Impact of Telivision on Electioneering
TV's Power to Build Up or Tear Down Candidates
Approach of another presidential election focuses attention on the part that television may play in deciding the outcome of the political contest and in promoting public understanding of the questions at issue in the campaign. The extent to which television lives up to its possibilities in those respects in 1956 may depend on the extent to which certain federal restrictions are modified. In the opinion of the broadcasting industry and many lay observers, current provisions of law governing the granting of free or equal time to political candidates stand in the way of achieving maximum public benefit from TV in election campaigns.
It is probable that proposals to revise the Federal Communications Act as it affects political broadcasting will be given careful consideration at the next session of Congress. Such proposals are expected to be taken up in connection with a forthcoming general inquiry into the affairs of the radio and television industry. The Senate Commerce Committee will launch the inquiry with public hearings scheduled to open Jan. 17, 1956.
Since 1946, when television was a novelty available to only 10,000 families in the eastern part of the country, it has developed into a major nation-wide medium of information and entertainment. More than 35 million receiving sets, fed by four national networks and some 400 individual telecasting stations, are in use today. Nine at of ten families live in areas where programs can be received from at least one TV outlet.