Creating “Camelot”: An Analysis of John F. Kennedy’s Public Relations Campaign

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Gardner, Erin
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
In 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy ran what would later be called the “most successful public relations campaign in political history” (Sheppard). This success, which has led to Kennedy’s legacy today, can be attributed to his charisma, the work of Pierre Salinger, his press secretary and former campaign manager, and his wife Jacqueline, who worked tirelessly to maintain the image of “Camelot.” The reputation of a politician has been vital to their success throughout the years, and good communication is the first step to success in the public sphere. A good public relations campaign can help build a positive reputation and generate media coverage that connects a politician to the public. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed” ("Public Relations”). A politician’s reputation is essential to his or her success, and public relations specialists can work with the media to help create and maintain that image. For Kennedy, the task of maintaining a positive relationship with the media was in the hands of Salinger, whom Kennedy called “the voice of the White House” (Sullivan).
public relations, social media, politics, campaign, John F. Kennedy, Presidents