FACTS AND FASCISM
CHAPTER V: NAM MOUTH ORGAN: FULTON LEWIS, JR.
NOT ALL the American type of reactionary propaganda (or fascist propaganda as Mussolini would have labeled it) is confined to the newspaper and magazine press, notably the big circulation publications such as the McCormick-Patterson and Hearst newspapers, and the Reader's Digest. Considerable native Fascism comes over the radio. This is easily explained. The national hookups are paid for by the biggest corporations, and with the exception of Ford, they are all subsidizers, backers, directors and members of the National Association of Manufacturers, and members of its propaganda subsidiary, known as the National Industrial Information Committee.
With only three or four exceptions all the big newspaper columnists and radio commentators who form American public opinion are reactionaries. Pegler, Kaltenborn, Paul Mallon, Sokolsky, Mark Sullivan, Boake Carter, Frank Kent, David Lawrence reach from three to eight million persons each. On the liberal side there are a few writers and speakers who do not have a tenth this vast audience.
Fulton Lewis, Jr., reaches between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 persons daily over more than 150 stations of the Mutual Network. He is sponsored by nationally known manufacturers such as Old Gold cigarettes and in some towns by local merchants. Today Lewis is the chief spokesman for Reaction. He was formerly employed by the National Association of Manufacturers and right now he is echoing the propaganda line laid down at the secret meeting of the resolutions committee of the NAM.
Mr. Lewis is not now employed by the NAM. Mr. Lewis denies that he has any connection with the NAM. Mr. Lewis is working for some 60 corporations and if he wants to say it is purely a coincidence that the propaganda he is putting out today and that which the NAM is putting out are alike, his word should be taken at face value. We present herewith certain facts about Mr. Lewis, the DuPont campaign for "Free Enterprise" " originated less than a year ago, Mr. Lewis's former connection with the NAM, and Mr. Lewis's present "Free Enterprise" campaign which tallies with the Hearst-Howard-NAM and American fascist campaign of Free Enterprise.
Fulton Lewis, Jr., was in the pay of the NAM, broadcasting Big Business propaganda (up to June 19, 1942) at a time many of his colleagues, notably Kaltenborn and Pegler, were working the other end of the NAM street by smearing labor.
In defense of his position, Mr. Lewis wrote me on August 10, 1942:
"Your little publication has tremendous influence and a tremendous and loyal following. You have built up what I have tried to build up over the air -- a feeling among your readers that you are telling them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth -- and I think you do that within the usual human qualifications of all of us. This letter is not written as a complaint nor as a request for any correction. It rather is written to show you what tremendous power you have. ... I have never heard of the subsidiary of the NAM (Industrial Information Committee)...."
My reply said in part:
"The only matter worth serious discussion is that line in your letter (re N.I.I.C. being part of NAM). Before I take up the matter ... I would like to ask you some questions:
"1. Do you know what Fascism is?
"2. Are you aware that there is Fascism in America?
"3. Do you know that Hitler's Naziism and Mussolini's Fascism are to a great extent the armed forces of the special big interests, such as the German cartels?
"4. Are you aware that Mussolini was subsidized by the Associazione fra Industriali Metallurgici Meccani and the Confederazione Generale dell'Industria ...which corresponds exactly to our U.S. Chamber of Commerce and our NAM?
"5. Are you aware, as Thyssen showed, that the Nazi equivalent of the NAM and N.I.I.C. taxed themselves so much per ton, so much per piece of goods manufactured, to subsidize Hitler and put him in power ..."
"6. Are you or are you not aware that Pew of Sunoco, E. T. Weir, Bell of Cyanamid ... Fuller, Lammot DuPont ... A. P. Sloan of General Motors ... all of them officers of the N.I.I.C., are the equivalent of the subsidizers of Fascism abroad, and subsidizers of the various fascist organizations exposed in the Lobby Investigation run by Senator (now Justice) Black?
"If you are not aware of these facts, then there is an excuse for your ever having been in the employ of the N.I.I.C.
