Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cameras in the Supreme Court?

Should our top court become a reality show?

That’s the way I see the issue raised most recently by Kenneth Starr (ex-independent counsel, now president of Baylor University) in a New York Times op ed yesterday. The court itself seems to believe that televising hearings would fundamentally change the nature of their proceedings. Justice Kennedy, for example, has testified that the justices themselves would inevitably start playing to the cameras, putting more emphasis on lively “sound bites” for the evening news, promoting their positions, than on serious questioning and consideration. Starr dismisses these concerns: “The idea that cameras would transform the court into “Judge Judy” is ludicrous.”

It may be a hard call, but to me it’s not just a difference of opinion. We have facts – a very relevant case study – to guide us. TV cameras began broadcasting the House of Representatives in 1979 and the Senate in 1986. Has anyone noticed any change of tone or style in our Congressional discourse since then?

Case closed.

- Potomac Communications Group

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