SAN FRANCISCO — White House Chief of Staff Howard H. Baker Jr. said Friday that President Reagan is "not having adequate contact with the press" and pledged to increase the President's accessibility.
"I believe personal contact with the President is required," Baker told the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. "It may surprise you, but he would like more too. He is not about to live in seclusion and silence in his last two years."
Baker said the Reagan Administration bore at least partial blame for what often appear to be hostile and undignified relations between the White House and the press corps. He singled out the bad feelings that have arisen because reporters frequently must shout questions at the chief executive over the whirring of his waiting helicopter.
"In all candor," Baker said, such practices "grew up because the President was not having adequate contact with the press."
Baker told the editors: "I know I am speaking to a group of people who think the President should hold a press conference once a day, who think they should not have to compete with a helicopter for the President's ear and that there ought to be more to White Hous1696624754feeding of (ABC correspondent) Sam Donaldson.