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First, we are asking representatives of the broadcast industry for their frank comments and opinions on how the Congress can more effectively communicate its actions and decisions to the people of the United States. Lest there be any doubt in anyone's mind, let me emphasize this point: We are not accusing the broadcasters of failing to do their job nor are we seeking in any way to intimidate broadcasters in the exercise of their duties as professional journalists.
We believe that most broadcasters would agree with the proposition that it is possible to provide a more complete and more accurate picture of the work of Congress than is being provided now. We also believe that most broadcasters would agree with the proposition that there are no easy or self-evident ways to achieve this more complete and accurate reporting.
But it is our hope that these hearings will offer some solid clues as to responsible and sensible ways to proceed in the future.
Second, we have invited testimony from commercial and public broadcasters with widely varying perspectives and responsibilities. We know that the commercial networks approach the job of covering Congress from one perspective, that public broadcasters have a different perspective, and that local commercial stations have still other concerns.
We also know that television broadcasters see the job of covering Congress from a perspective that is quite different from the perspective of radio broadcasters.
All of these perspectives are valid and important. We hope that the particular concerns and interests of each broadcast medium can be as clearly and fully developed today as possible, and that these expert witnesses will be willing to respond to any additional written questions required to give us a complete record.
I will now call on this morning's first witness, Arthur Taylor, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Mr. Taylor, we are delighted to have you and your colleagues with us today.
You may proceed in any way you wish.
I notice Congressman Cleveland brought along his book, "We Propose: A Modern Congress," and I think we should at least give it a mention here. Thank you for the contribution you have made in this book, which includes discussion of the need for greater public understanding of the workings of Congress as an institution.
Representative CLEVELAND. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For the benefit of those people who were not here yesterday, the chairman spoke about the educational function of Congress, and then he promptly proclaimed the list of nominees he unearthed as becoming something of a bestseller in the realm.
Chairman METCALF. It was not a bestseller, Congressman Cleveland. It was a giveaway, and so there was a great demand for it.
Representative CLEVELAND. After his rather successful activities, I have to admit the book, "We Propose: A Modern Congress," had been a worstseller, and I think that is relevant, Mr. Chairman, because I could not help noticing in the papers this morning the very little coverage these hearings have had, practically nothing. So I think we have to take as a starting point at least that the subject we are dealing with—which is communicating to the people what we do or try to do, and trying to reform our procedures so our performance will be
more meaningful and more newsworthy-is not exactly newsworthy in and of itself.
I find this regrettable, because I thought some of the statements yesterday by such people as Congressman John Anderson and Senator Muskie and Senators Humphrey and Mondale, and remarks from this podium by the chairman and myself and Congressman Giaimo and Congressman Dellenback, went a long way toward making news.
We had a consensus that the electronic media should come into sessions of the House under certain circumstances, and again on the floor of the Senate. I find it a little startling that this was not newsworthy. But again, as you said, Mr. Chairman, there is no attempt by this committee or any committee of Congress to tell people what is news, and we will have to keep going along, as we are, trying to improve our performance, and by doing that, making the news. It is a bit discouraging. I am glad you did mention this book, who knows, maybe we can put it into print again. If we get a little publicity, it might be a bestseller like your list of nominees.
Chairman METCALF. Thank you very much, Congressman Cleveland. Our first witness is Arthur Taylor, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System.
Mr. Taylor is a historian, and he has turned around now to make history on a day-to-day basis, and he is a distinguished representative of an important facet of our society.
I am proud to have Mr. Taylor with our committee. It is a great privilege to have you here to testify and to assist us in exploring ways Congress can be more helpful to you in televising and broadcasting congressional activities.
You may proceed in any way you wish.
ARTHUR R. TAYLOR, PRESIDENT, COLUMBIA BROADCASTING
Arthur R. Taylor, 38, was elected President and a director of the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1972, after serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the International Paper Company for 2 years. He began his business career in 1961 as a trainee with the First Boston Corporation, where he worked for 9 years. A native of Rahway, New Jersey, he is a graduate of Brown University where he studied Renaissance history. He also serves as a trustee of Brown and of Bucknell University. Mr. Taylor. Thank you, Senator.