"But it must be an excuse based on ignorance only. You know very well that when the La Follette Committee exposed the notorious George Sokolsky as being secretly in the pay of the NAM it was a first-rate scandal. It seems to me it was the most notorious scandal in the recent history of American journalism, and the fact the New York Herald Tribune and now the New York Sun publish the writings of this NAM hireling is still a greater scandal. The NAM was exposed three times in recent history. It actually resorted to corruption and bribery of Congressmen. It did about 90% of all the hiring in America of thugs, gunmen, racketeers, murderers and spies. Finally, it sought by a great corruption fund to change the thinking of American people by hiring professors and introducing text books in the public schools.
"I am sure that you know these facts about the NAM. I think therefore it is advisable for you to make a public statement saying that when you did the job for the N.I.I.C. you were not aware that it was formed by the NAM out of its more pro-fascist elements, and that its present plan is to invade the public schools with its anti-social propaganda."
Mr. Lewis replied again emphasizing that he had been in the employ of the NAM, not the N.I.I.C. "I have never been in the pay of the Industrial Information Committee of the NAM; in fact, I never heard of the damned thing until a former issue of your paper mentioned it in connection with me," he wrote. Of the NAM, he added: "-- I am totally dis-sympathetic and completely opposed to their labor policies. ... I fought them tooth and toenail ... on the 40-hour-week issue." And on August 31 Lewis said in a long letter that:
"1. I know very well what Fascism is, and I disapprove of it 100%.
"2. I am not aware that there is Fascism in America at this moment. ...
"3. I am, of course, well aware that Hitler's Naziism [was subsidized].
"4. I did not know specifically that Mussolini was subsidized by the particular organizations ... [Here Mr. Lewis declares that comparing these to the Chamber of Commerce and the NAM constitutes no proof].
"5. I am quite well aware that German industrialists own and control Naziism, Hitler, and whatever profits accrue from the war.
"6. I am not aware that Pew, Weir, Bell, Fuller, DuPont and A. P. Sloan are all officers of the N.I.I.C. ... not aware that they are the 'equivalent of the subsidizers of Fascism abroad' although your charge is very interesting. ... I was not aware that they were exposed as subsidizers of 'the various fascist organizations' by the Lobby investigation of Senator (now Justice) Black."
Mr. Lewis then declares that he never heard of the three Congressional investigations of the NAM, and he declares that if proof can be found the NAMzies employed 90% of all the thugs and murderers and spies -- ("that statement seems fantastic, extreme, and too much to swallow") -- he will be "glad to help publicize it the nation over."
The facts are: the La Follette Committee held public hearings and issued official reports showing that 90% or more of all the spies, thugs, murderers employed by Big Industry were employed by General Motors (controlled by DuPonts, bossed by Knudsen and Sloan) and other like members of the NAM. Of course Mr. Fulton Lewis, Jr., will not even breathe a word of these facts over the radio stations when he is paid by many of these same men and corporations.
But Mr. Lewis says he knows best what is "in my mind and heart," and that he reaches "many millions of people, the rank-and-file, middle-of-the-road people" and that "the greatest need of the labor movement is to have the support and confidence of those people, to have them told the truth, to have them de-bunked of anti-labor propaganda and lies and insinuations, and I have done that consistently and repeatedly."
Finally, Mr. Lewis, still not asking for any correction of any news items about him, suggests that the following reply be published. Here it is in full:
"I have never heard of the N.I.I.C. before you stated in your newsletter that I was employed by it. That statement was absolutely false, regardless of what the N.I.I.C. or anyone else in heaven or Earth says to the contrary. I not only had never heard of it, but o this day I have never met any of the individuals whom you list as officers of it. I know nothing about it and care less. I did a series of broadcasts for the NAM, once a week, from war production plants all over the nation for slightly more than a year. I defy you or anyone else to point to a single word, phrase, or innuendo in any broadcast that was remotely or by the slightest indirection anti-labor. On the contrary, a large part of every broadcast was devoted to showing the tremendous and constructive part that labor was playing in that particular plant. My assistant who went to the plants in advance and helped gather material for each broadcast was a fanatical pro-laborite. We had numerous union leaders on the program.
"My contract with the NAM specifically provided that I was to have absolute final discretion and power as to what was said in every broadcast, and I exercised that power on all occasions. I had no conferences, instructions, or hints about any NAM policies on labor or anything else either before or during my connection; in fact, all I know of NAM policies is what I have read in the newspapers.
