Bear at the White House! Turn on the radio!
Today, Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. issued a proclamation declaring September 9, 2012 as Admission Day, celebrating California’s admission as a state. Within the proclamation, Governor Brown included this bit of history:
The observance of Admission Day was once prominent in the civic life of our state and nation. On September 9, 1924, by order of President Coolidge, the Bear Flag flew over the White House in honor of California’s admission to the Union.
Because of our federal form of government, this is an unusual occurrence, so I wanted to find out more about it. This page includes some newspaper articles from 1924 that discussed this event. One sentence in one of the articles shows how much has changed regarding the speed and form of communication.
Thousands as they pass the White House will wonder at that flag. It will be commented upon in the newspapers and stories told of it when the bedtime program over the radio starts.
This reminded us of a time – prevalent even during Jerry Brown’s initial time as Governor – when we were used to getting news at a certain time of the day. You’d get news when the morning papers came out. You’d get news when the afternoon papers came out. In the initial Governor Brown era, you’d get news in the early evening, when Walter Cronkite and others would present The Evening News.
It was not impossible to get news at other times, but it was extremely difficult. Certainly the television and radio stations would interrupt programming for a very important news item, but the appearance of a strange flag probably wouldn’t warrant such an interruption. Now if Billy Carter were driving down Pennsylvania Avenue and saw something odd at his brother’s house, he could always get on his CB radio and announce it, but the audience for that transmission would be limited. (Back then, of course, you were able to drive on Pennsylvania Avenue by the White House.)
All of that has since changed because of Cable News Network (and its competitors) and Twitter (and its competitors). Today, if President Obama were to fly the Ohio flag over the White House, you wouldn’t have to wait for the evening news or the newspaper to find out about it. Those who are interested in such things could find out within minutes.