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TAKE IT AWAY

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Caught in the no-man's land between the two political parties now starting their death struggle barrage, the lot of the average broadcasting company is not a happy one. The Columbia system singed its fingers badly Saturday when it cut from the air Senator Vandenburgh's "debate" against Mr. Roosevelt's recorded voice, simply on a technicality. But despite the clamor of censorship, the company's stand appears well founded. For who would dare to speak on the radio if his words might at any time thereafter be trumpeted throughout the nation and knocked silly by a clever political enemy, while he himself stood by deprived of all defense and rebuttal?

The cry that the broadcasting companies have clamped down on one party or another during the last few weeks is not borne out by the facts. The tuning dial has run the gamut of colors from the purple and gold of economic royalty to the bright red of communism. Censorship is not the issue, for time on the air has been sold to all comers.

But for the universal protection of candidates, the rebroadcast of a man's remarks days or years later should not be permitted to go out on the ether. Such mechanical repetition deprives him of the opportunity to change his mind or adapt his arguments to the moment, or in any way to clarify his position. The Lincoln-Douglas debates, for instance, could not have taken place had Douglas been a dummy or a red scal record. Furthermore, at a time when many political voices are household property, the unsophisticated listener may have difficulty deciding which is the real speaker and which the ghost.

Accordingly the decision of the Columbia system to limit debates to flesh and blood candidates upholds the interests of the public in general. And Mr. Farley, particularly, should beam approval, for no candidates since Satan has promised such great worlds to a gullible public as "his master's voice".

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