ERIC Number: ED238059
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Television Cameras in Congress. Freedom of Information Center Report No. 483.
While the United States Senate debates the merits of televising its proceedings, it might consider as a model the House of Representatives, which has televised floor activities since 1979 with no dramatic changes in those activities or in members' behavior. The House system consists of inconspicuously placed cameras and microphones operated by remote control from outside the chamber. The cameras focus only on the speaker and do not pan unrelated activities or operate during roll call vote. A proposal for Senate coverage calls for similar discrete nonnetwork operation. Although many political scientists believe the Senate will adapt to being televised as easily as the House has, critics in the Senate contend that television will adversely affect both floor attendance and the length and quality of debate, and that news networks will use footage unfavorably. Even though the proceedings are not particularly entertaining, evidence suggests that many people watch the House debates on C Span, a cable network. Besides being a valuable educational tool for constituents and students, taped sessions would also prove useful to historians and political scientists, all reasons for the Senate to enact the resolution for television. (HTH)
Descriptors: Cable Television, Federal Government, Legislators, Mass Media Effects, News Media, News Reporting, Television
Freedom of Information Center, Box 858, Columbia, MO 65205 ($1.00 each, quantity discounts available).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.