Here is the evidence the NAM and NIIC are one, and that Fulton Lewis, Jr., spread their propaganda over the radio. -- "Your DEFENSE REPORTER with FULTON LEWIS, Jr., Over the Mutual Network"
"I heartily disapprove of anti-labor propaganda, whether it be by the NAM or any other organization, and I strongly resent and challenge anyone to cite any statement that I have ever made that has been anti-labor. I have stated that I had no connection with the N.I.I.C., and even my connection with the NAM as here set forth was terminated June 13, 1942, and therefore, your statement printed in In Fact in the July and August issues that I was at that time connected with the N.I.I.C. was untrue, not only for the N.I.I.C. but for the NAM as well.
"(signed) Fulton Lewis, Jr."
Furthermore, Mr. Lewis suggests that he is not "the 1942 George Sokolsky" because he was not hired secretly by the NAM; every broadcast closed with this announcement: "This program is presented by the Mutual Network in cooperation with the NAM."
The main part of Mr. Lewis's statement is his denial he worked for the N.I.I.C.; he worked only for the NAM. This is a quibble, a straw man set up to demolish. It is of no importance whatever. All it does is show that Mr. Lewis in addition to not knowing what Fascism really is, not knowing that there is Fascism in America, and not knowing that the men who paid him are also the paymasters of every fascist organization, past, present and future -- the past being officially on Congressional records -- also did not know that as far back as 936 it was officially admitted to the La Follette Committee that the N.I.I.C. was a branch of the NAM. In fact, most propaganda work of the NAM is done by the N.I.I.C., and exactly the same men own, run, control and subsidize the two organizations.
One whole volume of the La Follette report is devoted to exposing the NAM -- it is Report No. 6, part 6: Part III, the NAM, published in 1939, giving testimony from 1938 on. On page 154 Mr. Lewis will find this statement about his paymasters:
"The NAM had opposed the principal legislative measures sponsored by the national administration during the congressional session of 1935. It had opposed the National Labor Relations Act [the Wagner Act, Magna Carta of Labor, which Mr. Lewis's NAM is still fighting] the Social Security Act, the Banking Act, the Utility Holding Company Act, and the President's tax program. In spite of the Association's opposition, all these measures became law. This was a great blow to the Association; but its officers remained undaunted and they redoubled their propaganda efforts. ...
(Page 155) "After the crushing defeat of the NAM's lobby during the 1935 congressional session, its officers decided to intensify its effort in local 'education.' ... The Association set up the National Industrial Information Committee under the chairmanship of E. T. Weir. ... The 1935 annual report of the Association referred to the organization of these committees: 'In furtherance of this better understanding of industry by the public the N.I.I.C. was organized. Under the chairmanship of Mr. E.T. Weir, committees have been formed in the 20 major industrial states to facilitate development of the NAM program for the dissemination of sound American doctrine to the public. ...'
"The N.I.I.C. appealed to leaders of industry for financial support of the public information program ... to 'sell' industry to the public. ... [In the letter of appeal for funds signed by W. B. Warner, editor of McCall's Magazine, he said the N.I.I.C. -- NAM propaganda campaign would 'save the whole of the industrial system.']
(Page 6) "The NAM has blanketed the country with a propaganda which in technique has relied upon indirection of meaning, and in presentation upon secrecy and deception."
Pages 8 and 9 of the Digest of Report, Committee on Education and Labor, 76th Congress, 1st Session, states:
"The activities of the NAM became so bold and sometimes indiscreet that a scandal occurred in 1913 when public charges were made that agents of the Association had given 'financial rewards' to Congressmen to promote its legislative program. ... Investigations disclosed that the Association had placed an employee of the House of Representatives on its payrolls in order to obtain information not available to the public; the Association's agents had contributed large sums of money to Congressional candidates in their campaigns for re-election and had opposed candidates friendly to labor -- [Note: this has been done in every election, will be done in 1944, etc.] -- the Association had carried on a disguised propaganda campaign through newspaper syndicates ... placing publicists on its payroll. ... Responsible officials of the NAM did not renounce any part of their activities revealed before the Senate and House Committees of 1913. On the contrary, they reasserted the necessity of pursuing the course they had followed previously in order to counteract the 'operations of organized labor.' ... After 1920 it became what it always had been, a candid open-shop drive which was the spearhead for the anti-union movement then sweeping the country. ... "While opposing union organization under the cover of 'patriotism and freedom,' the Association's representatives maintain their unyielding attitude on social legislation ... opposition to modification of the anti-trust laws to exempt labor unions from the application ... regulation of child labor ... establishment of collective bargaining ... many other legislative proposals designed to correct some of the basic dislocations which gave rise to social unrest."
