William Benton

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

William Benton (deceased 1973) was "a Senator from Connecticut; born in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn., April 1, 1900; attended Shattuck Military Academy, Faribault, Minn., and Carleton College, Northfield, Minn., in 1917 and 1918; graduated from Yale University in 1921; worked for advertising agencies in New York and Chicago until 1929 and then cofounded his own advertising agency in New York; moved to Norwalk, Conn., in 1932; part-time vice president of the University of Chicago 1937-1945; Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1945, to September 30, 1947, during which time he was active in organizing the United Nations; member of and delegate to numerous United Nations and international conferences and commissions; chairman of the board and publisher of Encyclopedia Britannica 1943-1973; trustee of several schools and colleges; appointed to the United States Senate, December 17, 1949, and subsequently elected on November 7, 1950, as a Democrat to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Raymond E. Baldwin to the term ending January 3, 1953 and served from December 17, 1949, to January 3, 1953; unsuccessful candidate for election for the full term in 1952; United States Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris 1963-1968; died in New York City, March 18, 1973; cremated; ashes scattered at family estate, Southport, Conn." [1]

"The Benton Foundation is the legacy of William Benton (1900-1973), the founder of the advertising agency Benton & Bowles and publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was a public servant who championed free speech and civil liberties. He served as United States Senator, UNESCO Ambassador and University of Chicago Vice President. He was the first in Congress to propose the motion for expulsion of Joseph McCarthy from the U.S. Senate in 1951.

"Dr. George Gallup called Benton a "father" of advertising consumer research for his development in 1928 of the first study of its kind, measuring consumer preference. The success of Benton & Bowles was closely related to the rise in popularity of radio. Benton & Bowles invented the radio soap opera to promote their clients' products, and by 1936 were responsible for three of the four most popular radio programs on the air.

"Benton admonished educators and philanthropies to use the new tools of communications: "If the great universities do not develop radio broadcasting in the cause of education, it will, perhaps, be permanently left in the hands of the manufacturers of face powder, coffee and soap, with occasional interruptions by the politicians."

"His lifetime preoccupation was how to apply his understanding of, and belief in, what he termed "the high significance of the media of communications" to education and citizenship. Publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1943) and creator of the Voice of America (1945), Benton's work was driven by a fascination for the public interest possibilities of new communications technologies and techniques. From radio to educational films, he pushed the envelope with his own peers and within the foundation world, urging them to take communications seriously and to use it to build democracy." [2]

"Benton was a founding member of the Committee for Economic Development, which was set by Paul G. Hoffman in 1942, who was its Chairman from 1942 to 1948. Other founding members included Marion B. Folsom, Chairman from 1950 to 1953 and later Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Eisenhower administration; and Eric A. Johnston, a member of the ASCC takeover group. James D. Zellerbach was Chairman from 1955 to 1957, and Donald K. David, Dean of Harvard University, Trustee of the Ford Foundation and Carnegie Institute, was Chairman from 1957 to 1959. "The Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development is the select inner-group which actually runs the CED." In 1957, these included Frank Altschul, the Chairman of General American Investors; William Benton, Donald K. David, and Philip L. Graham. J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of the Board of Cummins Engine Co., was a member of the CED's Commission on Money and Credit, set up in 1957." (The Invisible Government, (pdf of entire book) by Dan Smoot, 1962, p.124)

"In the midst of World War II, my old boss, William Benton, then assistant secretary of State and later a senator from Connecticut, came up with the idea of the Voice of America (VOA). One day, he described the VOA, which transmitted by shortwave radio, to RCA Chairman David Sarnoff, the tough-minded and passionate pioneer of American broadcasting. Sarnoff noted how little electronic power and transmitter scope the VOA had, then said, "Benton, all you've got here is the whisper of America."" [3]

SourceWatch Resources

External links