Television and the 1956 Campaign

September 6, 1955

Report Outline
Impact of Telivision on Electioneering
Growing Use of Television in Politics
Campaign Regulations and Television
Special Focus

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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Apr. 11, 2014  Future of TV
Nov. 09, 2012  Indecency on Television
Aug. 27, 2010  Reality TV
Jun. 20, 2008  Transition to Digital TV
Feb. 16, 2007  Television's Future
Mar. 18, 2005  Celebrity Culture
Oct. 29, 1999  Public Broadcasting
Aug. 15, 1997  Children's Television
Dec. 23, 1994  The Future of Television
Mar. 26, 1993  TV Violence
Sep. 18, 1992  Public Broadcasting
Oct. 04, 1991  Pay-Per-View
Feb. 17, 1989  A High-Tech, High-Stakes HDTV Gamble
Dec. 27, 1985  Cable Television Coming of Age
Sep. 07, 1984  New Era in TV Sports
Sep. 24, 1982  Cable TV's Future
Apr. 24, 1981  Public Broadcasting's Uncertain Future
May 09, 1980  Television in the Eighties
Oct. 25, 1972  Public Broadcasting in Britain and America
Mar. 26, 1971  Video Revolution: Cassettes and Recorders
Sep. 09, 1970  Cable Television: The Coming Medium
May 15, 1968  Television and Politics
Mar. 01, 1967  Financing of Educational TV
Dec. 16, 1964  Community Antenna Television
Oct. 21, 1964  Sports on Television
Feb. 28, 1962  Expansion of Educational Television
Aug. 28, 1957  Television in the Schools
Jan. 18, 1957  Movie-TV Competition
Sep. 06, 1955  Television and the 1956 Campaign
May 18, 1954  Educational Television
Sep. 03, 1953  Changing Fortunes of the Movie Business
Apr. 20, 1953  Televising Congress
May 31, 1951  Television in Education
Jan. 26, 1949  Television Boom
Jul. 12, 1944  Television
Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections
Popular Culture
Radio and Television