Picks and Pans Review: The Presidency, the Press & the People

updated 04/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Mon., April 2, 9 P.M. ET)


Ten former White House press secretaries are gathered on a stage in San Diego. All are well-spoken, most are candid, some are pretty damn pompous as they discuss the job, its primary challenges and how it has changed over the years.

Bill Moyers, who worked for Lyndon Johnson, points out that the position has taken on a much more propagandistic aspect since the Nixon years. All agree that the press corps has grown more adversarial since Vietnam and Watergate. From Pierre Salinger (JFK) to Larry Speakes (Reagan), they bemoan how hard it is when you're locked out of the loop on policy but still have to stand up and take your lumps for it. At two hours, their discussion gets a little long-winded since it is rarely revealing. The best part of the show is watching what a wry, capable moderator John Chancellor is.

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