« PreviousContinue »
Moreover, if the Government wished to coerce the broadcast media, it has ample means already at its disposal in the form of federal licenses which by law must be renewed every three years. Part of the public service obligation of a broadcaster holding this public monopoly has been interpreted to mean that he is required to run public service announcements. These are generally government messages. His failure to donate such time to the Government would cost him his license.
We conclude, therefore, that the coercive effect on the media by the addition of subsidy via paid advertisements is diminimus.
Public Service Spot Announcements: The Department of Defense found that reliance on the "free" public service spot announcements was not sufficient to satisfy its needs to recruit young men and women for the armed services. Its election to set aside a portion of its already hard-pressed budget for paid advertisements is strong testimony to ineffectiveness of public service.
They are ineffective, primarily because they are generally run at non-prime time hours: early in the morning, late at night or high noon when the target audience--eligible men and women-is not watching or listening.
One cannot expect the Department of Defense to accomplish its statutory mandate of national defense through recruiting adequate manpower unless the Department is granted the necessary tools. Effective advertising is a necessary tool. And prime time advertising is necessary for advertising to be effective.
Prime time advertising can be achieved either by purchase or by draft: either the Government buys the prime time space or forces the broadcasting industry to "give" it by requiring that public service spots be aired during, prime time.
Other Programs: The National Committee is concerned that Government programs, other than armed services recruiting, are not afforded the equal privilege of prime time advertisements, via purchase.
The Mexican American Community is in dire straits socially and economically. Because the educational system in the United States, conducted in English, has not reached the Community, Mexican Americans have an average educational level of only 7.1 years. This is two years less than Blacks and five years less than Anglos. Five out of eight Mexican American children in school today will drop out before the eighth grade. In today's technological society the Community's low educational level confines it to the lower rungs of the economy. The unemployment rate of Mexican Americans is twice that of Anglos. In Colorado, 8.5% of Anglo families live in overcrowded and/or dilapidated housing, compared to 35.3% of Spanish-speaking families.*
The Mexican American Community is, or should be, a primary target of many Government programs. Yet, raza, our people, do not know of these programs. Their ignorance is due primarily to a lack of contact, a lack of communication by the Government.
Early morning, late night and high noon, public service spots on HUD programs on housing, on the 1970 Census, on bilingual education programs of HEW—these spots miss the Chicano household as much as the Anglo household. To bridge this communication gap, the Government needs advertisements in prime time, by payment or as required public service announcements.
Prime time ads have a much greater payoff than other ads in time of response to a given message.
Equal Opportunity: The Government in devising its advertisements as public service announcements or paid advertisements has not been an equal opportunity employer. The Resolution needs amendment to encompass and correct this problem.
* Hearings, before the Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, 1st Sess., 31st Cong., June 11-12, 1969. pp. 5-14.
Even though Mexican Americans are dying in Vietnam in disproportionate numbers, the Department of Defense recruiting advertisements to not include raza: mass shots of happy, smiling GIS are either white faces or black faces.
America is a pluralistic society. It is a land of many people. But the Government, and the media, has interpreted “minority" to mean only black and is hung up on black/white problems. This Afro-Saxon mindset has excluded all other minorities. Government agencies should move to include more minorities on the screen in their advertisements.
And, if the Government is sincerely interested in reaching the Mexican American Community and in having its message presented clearly with a chance of convincing the listener, the Government will engage Mexican Americans to devise, produce and distribute the spots and concentrate a great deal more effect on the Spanish-language broadcasters. Sensitivity and knowledge of the Community are essential to making the advertisement right and effective for this target community.
In view of the existing potential for Government coercion of the mass media and the Government's need to communicate its message to the public, and National Committee is not opposed to paid advertisements by the Government. As an alternative the Government could require public service announcements in prime time.
The National Committee urges that Congress act to require the Government to include at all levels and phases of its advertising and other forms of public communication all minorities of the United States, including the Mexican Americans.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of this Committee.
Mr. TIERNAN. Now, the chairman has directed me to state at this time that the hearings are closed.
Thank you very much.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., April 27, 1971.
DEAR VAN: I wish to comment on your Concurrent Resolution No. 215 with reference to the findings and recommendations our Subcommittee made on the publicity efforts for the 1970 Census of Population and Housing of the United States. Your resolution as now stated is in direct conflict with our recommendations last December.
Whereas I understand the rationale of your resolution and can appreciate the position you are taking, I would suggest you consider amending it so as to permit the expenditures of Federal funds for pertinent effective advertising of selected Federal undertakings.
In particular, I should like to call your attention to the first two paragraphs of page 38 of House Report No. 91-1777, "Report on the Accuracy of the 1970 Census Enumeration”.
INADEQUACY OF PUBLICITY, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION
A continuing theme running through both the field investigation and the hearings was the reported inadequacy of the Census Bureau's publicity and community education programs—particularly in the major metropolitan areas in which over two-thirds of our population resides. The small sums of money available to the Census Bureau even when supplemented by the free (and greatly appreciated) services of the Advertising Council and the public service efforts of the media, were not sufficient to educate the public to the importance of the census to themselves and their communities.
The Subcommittee would consider an expenditure of $20 million dollars (less than 10 cents per person) supplemented by continuing free services as the minimum required to achieve an adequate public awareness—and by way of contract-points out that the August 24, 1970 issue of Advertising Age records that in 1969 alone the four major U.S. automobile manufacturers spent approximately $362 million on advertising-over 50 percent more than the total cost of a complete decennial census of population and housing.
It was our firm conclusion that the establishment of a public relations program with adequate staffing before and during a national census effort would unquestionably result in a more complete and accurate enumeration within a shorter time period. Such a publicity program could be geared toward better information and communications with all levels of government, with particular attention directed to officials of local governments. In summary, we concluded that the benefits of a properly developed public information campaign would than justify the funds allocated for such an activity.
A copy of House Report No. 91-1777 is attached for your information and reference. I will be pleased to discuss this matter further with you as you wish. Very truly yours,
CHARLES H. Wilson, Chairman.
(Whereupon, at 12:45 p.m., the hearings were closed.)