The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 14, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Indicative of the fact that Cash was not just an obscure North Carolina newspaperman, even in 1938, renowned newspaper magnate Frank Gannett sets forth in the letter below both his praise and objections to a by-lined Cash piece appearing in The News March 30, entitled "Getting Mr. Gannett".

Gannett, who would run unsuccessfully for the hotly contested Republican presidential nomination in 1940, was, along with W. R. Hearst, the Chandlers of L.A., Henry Luce of Time-Life and the Cowle brothers of Look, among the best known periodical publishers of his time. Though he died in 1957, his chain lives on in markets covering 41 states, with 97 newspapers, most notable of which is USA Today, and numerous tv stations.

Mr. Gannett Writes Anent Cash Article

Expresses Thanks for Defense of Hs Rights But Excepts to Some Statements

Dear Sir:

My attention has been called to an article signed by your Associate Editor, Mr. W. J. Cash, in your issue of March 30. For his defense of me and my insistence on the rights of freedom of speech, the right to petition, and freedom from search and seizures I am grateful. I believe he is absolutely right in his arguments.

You will be glad to know that because of our stubborn refusal to give up our private files we have won our case. The victory will serve to protect the privacy of your office and mine, and of your home and mine. The Minton Committee's efforts to smear us was simply outrageous. This invasion of our constitutional rights was alarming and I am glad indeed to find you supporting this view.

The rest of Mr. Cash's article, however, causes me to smile. I'm afraid he doesn't know all the facts about me and my group of newspapers. As a matter fact I insist on autonomy in each of our papers. They are not all made about the same pattern but they are all different even in make-up. Each editor expresses his own opinions; sometimes they are contrary to my own views on public questions, but that doesn't bother me a bit.

It happens that I have known President Roosevelt for 35 years and we have been good friends. I supported him at the beginning of his first administration and was a frequent visitor at the White House. I disagreed with him on NRA and AAA and cannot go along with his other ideas of government. I have nothing against him personally and on many things I admire him. At the same time I am sincerely concerned about the planned economy and the future of America if we proceed further with his program.

It is not for personal reasons that I am opposing President Roosevelt. But I have been eager to save America from the fate that has fallen on countries in Europe. I visited Germany, Italy, and Russia. I came back determined to do my part to protect America from fascism, nazism, or communism.

When I saw the President getting more and more power, I felt it was necessary to protest. Our Committee did much of the work of defeating the plan to pack the Supreme Court. We also fought a wage-and-hour bill which would have given the President still more power.

Anyway, I wanted you to know that I do not make any appeal under false favors, or for any other motives than to prevent the centralization of more power in the executive; whether he be Roosevelt or someone else. This I think is fundamental. I am happy that we checked further moves in that direction. Thanking you again for what Mr. Cash said in my behalf, I am, with best wishes,


Miami Beach, Fla.

Those White Lines

Those curious white lines which are painted across all our principal streets some fifteen feet from intersections might naturally be expected to excite the interest of our motorists and our cops. What for, you might naturally expect them suddenly some day to rise up and ask,--what for do men go around with little tin cans of paint and wide brushes and make marks like that on our streets? But it is clear that they don't, or that somebody has been holding out on them.

For almost invariably when the red light goes up, the cars that stop at all stop with their rear bumpers just about even with those lines, and a lot of their drivers keep slipping their clutches and creeping slowly forward. And the coppers stand on the corners and watch the pedestrians circle warily about them, and twirl their clubs and whistle or look bored.

We hear that the Junior Chamber of Commerce is looking for new fields to conquer in its traffic safety drive. Maybe it could find out why those lines are there.

Poor Frank

We don't envy Frank Hancock, who is trying to take Bob Reynolds' Senate seat away from him. The voters expect a genuine, hot and heavy campaign for this, one of the highest honors within the bestowal of a state that always takes its honors seriously, and Frank at least is doing his best to accommodate them.

But what is there, now, when you come down to brass tacks, to attack about Bob Reynolds except Bob Reynolds himself? His record? He hasn't any to speak of. Beyond supinely upholding the domestic policy and opposing the foreign policy of the administration, as well as going down the line for all Federal hand-outs that anybody suggested. Bob has been content to keep his fences mended and to have a good time. The only bill of national importance that he has introduced is one to deport aliens, and aliens are a matter of comparative indifference to a state which is 99 44-100% pure Anglo-Saxon. A way back there in the dark ages he also proposed an amendment to an unemployment relief bill that would have required the Government to pay prevailing wages. The amendment lost.

He has displayed a supreme contempt for the condition of the Federal budget, it is true, but so has nearly every other member of Congress, so that he is not much worse than the pack in that respect. But as for his Senatorial career, it has been characterized chiefly by carefree enjoyment of his position and its perquisites, and if Hancock bears down on that, he will certainly be accused of mud-slinging and resorting to personalities.

