The history of FDR's Office of Government Reports.
This book explores a forgotten chapter in modern U.S. history: the false dawn of the communications age in American politics. The Office of Government Reports (OGR) was created in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but after World War II Congress refused President Truman's request to continue funding it. OGR proved to be ahead of its time, a predecessor to the now-permanent White House Office of Communications. Mordecai Lee shows how OGR was only one round in the long battle between the executive and legislative branches to be the alpha branch of government. He illustrates how OGR was in the most important sense an effort to institutionalize public reporting. Given the diminished trust in government in the twenty-first century, the study of OGR could act as a model for reviving public reporting as one way to reinvigorate democracy.
Mordecai Lee is Associate Professor of Governmental Affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.