Senate historian considers the press

Long-time Senate historian Donald Ritchie has a lot to say about dealing with the press in an article that contains a few surprises.
Some recent journalists seem never to have taken a college course in history or political science. During President Clinton’s impeachment, for instance, a reporter called me to ask breathlessly: “Who was Andrew Johnson and why was he impeached?” You wind up offering a History 101 lecture, and hope that they are taking good notes.
This was also a surprise to me:
Lincoln’s biographers, for instance, have long dismissed the idea that President Abraham Lincoln met with a congressional committee to defend his wife’s expenditures of public funds at the White House. A presidential appearance before a congressional committee was a significant issue for the Historical Office. The chief source of the story was the memoirs of the Boston Journal correspondent Benjamin Perley Poore, who certainly liked a good story and may have embellished them as he retold them. But Poore had a professional reputation to uphold and his contemporaries in the press would have called him to task for fabrication. Instead of rejecting his story as myth, we hunted for corroborating evidence and eventually found an article in the New York Herald, dated February 13, 1862 that stated: "President Lincoln today voluntarily appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. . . ."