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Dr. GOSNELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Neil Staebler was scheduled to testify as our last witness today, but I understand he is testifying before a Senate committee, and he has asked to be allowed to submit a statement. We submit this statement for the record.

(The statement of Neil Staebler is as follows:)



The Federal and State legislation on corrupt election practices contains detailed provisions on a variety of matters that are relatively noncontroversial. I believe the central question is whether there will be a serious effort to enforce the limitations on campaign expenditures. Extension of Federal control to primaries seems to me to wait on the answer to this question. Recent experience has shown how easy it is to evade limitations on expenditures, both in primary and final elections. The chief means, probably lawful in many instances, is the development of independent groups or committees, to each one of which the ceiling figure applies independently. Laying aside the numerous other important issues that are now before this committee, I should like to discuss this problem.

First, I should like to state my own personal belief that the steadily rising cost of campaigns presents a grave threat to honest elections and to honest government all year round. No one will ever know how much money was spent in the recent national election, by the parties, by their candidates and supporters, and by other interested in the outcome. Insofar as the vast expenditures of time and money reflected an aroused interest and deepened conviction in the whole electorate, it was tremendously healthy and good. But the experience of the last election reflected also a long-term trend. Parties and candidates have been compelled to solicit constantly larger sums and to compete in mounting expenditures. As the sums grow larger they are harder to raise. We do not believe that money buys elections and intend to see that it never will. But the expenditure limitations that have been fixed for many years are founded on the belief that an increasing dependence on money, especially the money of large individual contributors, is bad for the candidates in the elections themselves and for the public service in between elections. I share that belief. I should be most reluctant to see expenditure limitations abandoned if they can be made effective.

I suggest to the committee that our major problem comes from the modern development of mass media of communication. These media are expensive and grow more so all the time. They are also effective, though no one knows in what degree. Radio and television have rendered great service in informing the whole electorate and arousing new interest in politics. But they have transformed campaign methods in electoral districts too large for direct personal contact between candidates and voters; and for elective Federal offices this is the condition substantially everywhere. Radio and television are not merely very expensive but for them have been developed new advertising techniques, requiring professional skills that are also expensive. With these new techniques the candidates and issues are submerged. If present tendencies continue, our Federal elections will increasingly become contests not between candidates but between the great advertising firms.

Federal legislation now distinguishes between classes of expenditure and excludes from calculation the cost of personal travel, postage, and printing (except in connection with billboards). It seems to me reasonable to retain a broad distinction of this kind and leave the policing of the omitted classes to the States. Apart from billboards, the expensive forms of mass communication are newspapers, radio, and television. As to these three, State statutes and FCC regulations now require a clear distinction between political and nonpolitical advertising. This distinction could be expressed in Federal legislation without too great difficulty, perhaps with a time limit prior to elections to reinforce it. I suggest that it might then be possible to use the newspapers and radio and television stations themselves as aids to control. The proposal would be that, before acceptance for publication or transmission, the newspaper or broadcasting station should secure from the party or candidate in question an expression of approval, either personally or through authorized representative. If this method were employed, it would then be possible to require a report from the candidate or party of all such approved expenditures.

If means are found to make expenditure limitations effective, the question would then arise as to whether ceiling figures should be raised. I am well aware of the basic issue arising under the first amendment in controlling expressions of political opinion by persons not proved to have direct connection with candidates whose election they desire. I suggest that the real problem is to establish the connection and that in the case of newspapers and broadcasting stations it may be possible to do so without creating for such media any burdensome liabilities or, risks.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(Thereupon, at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 2, 1952, an adjournment was taken until Wednesday, December 3, 1952, at 10 a. m.)






Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Hale Boggs (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We have as our first witness this morning Mr. Ralph W. Hardy, director of Government relations for the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters.

You may proceed, Mr. Hardy.



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Mr. HARDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

My name is Ralph W. Hardy. My address is 1771 N Street NW., Washington, D. C.

I appear before your committee today in my capacity as director of Government relations for the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters, the trade association of the radio and television industry of this country.

At the outset, let me assure the committee that it would be the desire of every licensee of the radio or television station to be as helpful as possible to the Congress in reaching sound conclusions on the issues you have before you in your study of the country's election laws. In one sense the broadcaster's reactions are basically those of any other private citizen in this free country. He watches with mixed emotions and with considerable wonderment at the national and local manifestations that accompany a characteristic election.

I have no doubt that, if the full implications of the Corrupt Practices Act and other pertinent legislation were fully explained and understood, most broadcasters, like most other citizens, would be inclined to say that either the laws or the practices currently associated with elections should undergo revision and adjustment to bring about a more realistic association between the two. But I suspect that it was not your intention to invite a representative of the radio and television industry to appear before you merely to join the parade of witnesses who say "Yes, a change is needed.”


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Let me speak briefly now of another sense in which the broadcaster concerns himself with election matters. This has to do with his role as manager of an electronic device capable of reaching more people, reaching them faster, and making more penetrating impressions upon them with a resulting motivation to action, than any other media ever known before in the history of the world. If you deliberately set out to choose a set of conditions loaded with political implications, you could not choose a more decisive formula. And I assure you that the broadcasters of our country are keenly aware of the potency of their media, and also, having once again undergone the baptism of fire in the election just past, they know considerable about the interrelationships between radio and television and the processes of electing our public servants.

Chairman Boggs, in a statement announcing these hearings, drew attention to a new era in our election proceedings. In my judgment, one fact overshadows all others in confirming the correctness of the chairman's judgment. And that fact is that, from this day forward, no American will ever again be satisfied to crystallize his political' opinions about candidates solely on the basis of secondhand impressions. He will want—he will expect—he will demandto hear his candidate and to see his candidate in action, on his own, as it were, so that he can make up his own mind with an independence of judgment formerly limited to those few who could get within earshot and eyeshot of a campaigner on a packing box in the village square. The full realization of the technical feasibility and the practical reality of this circumstance is a very sobering thought to the men and women who work in radio and television. It has also understandably aroused the interest and concern of Congress as reflected in the inquiries being made by your committee.

A political campaign season is the occasion for a major upheaval in the broadcasting industry. The disturbance and repercussions are far more deep-seated than is generally realized. To appreciate this, let me point out to your committee that the broadcaster operates in a highly competitive atmosphere. In the struggle for survival and maintenance of economic health, he has developed skills and techniques which are basic to his trade. His programs are his merchandise, and he strives at all times to build listening habits with his public that will lead them in ever-increasing numbers to his varied showcases. It is the habitual audience rather than the sporadic listener that makes his enterprise successful and gives him the opportunity for substantial public service. Whatever dislocates this carefully established habit pattern of integrating program with listener invariably reacts to the long-range disadvantage of the broadcaster. Few things have a dislocation efficiency rating equal to a political campaign with its peaks of heat and valleys of cold extending over a period of months.

A politician recently reminded me that in his efforts to win public favor at the polls he was constantly grappling with unpredictable forces and terrible uncertainties. I told him in response that having been a broadcaster for over 15 years, I was quite aware of the vicissitudes he faced in political life. Broadcasters know only too well how election-campaign strategy is, and presumably must be, made on virtually an hour-by-hour schedule. The unparalleled elasticity of radio and television and their ready adaptability to changing circumstancez makes them valuable in a unique manner in electioneering but it als

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