HC Deb 17 July 1940 vol 363 cc201-2
29. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Minister of Information whether any tests are made as to the effects on the public mind of propaganda made over the radio by persons employed to do so by his Department; and, if so, with what results?

The Minister of Information (Mr. Duff Cooper)

The B.B.C. conducts a continuous day-to-day survey of the audience for all broadcasts and, in addition, receive regular reports from listeners of all classes. These reports cover broadcasts of a political character, which are arranged by the B.B.C. subject to the advice and control of my Department. Few broadcasts can appeal equally to all sections of opinion, and criticism received is carefully studied. But in general, the information collected suggests that the talks broadcast by the B.B.C. are heard by very large audiences and are widely approved.

Mr. Davies

Has the Minister found any tendency in these tests among the people to discount Government propaganda because it is propaganda?

Mr. Cooper

No, Sir. I do not think I have found any tendency in that direction. Naturally, it is known when a Minister speaks that he is giving the views of the Government, and giving advice and guidance. I do not know whether the hon. Member means propaganda by that.

Mr. Thurtle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the effect upon the public mind of the lugubrious person who speaks every day at 7.55 a.m. is deplorable?

Mr. Woodburn

Has not the right hon. Gentleman found any resentment in regard to the continual reiteration on the wireless that the people of this country are "jitterbugs"? The people are not "jitterbugs," and this should be stopped.

Mr. Cooper

So far as I am aware, there has been no such reiteration on the wireless.

Mr. Leach

Has the Minister ascertained the effect on the public mind of his own broadcasts?

Mr. Cooper

I do receive criticisms—as all Members do in regard to public utterances—some of which are favourable and some unfavourable.