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President Kennedy Speaks to Employees of Voice of America

Feb. 26, 1962 - President Kennedy told employees of the Voice of America today that their job was to tell the truth about the United States, even when it put the nation in a bad light. Mr. Kennedy, speaking on the 20th anniversary of the Voice, conceded that the broadcast agency’s task was to “bring our story around the world in a way which serves to represent democracy and the United States in its most favorable light.” Nevertheless, the President said, “as part of the cause of freedom, and the arm of freedom, you are obliged to tell our story in a truthful way. As Oliver Cromwell said about his portrait: ‘Paint us with all our blemishes and warts, all those things about us that may not be so immediately attractive.’” “The things that go bad in America,” Mr. Kennedy continued, “you must tell that also. And we hope that when the bad and the good are sifted together by people of judgment and discretion and taste and discrimination, they will realize what we are trying to do here.”

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