Tuesday, November 8th is one of the America’s most important days this year. That is because on that day, citizens across the country will head to the polls to help determine who will be the next person to lead the nation. To mark the occasion, PBS Distribution has released a new documentary that focuses not on the candidates but on the house that every one of America’s presidents has called home. The White House: Inside Story was released July 12th. The two-hour program takes audiences on a visual tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and takes them through the building’s rich history. The history lesson that is presented at the heart of the program is its most important element. That will be discussed shortly. The history is told through interviews with first ladies, white house staff past and present, and others, making the program even more interesting. That will be discussed later. Last but hardly least of note in this program is the video tour of the White House presented throughout the program. Audiences will find in watching this program that all three elements are important in their own right to the whole of The White House: Inside Story. All things considered, they make this documentary a presentation that viewers of every political affiliation will appreciate.
The White House: Inside Story is a piece that every civics teacher should have in his or her own classroom. That is because as divisive as politics is, this program will unite viewers of every political persuasion thanks to the fact that it doesn’t touch on politics. The program presents a rich, two hour history of America’s most famous house. The information shared through that extensive history lesson is material that is not generally included in most political science and civics classes at any level. It includes the revelation that the oval office was built for President Taft and that the West Wing was built during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency because he had so many children. It is revealed that he needed personal space to work, so greenhouses that once sat on the White House grounds were replaced with the West Wing so that Roosevelt could have a private place to work. Also revealed in the lesson is that there was once an indoor pool on the white house grounds for Roosevelt. It has since been replaced by the media control room for the press briefing room, which was established during the Nixon years. If that isn’t interesting enough, audiences also learn that the desk in the oval office was presented by Queen Victoria to President Taft. The program reveals that the desk was stored away at one point and found by Jackie Kennedy during JFK’s presidency, and has been there ever since. This is just some of the interesting information that is revealed over the course of the program’s two-hour history lesson. There are also discussions on the different political and cultural purposes that the White House has served as well as discussions on the lives of the presidents’ families and more. Between the material directly noted here and that material not discussed, the overall history lesson presented in this program writes a story that anyone with any interest in political science should see regardless of his or her political affiliation.
The story that is presented at the heart of The White House: Inside Story is a rich tale that anyone with any interest in political science will appreciate, regardless of his or her political affiliation. That is because of the depth of the information presented throughout that story. The manner in which the program’s story is told is just as important to note as the story itself. The program’s story is told through interviews with first ladies, white house staff past and present, news personalities and even presidents past and present. The first ladies interviewed for the program include Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter. They give their own unique perspectives on life in and out of the White House and the role of the First Lady as it has evolved throughout the position’s history. The White House staffers offer an interesting glimpse into the time and effort that goes into keeping the White House operating on a daily basis. That time and effort includes all of the chores that come with caring any normal home—lawn care, cooking, etc. just on a much bigger scale. Well-known news personalities such as Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and others share their own take on life around the White House, too. They reveal the tight leash on which the White House Press Corps is kept to this very day and how it reaches back to the days of the Nixon administration. It is just one more way in which the interviews used to tell The White House’s story prove to be so important to the program’s overall presentation. Those first hand accounts and stories do plenty to keep viewers engaged all while educating them. Keeping this in mind, the interviews that are incorporated into this program show clearly why they are just as important to the program’s presentation as the story at the center of the program. The interviews are not the last important piece of the program to note, though. The video tour that is presented throughout the program is important in its own way to the program’s presentation as the interviews and the story at the heart of the program.
The story at the center of The White House: Inside Story and the interviews that are used to tell that story are both key elements to note in examining this documentary. That is because they work hand in hand with one another. While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the program, they are not its only important elements. The video tour that is included in the program is important to the program’s overall presentation, too. That is because it allows audiences to take a trip through The White House without having to spend the money and time on a trip to see the White House in person. It doesn’t cover all of the White House’s rooms, but does take audiences into places that are otherwise off limits to the building’s regular public tours including the media control room for the pres briefing room and certain other rooms. Those rooms include bedrooms, dining rooms, and other spots throughout the President’s residence. And audiences get to see it all without having to deal with the waiting lines, tour guides or the pain of the know-it-all who is present in every tour group. It is a great addition to this program even if those behind the program didn’t aim to make it such an important part of the program. Considering that along with the program’s story and the interviews used to tell the program’s story, all three elements come together to make The White House: The Inside Story a great piece, again, for anyone with any interest in political science regardless of that person’s political affiliation.
The White House: Inside Story is a presentation that audiences of every political affiliation should see at least once. In a time when politics has become so divisive, this historical documentary will bring together democrats, republicans, and members of every other party if only for a couple of hours with its interesting story. The interviews that serve to tell that story will keep audiences just as engaged as the story itself. That is because the interviews come from those who have lived and worked in The White House. The video tour of America’s most famous home rounds out the program’s most important elements. It takes viewers into places that The White House’s normal public tours rarely go, and does so without all the negatives of those tours, too. Each element is important in its own way to the program’s whole presentation. Collectively, they make The White House: Inside Story a work that, once more, audiences of every political persuasion should see at least once if not more. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:
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