Before I begin, just a comment on the conversation between you and Congressman Cleveland on the subject of the worstseller.
I want you to know CBS has an interest in a publishing house which several times has retired a permanent trophy in that particular category.
I appreciate very much the opportunity to be here today.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this Joint Committee of the Congress in your consideration of a question of historic import to the Nation: How the American people can be even better informed of the views and activities of their Congress. This committee, under the distinguished leadership of its chairman, deserves the thanks of all thoughtful citizens for undertaking a full discussion of these issues.
In my mind there are two major and related aspects to this question. One is the coverage of Congress that is provided by broadcasting. The other is the specific question of the balance between the legislative and executive branches in communicating with the people through the mass media.
Let me first address myself to broadcasting's coverage of Congress. The age of broadcasting has opened major and diverse opportunities for the American citizen to see and hear our Government at work and to meet elected representatives close up on the home screen, despite the many restrictions that have been put on broadcast coverage of many governmental activities. I do not believe that the extent of this existing coverage generally is realized by many inside or outside Congress. It is only when we take stock of the capabilities and performance of our Nation's flexible and sophisticated system of broadcasting resources that we begin to discern the magnitude of that coverage.
CBS News, with 22 full-time Washington correspondents and reporters, supported by 8 fully equipped camera crews, is well prepared to cover the day-to-day activities of Congress, as well as its extraordinary sessions. Day-to-day activities are reported usually on television on regularly scheduled news broadcasts.
To give an example of the extent of this coverage, the CBS Evening News, broadcast 6 nights a week to 18 million people a night, included 222 interviews with or appearances by Members of Congress from June 1, 1973, to last week. These have covered a wide range of issues, from disarmament to health insurance to the 1974 elections. In addition, there were virtually hundreds of other reports of congressional activity on the CBS Evening News during that period.
Congress is also well covered on CBS Radio. Since last April, CBS News has offered the 246 CBS Radio Network affiliates hourly news broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with literally countless reports on Congress.
In addition to our regular news broadcasts, CBS presents coverage of issues in Congress not only in terms of replies to the President, which I will discuss in a moment, but also on such broadcasts as "60 Minutes” and “Face the Nation”, as well as documentary and special radio and television broadcasts. In 1973, for example, there were 31 appearances by Members of Congress on “Face the Nation" alone. The impact of this broadcast, and similar broadcasts on the other networks, reaches well beyond their immediate audiences, and often makes headlines in the following day's newspapers.
The coverage of Congress on CBS is both deep and, I believe, comprehensive. I believe a look at CBS News' network television coverage of just one issue—the energy crisis—will demonstrate my point. Since June 1, 1973, 45 Senators and 12 Representatives have appeared on regular and special CBS News broadcasts on the subject. The crisis has demonstrated the flexibility of the broadcast medium in adapting to various needs and situations. The recent hearings of Senator Jackson's subcommittee on the energy crisis were broadcast in both special reports and in 10 instances on regular news programs.
In such extraordinary circumstances as last summer's Senate Watergate hearings, congressional proceedings have received extensive live coverage, as well as reports on regular news broadcasts. In that case, CBS News provided the public with 121 hours and 15 minutes of live and recorded network television coverage and 137 hours and 36 minutes of live coverage and special reports on the CBS Radio Network.
Perhaps another measure of the dimensions of CBS' concern with onveying information about Congress to the people has been the fact hat, in the past 2 years, Members of Congress have been featured on 2 CBS Radio and Television Network broadcasts, entirely apart from lundreds of appearances on our regular news programs and in our overage of hearings. Seventeen of these 82 broadcasts have been re
lies to Presidential broadcasts or presentations of opposing viewToints. Many have been broadcast simultaneously over the CBS Radio nd Television Networks, which have a total of some 450 affiliated staions throughout the country.
In my opinion, the committee's second question—the balance beween the legislative and executive branches in communicating with he public through the mass media-must be weighed in light of the bove statistics.
