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shooting down here, they will take a good bit of footage, and they submit it to New York, or wherever the main editing offices are, and they will not use any of it, or they will use 20 seconds, and so I think a little more heart on the part of those editors which of course is a goal you aspire to all the time, would be helpful.
Sometimes they need a little more sympathy, the editors you have here on the ground can do a good job, but if it is not processed through the organization, it never gets on the tube. This is one of the problems that affects us, plus I think that individual Members when they have something that is worthwhile, Republicans or Democrats, really, there ought to be some way for them to get a little better coverage.
We are not all public relations experts, a handful of Members are, but most of us are not.
Television is a specialized media. I was invited to be on one of these morning shows this morning, and I could not do it. The subject was impeachment, what would constitute impeachment, sort of a meaty subject these days, but the committee of which I am a member has issued today a memorandum on that subject, and I thought it would be rather inappropriate for me to discuss that subject this morning. To do so, I would have to study half the night to educate myself on the various aspects of what could constitute impeachment, historically and currently. You can see when you invite Members, they sometimes cannot take advantage of the opportunity, so I just say that I appreciate your sympathy, your concern, and hope that it will be both profitable and appropriate for CBS and the major networks to cover more carefully, and with, I hope, kindly intelligence, and forebearance sometimes of the Members.
Mr. TAYLOR. Congressman, you speak our goals. That is always what we are striving to do. It is true we have an editorial and editing process. We have constraints upon us, one thing that the other media does not, that thing is called time. I think, just like all human beings, we make mistakes occasionally, and we will continue to do that. We attempt to correct them. We will always attempt to correct them, and on balance, I believe the job we have done has been very good, but we are always striving to improve that.
It does seem to me, that in fact the Congress as an institution, as I indicated to Congressman Cleveland, must be considered as a multiplicity of voices. One must take this into account, and not be frus trated, because the Executive speaks only with one voice. The Congress speaks with many. To change that is to change an historical precept which is very dear to some of us, and we have to work with that.
I think it was Jefferson who was kind of discouraged with what he had done with the Constitution and the press treatment, he received, he said, he was so irritated by what the press was saying about him, but if he had a choice between having them irritate me and not, he preferred the irritation.
Well, I do not suggest we are in business to attempt to irritate anyone, but I will promise you that my colleagues and I will strive to approach more and more the kind of goals which you just set forth.
Chairman METCALF. Mr. Taylor, years ago when I was a Member of the House and on the Ways and Means Committee, the State of Montana was leading the Nation in unemployment. We had the Berlin
erisis, and we had several other crises. We were studying tax reorganization, and there was some talk in the Montana Legislature about control of television. I got more mail, sacks full of mail from people who thought they were going to pull the plug on the television set. They did not write about the possibility of losing their jobs down at Anaconda, or whether they were not going to get any unemployment compensation, or what was going to happen to us in Berlin. But they were really concerned and exercised about whether they were going to have television. I not only have a great deal of respect for the media you represent, I also believe you have tremendous responsibility.
I think your statement today has demonstrated you are aware of that responsibility. You talk about professional newscasters.
We know them, Roger Mudd and Walter Cronkite, for example.
They know Congress, they understand our problems and our role, and I could say the same thing for the other networks. But what we are trying to do is to explore ways in which we can help you remove some of the obstacles that we have put in the way of better and more thorough coverage of Congress as an institution. I hope that we will be able to write to you or your representatives, and perhaps ask additional questions that you can answer for the record.
Mr. TAYLOR. I would be delighted, Senator, to have that personal communication.
Representative CLEVELAND. Mr. Taylor, just one or two more tries here.
Your point regarding a multiplicity of voices is certainly valid, and because Congress and the Senate or the House has a multiplicity of voices, it is difficult to consider it as an institution. But let us get back to your statement. As I recall from your statement, you address yourself to the fact that you, unlike the printed media, cannot take your equipment on the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House.