In other words the NAM, for which Mr. Lewis admits doing a public relations job, is an outfit which is devoted to fighting the general welfare and social progress of America, so that the 270 corporations which subsidize the NAM may profit.
If Mr. Lewis will obtain mimeographed report No. 24, part 3, 76th Congress, 1st Session, he will find the names of the men and corporations who employed strikebreaking espionage, private police systems, guns and poison gas -- "the four chief instrumentalities of anti-unionism." Some sample names are: Republic Steel, U.S. Steel, Bethlehem, General Motors, National Steel of Weirton, Mr. Knudsen. Let him look up the NAM and N.I.I.C. list of officers and directors and find how many are named in the report.
If Mr. Lewis will obtain mimeographed report No. 24, La Follette Statement, he will learn:
"Those few but powerful employers who utilize such practices [spies, gas warfare, etc.] wield great influence throughout industry. ... The powerful minority of employers who utilize oppressive labor practices is well organized. ... Their influence is exerted through highly paid propagandists to conceal their own offenses and to raise a public clamor against collective bargaining and bona fide unions. ... In the name of industrial harmony they have incited the most dangerous forms of class conflicts. ... I do not exaggerate when I ay that these belligerent employers already exercise an influence in the affairs of employers' associations which is out of proportion to their numbers and their economic significance. Some 45 companies making the largest contributions to, or exerting great influence in the NAM, purchased over 55% of the tear gas and tear gas equipment sold to the industry. ... E.T. Weir, whose National Steel Corporation is another outstanding purchaser of industrial arms, has assumed leadership of the efforts of the NAM to disseminate propaganda on a lavish scale. ... Civil liberties are under attack. ... There are forces within the country which openly clamor for the destruction of civil liberties through the perversion of governmental power. These forces are encouraged by the existence of private tyrannies maintained by private armed forces and by private gestapos."
Will Mr. Fulton Lewis, Jr., broadcast the fact a mere 45 companies or less than 5% of the NAM bought 55% of the tear gas, and other official proofs that NAM members bought 90% of all guns and gas and hired 90% or more of all spies, murderers and racketeers in fighting labor? It'll be a big day over Mutual, C.B.S., N.B.C. and the Blue Network when Mr. Lewis, Jr. mentions DuPont, General Motors, Girdler, Weir and all the other American Fascists.
THE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
The documentary evidence shows:
1. That the NAM and the N.I.I.C. are one and the same.
2. That the NAM was exposed as criminally Corrupt by one Congressional investigation, and more recently exposed by the La Follette investigation as at present working "in secrecy" and "in deceit."
3. That both the NAM and the N.I.I.C. claim Fulton Lewis, Jr., as their chief radio spokesman.
Exhibit A. First of all, here is the complete catalogue of propaganda materials which the NAM is using right now to corrupt the American people to its way of thinking. It is called "Bibliography of Economic and Social Study Material. Booklets, motion pictures, slide films, lantern slides, transcriptions and posters. Available through NAM. March, 1942." Millions of dollars are spent a year telling the American people to believe certain views which are the views of the multi-millionaires who own the NAM. This propaganda works for the dollar and cents profit of these men and corporations. It is directed against the general welfare of the American people. All this propaganda material is given out free.
Page 25 of this catalogue says :
"The audio-visual materials produced as a part of the National Industrial Information Program by the NAM and the National Industrial Council include sound and silent motion picture films, slide films, lantern slides, etc." [Note the names of the outfits. They now admit they are part of the same set-up.]
Page 36 states:
"The electrical transcriptions listed below were made during the actual broadcasts of the radio program, 'Your Defense Reporter,' featuring the prominent news commentator, Fulton Lewis, Jr. These programs, prepared in cooperation with the NAM and broadcast directly from war- production plants over stations affiliated with the Mutual Broadcasting System, present on-the- spot reports to the nation concerning the progress of Industry's military output. ... Transcriptions are lent one at a time and without charge."
