Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hearings Sought on TV News

Solon calls for hearing on TV news
Tue Sep 28, 6:23 PM ET
Susan Crabtree, Pamela McClintock, STAFF

In the wake of CBS News' "60 Minutes" controversy, an influential Republican on Tuesday said he wants to convene a Capitol Hill hearing on TV news operations after the Nov. 2 election.
Rep. Joe Barton (news, bio, voting record) (R-Texas), chair of the House Commerce Committee, told a meeting of the TV engineering trade group MSTV in Washington that broadcast network news divisions "need to have safeguards to prevent reporters from infusing their opinions into news reports."
The lawmaker said he wanted to hear from execs of all the nets -- not just CBS -- and threatened to introduce legislation requiring TV news operations to impose safeguards against partisan bias seeping into reports. He backed off the threat of legislation when pressed for specifics.
Barton also implied that TV news is less reliable then the print media, adding that with reality TV such a force in the entertainment world in recent years, many TV news personalities did not begin their careers as "real journalists" working for newspapers and other print media.
CBS declined comment on Barton's remarks.
News execs emphasized that the First Amendment protects the media from government censorship.
Within CBS News, top Republican Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press prexy-CEO Louis D. Boccardi continued their investigation of the botched "60 Minutes" story. Pair were appointed by CBS News prexy Andrew Heyward and Viacom co-prexy/CBS prexy-CEO Leslie Moonves.