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included the "divide and conquer" strategy, which pits the local public stations against the Corporation on fund allocation, program content and other important matters.
In December 1972, Dr. Clay T. Whitehead, Director of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy, unveiled the latest assault on the free press. In the guise of helping broadcasters by increasing the licence period from 3 to 5 years, the White House is also intending to make broadcasters hesitant to present network news and programing by exercising more "local responsibility."
Dr. Whitehead's December 18 speech is replete with high-sounding phrases about ways in which broadcasters can "offer the rich variety, diversity and creativity of America" on television, and how "the truly professional journalist recognizes his responsibility to the institution of a free press."
In connection with a discussion of the "Fairness Doctrine," Dr. Whitehead stated: "For too long we have been interpreting the First Amendment to fit the 1934 Communications Act," calling that interpretation an "inversion of values." Dr. Whitehead has proposed that Congress enact his bill, which would have as sweeteners the 5-year license renewal and more stringent reqirements for citizens groups to challenge license renewals. The dangerous part of the Whitehead proposal is that government takes unto itself power to determine whether the individual station has been programing to meet vague and undefined government standards. The Communications Act, in its 38 years, never has given government the power to intervene in program content. The Whitehead bill would have that practical effect.
The Executive Board of the Communications Workers of America, recognizing the fragile nature of our First Amendment freedoms, hereby condemns the White head proposal and urges the Congress to take no action thereon.