There follows a list of eight broadcasts glorifying Big Business in iron and steel, jeep making, naval craft production, radio, drugs, textiles, torpedo boats and planes.
The purpose of the broadcasts was to answer the charges, made by Senator Truman, Assistant Attorney General Thurman Arnold, the Bone, Tolan, and other Congressional investigations which proved conclusively that the only traitor to the war effort was Big Business. It had refused to convert even 50% to war production before Pearl Harbor, and maintained business-as-usual for months thereafter. The Aluminum Trust, Standard Oil, the Auto industry (with the exception of a few small firms), General Electric, Standard Drugs and others having cartel contracts with Hitler's I.G. Farbenindustrie, and practically all the big corporations -- and main subsidizers of the NAM -- were proven guilty of sit-downs, sabotage, lack of patriotism and even treasonable delays. Of course, the newspapers suppressed as much of this great story as possible and ran great campaigns of whitewash for Alcoa and Esso simultaneously with great advertising campaigns by these very corporations, but somehow the truth did get about, and the NAM put on a new $1,000,000 propaganda campaign, and Lewis Jr. was one of its hired mouths.
Exhibit B. This is a folder called "Industry The Arsenal of Democracy. Defense on the Radio." On the inside page it announces
"from coast to coast, two major broadcasting systems in cooperation with the NAM regularly report on the progress of Industry's Defense output. You and millions of other radio listeners can learn the inside story (sic!) of what is being done, and what remains to be done, to make our country invulnerable. Through the blessings of uncensored radio broadcasting, we free Americans can follow the course of the greatest demonstration of industrial efficiency the world has ever known -- a performance that only free enterprise can give."
Page 3 pictures Graham McNamee, "over the Red Network of the N.B.C." Page 6 pictures "Your Defense Reporter with Fulton Lewis, Jr., over the Mutual."
In small type, page 2, is this notice: "This booklet is prepared and distributed without charge in the interests of National Defense by the NAM." Under the McNamee announcement appears: "Don't fail to see the thrilling film: 'Defense for America ... Produced by Paramount in cooperation with the NAM." Otherwise there is no indication that this is part of the NAM's million dollar propaganda campaign.
Exhibit C. In 1942 the National Industrial Information Committee sent every big business man of the country a package of its new propaganda and a request for funds. It states: "We agree that the winning of the war and the preservation of freedom require that the American people have a complete understanding of the job industry is doing to win the battle of production, of the basic characteristics of the private competitive enterprise system, and of the sincere motives of American management." Firms capitalized at $100,000 are told to send in $25; firms worth a million, $225, and all over six million are asked to send $1,000 to $25,000. More than $1,000,000 has been raised and spent to date.
On page 2 of the subscription sheet is "Your program for Public Understanding in a Nation at War," and under it are listed radio, movies, posters, car cards, newspapers, schools and colleges, churches, women's clubs and other activities, all of which have already been exposed by the La Follette Committee as a campaign to corrupt the minds of the American people. This is what the N.I.I.C. says:
"The relationship between American competitive enterprise and the people is exceedingly important today. ... The people must understand the magnitude of industry's task and its patriotism. They must know that freedom of enterprise is not only one of the basic principles that America is fighting to preserve. ..."
Note that it was the NAM-N.I.I.C. propaganda machine which originated the slogan "Free Enterprise" which all the stooges of Big Business repeat. First on the N.I.I.C.'s list of activities is:
"1. RADIO-Fulton Lewis, Jr., 'Production for Victory,' broadcast weekly on the Mutual network, currently reporting to the people on the progress of war production. Also spot news releases and frequently informal talks by business men."
Note that in appealing for the million dollar propaganda fund to put over the "free enterprise" line, at a time Congressional investigations were showing the corruption of the "free enterprise" corporations, the N.I.I.C. listed Fulton Lewis, Jr., first as its hired man, asked for money to sustain its radio program.
When the NAM resolutions committee met in New York, in September, 1942, to prepare its December convention program, only three members voted in favor of making the winning of the war the main subject for the convention, the majority decided to fight the New Deal, labor and social legislation and to plan a post-war program in which Freedom of Enterprise would be paramount. F.C. Crawford, president of Tapco, I. H. Rand, Jr., of Remington Rand and Lammot DuPont dominated the session.