Now, have you or your editorial staff ever addressed this problem and discussed it with your viewers?
Mr. TAYLOR. Discussed it with our viewers ? Certainly we have discussed it among ourselves at great length.
Representative CLEVELAND. I am talking about your viewers-
Representative CLEVELAND. No, have you ever just editorialized this question with your viewers ?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, we have raised it with the public. I raised it in several public statements. My predecessors have been raising it for 20 years.
Representative CLEVELAND. I am talking about programs, part of the programs.
Mr. TAYLOR. I cannnot speak to that definitively, Congressman, not because we have not done it. It's simply that my historical background with CBS is not long enough.
We will go back, and I feel quite sure we will find editorials that we have done on this subject, and we will be pleased to seek those out and make those a part of the record if the chairman would like that.
Chairman METCALF. Yes. If you find some editorials and other relevant materials, we would be delighted to have them, and we will incorporate them in the record.
Mr. TAYLOR. As I said, I cannot answer that question definitively, but this has been a subject which literally began in 1953, and we will go back to the record and put together those matters, those periods when we did give attention to the situation.
Representative CLEVELAND. You would certainly consider it worthy of comment by your commentators if serious efforts were made to address this problem?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, indeed.
Representative CLEVELAND. Am I correct in saying this has nothing to do with individual Senators or Congressmen?
This is something that Congress as an institution would address?
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, I think you are correct in saying that the need for the American people to have a clear idea of what their legislators are doing and how they are doing it is important.
Representative CLEVELAND. No; you missed my point. I am talking about the events leading up to our permitting this electronic presence on the floor of the Senate and House. Is that worth comment ?
You have commented in your statement this morning
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes; the answer to the question is I cannot cite a specific instance, but I feel if we go back and go through the record of what all of our people have said, and the editorials that have gone out we will find evidence of statements where we have advocated the importance of making clear to the American people this process in which we are engaged. Primarily that is through access of our facilities and our cameras and microphones to the hearings which we think is the best way to accomplish what I think you and I both want to accomplish.
Representative CLEVELAND. I have not made myself clear. I do not think we are on the same wavelength. What I am trying to get across is this rule that now exists. That you cannot have radio and television on the floor of the House and the floor of the Senate, is a rule of the institution, of the body. It is a rule of the House, it is a rule of the Senate. What I am trying to get across is that it is an example of a rule of the institution, that you could comment on. Not Congressmen, and so on, not Senators, and so on, but this is a rule of the Congress, and to improve it as an institution and I feel it would improve it as an institution—this rule should be changed ?
Is that the type of thing that you feel your people might someday comment on?
Mr. TAYLOR. I think it is worthy of future comment, but let us go and see what our people have said on that subject, on that rule, or on other rules that may exist, and we will submit that to you.
Chairman METCALF. Any material you find and can submit will be incorporated in the record.
[The material referred to appears in the Appendix on p. 451.] Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Senator.
Chairman METCALF. Mr. Taylor, I think maybe there are some parallels between Renaissance history and present day history of the United States, particularly as it pertains to the White House staff. It is seldom wasted effort to review what has been said earlier on a given subject before commenting further on it.
I am grateful to you for appearing and helping us in our inquiry.
You have been most helpful, most forthright, and I am going to write to ask you some more questions after we have had an opportunity to review the transcripts of these hearings.
This is not a legislative committee, Mr. Taylor, as you know. We have an advantage in that we do not report legislation, so we can look
into general subject areas. Then perhaps Congressman Brooks and I will join in introducing legislation which will go to the respective committees that have jurisdiction. You have helped us tremendously, you have been frank and forthright, and I think it is an excellent job that CBS has done. Thank you for appearing.
Mr. TAYLOR. It has been a privilege, sir.
Chairman METCALF. Our next witness today is Elton Rule, president of ABC.
We are glad to have you here. We have the same high regard for your newscasters as those of CBS, and we look forward to your statement.
