, asked him if I could see him to get the story, and had a reply that he would be glad to see me . . .’ ”

— From Time magazine, April 16, 1951