Labor-management committees were denounced. The committee also favored the end of restrictions on Wall Street speculation, more taxes on labor and less on corporations and the rich, the end of the New Deal. Everyone declared Free Enterprise was the NAM program.
That indeed was the slogan of the December, 1942, convention or the NAM.
Mr. Fulton Lewis made it his policy June 2, 1943.
First he gave himself a terrific build-up June 1. He intimated that tomorrow he would make the most important broadcast of our time. He was about to tell millions of Americans the greatest truth of all. It was super- colossal.
Came tomorrow. Mr. Lewis again built himself up and spilled over. He denounced the New Deal for selling the people a "gold brick" when it launched the Four Freedoms idea.
He approved freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but "freedom from fear and the freedom from want, the last two to finish up this trick phrase, are just so much humbug." (Daily Commercial News, San Francisco, headlined the story: "Four Freedoms Called New Deal Humbug.")
The Four Freedoms, Mr. Lewis continued, are not the philosophy of the United States, do not mean America, are not what the boys are fighting for. No government can guarantee to supply them. "It is like selling gold bricks, and if any individual were to crack out with anything of this nature, he would be thrown into jail at once." Mr. Lewis praised the pioneers, adding:
"The smart boys in Washington have left out the most important freedom of all -- and that is Freedom No. 5 -- freedom of individual enterprise -- freedom of initiative; freedom to rise in the world. ...
"We have heard Vice President Wallace's ideas of a quart of milk on every doorstep and other Utopian schemes. Actually the things our boys are fighting for is to have a doorstep of their own and the right to have on that doorstep anything they can earn and put there. ...
"This is the greatest freedom of them all -- the freedom that is America -- the Freedom of Individual Enterprise."
As for freedom from want and freedom from fear, Mr. Lewis said they were "luxuries, if you can afford them." The usual sneer at "college economists," the usual hoodlum-minded anti cultural slurs against "do- gooders."
As for Freedom of Enterprise, the great blinding new idea, the Fifth Freedom for which he had worked up his broadcast, "without it there can be no tomorrow for America." It was the "real America, the most important, the most vital freedom of all."
June 11 Mr. Lewis said that in response to public clamor he was repeating his great oration, and "according to my philosophy" (which is nothing more than the propaganda dope of the NAM) he was going to tell about the foundation stone of America, the most important thing worth fighting for throughout the world (Free Enterprise, of course). "It was fear and want which made this country," said Mr. Lewis. A sneer at "government by college economists." Freedom from want and freedom from fear he called "vote getting" items. "No government can give the people freedom from want."
The facts are: the two countries where Freedom of Enterprise have reached the ultimate state are Germany and Italy. In these and other totalitarian Big Business countries the corporations have not only been allowed the complete free enterprise of trusts and monopolies but they have been allowed to swallow little business, enslave labor, and finally to take over the political government itself. In Germany and Italy, Japan and Spain -- as documented in this book -- the equivalents of the NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Associated Farmers and Associated Industries own and control the government, the banks, the wealth of the land and the land itself. This is the real aim of Free Enterprise, and it is 100% at work in fascist countries only.
The second fact which Lewis denies is the possibility of abolishing want and fear due to want. Any system providing for full production -- preferably production for use and not for profits, but full production and no unemployment -- such as was advocated by the Bishops of the Church of England in their Malvern Declarations (the report smeared by the NAM's hired professors), provides the essential needs of humanity: food, clothing and shelter -- ample, even abundant, for every human being. It could be done overnight in the United States, which has natural resources; it is even possible throughout the world if the profits were taken from the few, and the wealth of the world given to the many. Mr. Lewis and the NAM both know this but neither dare mention it, and both are working against it. They prefer profits.
DOCUMENTATION AND REFERENCES:
One entire volume of the La Follette reports exposes the NAM: Committee on Education and Labor, 76th Congress, 1st Session; Report No.6, part 6; III The National Association of Manufacturers.
Digest of Report, Committee on Education and Labor, 76th Congress, 1st Session.
T.N.E.C. Monograph 26.