ELTON H. RULE, PRESIDENT, ABC Elton H. Rule, president and chief operating officer of American Broadcast. ing Companies, Inc. was elected to that position early in 1972 after serving for 3 years as president of the broadcast division of ABC and its television network for 2 years. Prior to 1968, Mr. Rule was vice president and general manager of KABC-TV in Los Angeles and he has served as president of the California Broadcasters Association.
Mr. RULE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the Joint Committee on Congressional Operations.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Joint Committee on Congressional Operations, my name is Elton H. Rule, I am president of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
I thank you for the opportunity to participate in these hearings and to present ABC's views on methods that Congress, as an institution, might employ to improve its capability for communicating with the American people through mass media.
We understand that it is your intention to provide Members of Congress with a body of information and opinion concerning three general questions:
(1) How can the institutional role of Congress be accurately covered by the news media ?
(2) How can spokesmen for Congress gain direct access more readily to the broadcast media to present congressional viewpoints on major issues ?
(3) What additional facilities, staff and other supporting services, if any, are required to provide Congress with a more adequate institutional capability in the area of mass communications?
With regard to the first general question, we at ABC have two very basic views. We are enthusiastic advocates of freedom of information as the cornerstone of a free society. And we feel that freedom of information is indivisible. There should not be two standards, one for the printed press and another for the electronic media, particularly today when television news is recognized as the single most important source of information on what is happening in government and politics.
Americans today devote more than twice as much time looking at television as they do to reading newspapers and magazines. The Roper Survey has shown that if the public had to choose one medium from among all the media, the one that most people would want is television. And television's preeminence as an informational medium continues to grow. That is true for the numbers of people who
watch, the amount of time that they tune in, television's constant technical improvements and innovations and the increase in news presentations. An estimated average in excess of 40 million people watch regularly scheduled network evening news on television each weekday evening.
Accordingly, we believe that both the House and the Senate should permit their floor debates and major hearings by committees to be open to television and radio coverage, a goal long advocated by ABC News, Networks and local stations should be allowed to exercise their own news judgment as to what debates are of wide enough public interest to be presented, and committees of both the House and the Senate should be authorized to make their own ground rules for such television and radio coverage.
We believe that technical advances over the years have minimized the argument that television may disrupt the orderly procedure of Congress. The galleries of the House and Senate are open to the public without restriction, but with an obviously limited seating capacity. We are confident that we can enormously expand the public audience if given the opportunity to do so, with virtually no more disruption than is currently provided by the galleries.
Look back over the years to some milestones in television history. In 1951, television cameras were allowed to cover the hearings of the Senate Crime Investigations Committee, headed by the late Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Television viewers were enlightened and fascinated by the parade of witnesses, and the hearings were hailed as a badly needed exposé. The public reaction to the hearings was a contributing factor to the Crime Investigations Committee's subsequent recommendations for a Federal racket squad, new crime laws, stiffer narcotics penalties, and new tax laws. Viewers understood why the committee took these steps. They had seen the reasons for it firsthand.
In 1953, the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, under the chairmanship of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, undertook an investigation of the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, N.J., charging that the Army had been las in its security measures against subversion. The drama and excitement of the televised hearings the following year transfixed the Nation. The decisive vote by which the Senate subsequently censured Senator McCarthy was in all probability related to the reaction of the viewing public who had been watching him in action in the hearings.
In 1968, a portion of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings concerning the Vietnam war was televised, and who can forget the recent coverage of the Watergate hearings conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities.
These examples that come to mind were all experiences that gripped television viewers to the extent that the daily routine of millions of people was charged. But more importantly, millions were informed, were given front row seats and the opportunity to form their own opinions. In this respect, they were participants who better understood how Congress operates. It seems to me that both Houses of the Congress should recognize what almost all of its Members have learned individually during campaigns for public office-television and radio are powerful means of communication that can contribute