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SCOTUS TV Debate, Cont.

Last week veteran WaPo journalist Walter Pincus had this column making the case for keeping cameras out of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Yesterday the WaPo printed this letter from veteran Supreme Court reporter Tony Mauro in reply.

My suggested compromise is here.
From Pincus:

In 1985, based on my experience as a Senate committee staffer and journalist watching floor action, I wrote an article for The Washington Post supporting gavel-to-gavel TV coverage of the Senate floor activity.

What a mistake.

With cameras trained on them, senators and House members now almost never confront each other face to face, facts vs. facts anymore. Great debates these days are seriatim speeches, often giving not only contradictory points of view but contradictory facts.

Congressional hearings have also become TV events. Members and witnesses often play to the cameras. When a controversial subject is the focus, more and more often individuals or groups hold demonstrations to have their moment on television.

From Mauro:

Wistfully lamenting how cameras have changed Congress and how they might change the Supreme Court is beside the point. Government institutions should not be able to keep out the public just because they liked the good old days, when they could conduct business less visibly. The court's resistance to camera access disserves the public and the court itself.

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