CBS Evening News for Wednesday, Oct 12, 1977
View other clips in this broadcast →
(Studio) television cameras have been barred from floors of House and Senator, with few exceptions, but this may soon end.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(DC) House has just completed 90-day test, allowing small, surveillance cameras to focus on debaters and picture beamed back to offices of Representatives Only rarely have television cameras been allowed into chambers. (Film of joint session of Congress in April, 1977, shown.) If adopted, camera coverage bill would provide for coverage of proceedings, which would be provided, live or on tape, to television news. Experimental system was kind of film version of "Congressional Record." Representative Jack Brooks is handling bill. [BROOKS - notes skeptics said Congmen. would go into routine before camera, thinking it for national or home consumption, but that this hasn't happened. Doesn't think making coverage of floor proceedings available for evening news would much alter congress performance. Doesn't think network coverage would be highly desirable; cites reasons.] Senate leaders had planned to televise floor debate on Canal treaty next year, but run into problems in Rules Committee [Senator Mark HATFIELD - notes there are constant pleas for orderliness from leadership to floor; doesn't think Senator wants this seen by public. Would rather be filtered through press than televised directly to people.] [Senator James B. ALLEN - doesn't think media should be able to select what's to be shown, not giving clear picture.] Brooks says House system could be ready by January, 1978. [BROOKS - says floor debates general as exciting as one being shown.]
REPORTER: Roger Mudd