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Perhaps New Zealand with its 142 million people does it cheaply and well. More power to it! We with our 189 million could not do it without far greater cost than it is worth.
Governor, Løramie, Wyoming Three of many reasons why I deem the proposal to broadcast Congress un: necessary and impractical are :
1. It overdoes democracy, in attempting to utilize it in the marginal area of diminishing returns, where its cost is greater than its benefits.
2. It encumbers the process of lawmaking, putting members of Congress in the position of having to take time to justify every minor contention, particularly among partially informed and overly argumentative listeners.
8. It is hardly practical for the average man, whose time for radio listening is limited. Press, Congressional Record, and radio reports supply all information more conveniently for the man who works for a living eight or more hours daily.
WELL WORTH 4 TRY
Paul Bugene Dhw, Olergyman, Pratt, Kansas It would pose mechanical problems; it would cost considerable money; it would be subject to abuse as all good things are but putting Congress on the air would be worth all this expense if it did just this one thing: If it instilled in the generation now in knee pânts and pigtails a new respect and a heightened interest in the processes of that body. The Congress of the United States is something more than mere raw material for cartoonists and smart satirists.
Listening in" from their schoolrooms, the children of the United States might begin to understand that it is the most important single assemblage of men in the nation. And, seeing where it falls short of its mark, they themselves may not many years hence do something to correct the aim.
I do not say that broadcasting Congress will succeed. I only say that we will not know until we have tried.
IT'S A QUESTION OF TRUST
Two Rivers, Wisconsin I do not favor broadcasting Congressional proceedings. Now, I am in favor of radio publicity for special events, such as an address to the Congress by the President of the United States or by some outstanding guest. As representatives of the people, Congressmen are expected to use their good judgment on matters that call for sound thinking and thorough consideration. The work of Congress is behind the scenes, and the stage is set before final action is ever taken.
The reasons for arriving at a certain decision cannot be explained in a single speech nor by a group of speeches. Much can be covered up, and even though the public might arrive at a decision on any one matter, it still remains for the member of Congress to make the decision that he thinks is right in the light of his own judgment and conscience, with regard to not only the present picture, but the future. I believe that publicity can only weaken his power and right to decide.
(From The Congressional Record)
BROADCAST OF CONGRESSIONAL PROCEEDINGS Mr. PEPPER. Mr. President, I think the whole country was very much influenced and delighted by being able to hear over the radio the proceedings of the two great national conventions. I have been immensely impressed by the number of people who after our convention was held have made reference in talking to me to some detail of the convention which they had heard over the radio. I think the millions of people of the country remained close to their radios to hear the proceedings of both conventions because they knew that there the policies of their Government were being determined. Because the people are interested in the democratic processes, and because the radio brought the conventions almost into the homes and the public places of the country the proceedings of the conventions had a profound influence upon the thinking of our people.
Mr. President, it has seemed to me for some time a project worthy of consideration as to whether the proceedings of the Congress might be broadcast to the people of the country. Surely the people of this country are sovereign. Surely all of us regard ourselves as their spokesmen. We are all trying to serve their objectives and their great purposes. If they could by the marvel of the radio be brought, as it were, as the visitors in the galleries are privileged to be, to be witnesses of the deliberations of their Representatives and Senators in Congress, I believe it would be in furtherance of the democratic process.
So, Mr. President, I introduce and ask to have appropriately referred a joint resolution authoriting the broadcasting of the proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives. I bespeak for the joint resolution the consideration of my colleagues in the Senate. It is not contended that the joint resolution is perfect in form. It does not contemplate the setting up of any Government-owned facilities. It does direct the Architect of the Capitol to aid the broadcasting companies in the broadcasting of the proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The joint resolution (S. J. Res. 145) authorizing the broadcasting of the proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives, introduced by Mr. Pepper, was read twice by its title and referred to the Committee on Rules.
Prepared for the Joint
Reaction and Evaluation of “Today in the Legislature"
by Legislators, Capital Press and the Public*
David J. LeRoy
c. Edward Wotring Associate Director
Communication Research Center
Tallahassee, FL 32306
*This study was designed and executed in corroboration with Dr. Jack Lyle, Communication Research Office, Corporation
possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The program series TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE, produced by two public television stations; WJCT-TV, Jacksonville, aná WFSU-TV, Tallahassee, was a unique experiment in both "government in the sunshine" and a modified television of record. The program was telecast on the state's eight public television stations: Public television video-taped the nine week proceedings of both the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate: Portable video-tape equipment was also utilized to f'ecord å variety of important committee meetings:
The format of the typical program generally included some introductory material by the hosts, and an up-date of the current status of bills both in committee and before the houses. Usually, the program concluded with an observation comment by the senior member of the anchor team, Dr. Ralph Chandler, who focused upon some aspect of either the day's legislative activity or issues of more globai interest in the democratic process. The majority of the program's ninety minutes consisted of unabridged sections of floor debate and committee hearings.
To ascertain viewer teaction to the program, the corporation for Public Broadcasting's Communication Research office contracted the Communication Research Center of Florida State University to perform a series of field studies. Using state-wide WATS lines, trained interviewers conducted a variety of opinion surveys. Reported first are the data of what is termed the
Approximately 224 of those interviewed knew about the
occurred when the public television stations began telecasting
that the sharpest rise in viewing of TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE Tracking the audience throughout the two month session shows program's existence, while 148 watched at least one program.
(May 17, 1973), the program was cut to sixty minutes and wookday evening. With the advent of the Watergate hearings