We do not, we say, envy Frank Hancock. He's got a playboy for an opponent, and he will offend the proprieties if he mentions it.

Mr. Lewis Speaks Up

At the conference of CIO leaders yesterday, which decided to break finally with the AFL and set up a permanent rival labor movement, two curious incidents transpired.

Lewis rebuked Albert Stonkus, chairman of the Utility Workers Organizing Committee, for permitting CIO members to seize four Michigan power plants recently.

Well, and well. It is not recorded that Mr. Stonkus opened his mouth to reply. But, remembering that Mr. Lewis had emphatically not rebuked the Automobile Workers for occupying the Michigan automobile plants last Summer, he must have burned within him to inquire "How Come?"

And, Lewis, naming specifically the army, navy, the WPA, and the Treasury Procurement Division, asserted Federal agencies had engaged in "systematic sabotage" of the Wagner Labor Disputes Act.

Which charge seems to us to be the last word in something. The army and the navy and treasury--maybe. After all, they are citadels of conservatism and probably don't, in their private hearts, look with any too great favor on Mr. Lewis & Co. But to have that great pet of the New Deal, the WPA, out to get that other great pet of the New Deal, the Wagner Act! To hear the charge from the man who contributed half a million smackers to the New Deal in the last election! Ah, now.

Bad Timing

It is a striking illustration of the disjointedness of our times that Congress, after finally mustering the nerve to oppose the President's will, is asserting itself by overriding good legislation such as the reorganization bill, whereas all the bad legislation is safely enacted. For instance, the President wrote Pat Harrison a note yesterday anent the newest tax bill in which he said:

"The repeal of the undistributed profits tax and the reduction of the tax on capital values to a fraction of the tax on other forms of income strike at the root of fundamental principles of taxation."

To this Pat replied tersely that the Senate would insist on the adoption of its amendments to the House bill. But the President is right. The Senate amendments, if they are retained, will favor the large stockholder in corporations at the expense of the small stockholder, the closely held corporation at the expense of the widely-owned corporation. We shall have two income tax systems, one, that upon individual incomes, based on ability to pay, and the other upon corporate incomes, based on ability to get out of paying.

It is true that the Senate bill is the choice of business men, hence may have a stimulating effect. But it will be at the expense of uniformity and consistency in taxation.

The French Dictator

France yesterday acquired a dictator. For, with the single exception of the power to revaluate the currency, the powers voted Edouard Daladier are as great as possessed by Hitler and Mussolini. There is only the difference that his mandate to govern by ukase runs for just three months.

Is there danger, then, that France is about to go essentially fascist? Our guess is that it probably won't. The dictatorship term may easily be extended beyond the three months' period, for it is unlikely that Daladier or anybody else can solve the crisis in which the nation is involved in any such short time. Indeed, it is more than probable that the power to deal with the monetary problem will have to be added to him also.

Yet, in the end, neither Daladier nor anybody else is likely to remain dictator in France. The Frenchman is not a docile sort like the German and the Russian, nor is he indifferent like the Italian--or preoccupied like the American. Behind him lies a long tradition, not of easy enjoyment of liberty, but of a continual struggle to achieve and maintain it. And in consequence, he is more jealous of it than any other national. Down to the commonest peasant and the boatman on the Seine, he actively concerns himself with what his Government is doing, and keeps a suspicious eye on it, does not hesitate to act decisively when he thinks his rights are threatened. More than that, he is incurably a skeptic and so is no easy victim even for modern streamlined propaganda. And yet again, there is no army in France save the citizen army.

Add all that to the fact that Daladier's own party is a minority party, that he rules only with the backing of those who are normally his opponents, and it is unlikely that the fascist menace will come to much in France.

Not Inexplicable

The Hon. Pat (for patronage) McKellar, Senator in Congress from Tennessee, voted for the reorganization bill. Yes, the Hon. McKellar voted for the reorganization bill. Which is, to say the least, a little odd. For the reorganization bill had for one of its professed purposes the elimination of the spoils system. It would have given the President the power to take any minor employee out from the spoils system and put him under civil service, and in the hands of a President who is really devoted to the civil service idea, that would have been fatal for patronage.

But the Hon. McKellar is, of course, the very avatar of the spirit of patronage. He is the author of the celebrated McKellar list, which searched out and set down for the information of his colleagues every piece of Federal patronage available to them. And he has fought constantly for the extension of the spoils system. At the time the reorganization bill was up he had a bill in the Senate to take first, second and third class postmasters out from under civil service and make them pure patronage again. Yet he voted for the reorganization bill.

Odd? We have said it. But hardly mysterious. The Hon. McKellar, you see, is up for re-election this year and is in for a fight. And that being so, he needs the okay of the New Deal the very worst way.


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