Although televising congressional hearings could look like a rather modern day custom, the media has been bringing cameras to Capitol Hill (and into courtrooms) for a long time. The very first dwell Television broadcast of a congressional conference was the opening session of the 80th Congress again in January 1947. But it did not turn into a popular observe until finally a couple decades later on, when the Watergate scandal bolstered general public desire for increased authorities transparency.
On Might 17, 1973—11 months to the day just after the Watergate split-in—Sam Ervin, North Carolina senator and head of the committee tasked with investigating the scandal, kicked off the first of 51 days of general public, televised hearings. While the coverage took put in the course of the working day, the National General public Affairs Middle for Tv aired it every night time in full on PBS stations, anchored by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer.
These “gavel to gavel” broadcasts continued right up until November 15 and highlighted testimony direct from all the president’s men—names infamous to any one familiar with the Nixon administration’s abuses of electric power (or just any person who’s viewed All the President’s Gentlemen). The committee started with Nixon’s outer circle—people like Hugh Sloan Jr. and John Dean—and moved inward, hitting witnesses like John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman by July.
Needless to say, dealing with the revelatory hearings as they unfolded would need a time device. To revisit them today, nonetheless, all you have to have is world-wide-web access. The American Archive of General public Broadcasting (AAPB), an group run by the Library of Congress and Boston radio station WGBH, has created all the footage available to stream for free on the web. The electronic exhibit also consists of a in depth episode guide, transcripts, a solid of characters breakdown, and the video clips from the Household Judiciary Committee’s impeachment debates the subsequent yr. What you won’t see is any defense from Richard Nixon himself: He resigned on August 8, 1974, just before the Residence could vote to impeach him.
You can investigate the AAPB’s archive right here.