Leaving others to engage in the historical debate about the film’s portrayal of LBJ, I would like instead to examine the campaign to discredit the film based on that portrayal. Waged by those intent on protecting and promoting Lyndon Johnson’s image, the efforts are part of a larger trend to use presidential libraries in ways far outside their initial objectives and Congressional intent, and to hire “legacy managers” rather than credentialed archivists and historians to run them.
TIME: Should the Federal Government Be in the Business of Policing History?
...[the presidential library] foundations themselves pose great risks. These hyper-partisan organizations are controlled by presidents and their families, billionaire donors, high-ranking former government officials, and, in the case of the Reagan Library, the publisher and CEO of the Washington Post, Fred Ryan...And they use their substantial influence to pressure the National Archives to do what is in the best interests of the foundations, not what is right.
HNN: What You Don’t Know About Presidential Libraries
The more bombastic he is, the more he hungrily seeks out the cameras, the more he promises “explosive revelations,” the less he actually has. Bullies don’t win fights; they win defaults. Push back just the tiniest bit, and it’s all over.
Salon: What Darrell Issa really wants out of Benghazi hearing
But what packs them in at the most popular presidential museums is sorely lacking in Dallas. George W. Bush is not like the three presidents whose libraries command the greatest number of visitors. He does not inspire hero worship like Ronald Reagan; he does not inflame passions – in every sense of the term – like Bill Clinton; and he does not provoke wistful, what-if reveries like John F. Kennedy.
Salon: Presidential libraries are huge failures
Members buttonhole one another on the Floor, in committee rooms, and at events. Their staffs call, and email, and text. Activists tweet, and post, and share, and link, and petition. Lobbyists ask, cajole and beg...They’re wasting their time: In the last three Congresses, an average of 78 percent of all non-commemorative bills enacted into law had 10 or fewer cosponsors, and just over 21 percent had no cosponsors at all.
Salon: Cosponsoring bills
Federal presidential libraries preserve, protect and make available the records of Chief Executives from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush. Because of changes in the 1970s to the laws governing the libraries, the records of the most recent presidents will not be fully available to the public for a hundred years -- possibly longer. Without significant reform, taxpayers will continue to support the newer libraries’ legacy-burnishing museum functions and public (often partisan) events while historians, journalists, writers, students and the rest of the public are locked out of the records.
HNN: One Hundred Years to Open All the Presidents’ Records?