Quoting history #4

Following up on Republican statements on the need for Smith-Mundt, comes some Democrat voices from 1947, quoted in Shawn Parry-Giles’ Rhetorical Presidency, Propaganda and the Cold War:

Predictably, much of the congressional opposition to the legalization of peacetime propaganda was grounded in the assumption that such an organization threatened the US free press system. Representative William Lemke (D-CT) questioned any governmental attempt to “compete” with private news stations, calling for financial support of short-wave stations and “those who blazed the trail with their own funds.” According to Lemke, “Any other procedure would be the rankest kind of injustice.” Congressman Hale Boggs (D-LA) also questioned the practice of placing the government in “competition with a free press,” reflecting the Russian practice of controlling the “radio and the press”.

It wasn’t just Democrats with this concern. A contemporary fight with the AP and UP against State fueled the debate.

…Congressman J. Edgar Chenoweth (R-CO) used the conflict between the State Department and the AP as evidence that a constitutional exigency existed over the government’s intrusion into the news business. Referring to the goals of the Smith-Mundt bill as “novel and extraordinary,” Chenoweth cited Kent Cooper, executive director of the AP, emphasizing the “abhorrence of the Government going into the news business,” an act that Cooper equated with “amending the Constitution.”