As Pegler Sees It. Communists Go `Big Business’ to Trick U.S.

Westbrook Pegler

Chicago Herald-American/March 15, 1945

In writing some time ago of the use of radio by a Russian-born war contractor to harangue the Americans with propaganda consistent with the Communist line, I made the mistake of declaring that our standard American press would not sell advertising space for editorial matter.

It was a careless observation and incorrect because, periodically, since 1939, the International Latex Company of Playtex Park, Dover, Del., has been running political arguments as paid advertisements.

These have been New Deal preachments, and anti-Nazi, but, as far as my reading of them reveals, never anti-Communist, nor hostile to totalitarianism, as such.

Even though it were not deducted, but paid out of the company’s own profits, they would still pay for it because, after all, it is the taxpayers who pay the profits, too. A Communist organization having the form of an American business corporation might desire profits only to be able to use them to promote the cause of communism.

There are points of similarity between Novick of Electronic and the president of International Latex, whose name is Abraham N. Spanel. His advertisements run two or three columns wide, the length of the page, in a national list of newspapers, a campaign suggesting a huge appropriation for political propaganda, and he is a rapturous advocate of Henry Wallace as an American political prophet.

Another of Mr. Spanel’s rhapsodies was a reprint of a column by a member of the Roosevelt newspaper following in Washington, which described Wallace as a champion and symbol of the “aspirations of the common man and the underdog.” This was a poetic construction well expressing the attitude of some demagogues of the extreme left who regard the American citizen as a soulless lump to be fed, quartered, ordered and disciplined even as a dog.

A native of Russia and an admirer of the Soviet system might be pardoned in the error.

He is said to have returned voluntarily $1,500,000 of his profits to the Treasury, but we are not told whether he might have had to do this anyway, as many manufacturers must, under the renegotiation process. A war contractor thus could make patriotic virtue of legal necessity.

We do know, however, that the advertising matter is entirely political and ideological, with no mention of any commercial product, and that it represents a lavish outlay of money by a corporation for political propaganda in the guise of public service, financed by an immigrant from Russia, who seems to admire Russia as a trustworthy national comrade of the United States, without reference to the record of Russia’s past performances or examination of the Communist system.

(Source: Casetext.com, “Spanel v. Pegler,” https://casetext.com/case/spanel-v-pegler-2_)

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