Growers Launch Million Dollar Propaganda Drive


Growers Launch Million Dollar Propaganda Drive


Grape Strike, Calif., 1965-1970 [lcsh]
United Farm Workers Organizing Committee [lcna]


Article from El Marciado, the Voice of the Farmworker, detailing propaganda activities started by American table grape growers.


United Farm Workers Organizing Committee




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SAN FRANCISCO, May 1 – While California grape growers are tearfully complaining to the public that they cannot afford to pay a penny more to their workers, they have also begun a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign aimed at proving how poor and abused they are and how evil they feel the grape boycott is.
The first step in this campaign was the hiring of an expensive public relations firm, Whittaker and Baxter, to counter the international botcott [sic] of table grapes. Whitaker and Baxter first attracted national attention when the firm received a reported $1 million back in 1948 to block former President Truman’s push for national health insurance. Medicare did not pass Congress for 17 more years and Whitaker and Baxter claim credit for much of the prejudice and hostility that built up against the program.

More recently, W&B was hired to mastermind the nationwide lobby campaign for constitutional convention to overturn the Supreme Court’s “one-man-one-vote” ruling.
The California Table Grape Commission has also retained a P.R. firm, J. Walter Thompson Co., “to combat adverse publicity caused by the continuing grape boycott,” according to Supermarket News. And some supermarkets themselves are entering the fight more directly on the side of the growers. The National Association of Food Chains has run expensive ads defending its continued purchase of grapes.
The first major drive of the P.R. firms was to publicize a libelous smear statement by E. L. Barr, President of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, accusing UFWOC and Cesar Chavez of using widespread violence to achieve their ends. There has also been a rash of nationally sindicated [sic] columns against the strike. Senator Dirkson of Illinois, closely associated with Whitaker and Baxter in the one-man, one-vote campaign, attacked the boycott in his column, and one national columnist, James Kilpatrick, described farm work as being “picnic-pleasant” where the workers took their wives and children to work in the fields because it was so much fun, and where they all ate their lunches together in the fields, as in a pleasant Sunday afternoon outing.

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Date Added
May 19, 2015
UC Davis Asian American Studies files
Item Type
“Growers Launch Million Dollar Propaganda Drive,” Welga Project Digital Archive and Repository, accessed March 24, 2018,