Election 1944: Hillman’s propaganda mill geared for 4th term grind (7-27-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (July 27, 1944)


Hillman’s propaganda mill geared for 4th term grind

New version of Political Action Committee will spend large slice of CIO’s money
By Henry J. Taylor, Scripps-Howard staff writer

New York –
With the curtain down on the Democratic Convention, the enlarged fourth-term propaganda section of Sidney Hillman’s Political Action Committee now comes to the center of the stage.

Its slice of the CIO’s $3-million fourth-term campaign fund has been appropriated. It will be spent over local signatures and in the name of the National Citizens’ Political Action Committee.

On June 13, testifying before the Senate Campaign Investigating Committee, Mr. Hillman conceded that unions are prohibited from contributing to the campaign funds of candidates for federal office. The impression grew that the CIO-PAC, with its 100,000 shop stewards as organizers, was put on ice and that a National Citizens’ PAC would replace it.

The CIO-PAC, however, continued under full steam. Mr. Hillman formed the new group as an umbrella over the original committee. “Broadening the interest,” Mr. Hillman called it. In this way he avoided legal limitations on further CIO-PAC fourth-term expenditures as soon as Mr. Roosevelt was officially up for federal office as a result of his nomination.

So direct fourth-term campaign expenditures of the CIO-PAC now stop and the NCPAC gets an appropriation. Two million copies of an organizational handbook, Political Primer for All Americans, are being distributed through organized labor circles from 14 regional offices. It’s a folksy treatment on how to get out the vote. The slogan is “Love thy neighbor – and organize him.”

More than 100,000 PAC posters featuring “FDR – Our Friend” are ready for war-plant bulletin boards, PAC precinct clubs and meeting places of foreign-language groups. Print orders are already reported to call for 10,000 pounds of newsprint and 22,000 pounds of broadside and pamphlet paper.

With the collaboration of five members of Mr. Hillman’s official family – Orson Welles, Paul Robeson, Edward G. Robinson, Marc Connelly and Ben Hecht – the PAC has produced an indoctrination movie in multiple prints for local distribution. It’s entitled Hell-Bent for Election, and Mr. Hillman’s associates say it will reach and instruct 15 million people.

The heavy end of the propaganda brain-trust consists of Max Lerner of the newspaper PM, editor Bruce Bevin of The New Republic, publisher Freda Kirchwey of The Nation, radio commentator Dr. Frank Kingdon and Roscoe Dunjee, publisher of the Black Dispatch. Foreign-language writers and specialists on race matters in the South fill out the group which is still expanding.