Nevertheless, as a result of the President's increased use of direct broadcasts to the people, we at CBS have been working for over a decide on additional steps to provide even greater congressional exposure. In 1963, CBS adopted a policy to provide the party in opposition to he President with time to respond to certain Presidential speeches. [n 1970, we initiated what was planned as a series of periodic broadasts, called “Loyal Opposition," devoted to appearances by representatives of the party opposed to the President. This foundered after one broadcast because of 14 months of subsequent litigation. We won in that litigation, but it was a difficult period, and one in which the Pomplexities of the “Loyal Opposition” became apparent to us.
Chairman METCALF. Do you think the fact there was litigation and corporate action and decisions may help us in exploring where we are going in the future? Mr. TAYLOR. It may very well help, Senator.
It was certainly the consideration in the adoption of a policy in the very recent past, which I would like to discuss with you at this point.
Chairman METCALF. Perhaps there will be some legislation forthcoming as a result of that.
Mr. TAYLOR. That indeed would be helpful.
We believe that our continued efforts have borne fruit, however, culminating last year with the institution of the CBS Presidential reply policy. This policy was the product of years of searching and working toward the best possible way of serving the public through, as CBS Chairman William S. Paley put it, "expanding the public dialog on national issues.” The policy reflects the fact that, as Mr. Paley noted in announcing it
Recent Presidents have conceived as one of the main functions of the Executive the focusing of national attention on public issues. To accomplish this, they have turned more and more to broadcasting as a means of direct access to the people. This in turn has increased the need for broadcasting to develop new avenues to provide a broad spectrum of significant views and a multiplicity of representative voices on public issues.
Now, whenever the President speaks to the Nation on radio or television on matters of major policy about which there is significant national disagreement, CBS presents a broadcast of other viewpoints related to those matters. CBS News determines the length and format of such broadcasts, and persons appearing, in light of the relevant
facts of the Presidential appearance. Indeed, I think it is very important to emphasize that, thus far, most of the spokesmen for opposing viewpoints who have been seen or heard on CBS in response to Presidential addresses have been Members of Congress. In the normal course of events, I would expect that this pattern, the pattern of congressional reaction, will continue.
Since the adoption last June of this formal Presidential reply policy, the first I might add in broadcasting, CBS has broadcast six replies by Members of Congress, as well as by spokesmen outside Congress, to policy statements by the President. Senator Jackson appeared June 19 on the CBS Television and Radio Networks, replying to the President's economic message. On September 23, Speaker Albert appeared on radio to reply to the President's proposals for a new session of Congress. Senator Proxmire replied December 2 on television to Mr. Nixon's November 25 energy message. On January 26, Representative McFall replied on radio to Mr. Nixon's January 19 radio message on energy, and Mr. McFall was heard on CBS Radio again last Saturday responding to the President's transportation message. On February 1, Senator Mansfield spoke simultaneously on all three networks, in response to the state of the Union message. Four other Presidential messages did not, in our judgment, call for formal responses.
In addition, the President's October 12 announcement of his nomination of Gerald Ford as Vice President, which was accorded live coverage, was followed on CBS by radio and television broadcasts in which the nomination was discussed by Senators Scott, Dole, Baker, Jackson, and Gurney and Representatives Anderson, Hays, and Heckler.
All this, of course, is in addition to the extensive coverage of area Congressmen and Senators given by CBS affiliated stations on their own locally originated news programs.
We are continuing to experiment with and explore even better ways to serve the public in our coverage of Congress-insofar as we are permitted. For example, recognizing the limitations of national media in covering in depth the activities of individual Senators and Congressmen, the CBS-owned television stations Washington bureau recently increased the number of its correspondents. Now, each of our five stations has its own reporter here. And they have added vital corerage of Members of Congress for the important audiences back home.
This concern over congressional coverage is evidenced by the fact that, in January alone, the CBS-owned television station in Los Angeles, KNXT, broadcast 157 reports about the activities of Congress in local news of public affairs broadcasts. The vast majority, of course, concerned the activities of Members of Congress from the Los Angeles area. The corresponding number for KMOX-TV, our St. Louis station, was 105 reports on the Congress.
Now, I am, of course, speaking only for CBS. Other broadcasters, in their own way, are also providing extensive coverage of Congress.
What else can be done? What else should be done? There have been a number of suggestions, emanating from inside the Congress and out. There is Senator Pastore's commendable effort to free broadcasting