A Timeline Of Presidential Communication

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Today marks 70 years since the first-ever televised presidential address was delivered by President Harry Truman, marking a defining moment in the way presidents communicate with the public. The Onion looks back at the most important moments in presidential communication.


February 4, 1789

George Washington makes history by becoming the first president to communicate with the public by opening his mouth and making words come out

January 9, 1790

In an effort to keep the public informed, Washington delivers the first-ever State Of The Union address after realizing that no one had been reading his Union Roundup monthly newsletter

March 4, 1865

Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address is interrupted by repeated shouts from the audience to do Gettysburg


May 10, 1877

The first White House telephone allows Rutherford B. Hayes to communicate seamlessly with anyone standing in Alexander Graham Bell’s living room


June 14, 1922

Warren G. Harding delivers the first presidential radio address, nicknaming himself “Dr. Hardball” and the American people “The Wolf Pack” for the occasion


September 6, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats grow in popularity when he begins talking about pressing national issues rather than just describing the fire


August 17, 1994

Bill Clinton sends the first-ever presidential email to John Glenn, warning of an imminent threat faced by the nation if he doesn’t send this email to 12 additional people


October 12, 2004

George W. Bush becomes the first president to appear in a three-episode arc of NCIS to promote his No Child Left Behind act


May 18, 2015

In a major social media milestone, Barack Obama establishes the now defunct @POTUS Twitter account


October 3, 2017

Future 48th president Hayley Gutierrez snapchats her best friend being so drunk that she throws up in a mailbox