Hill, Broadcasters Talk Homeland Defense

A House Select Committee on Homeland Security will hear from broadcasters Wednesday on how they can help the government to combat terrorism.

The hearing as billed will deal with "the role the broadcast media plays in the War on Terrorism, as well as its complicated and vitally important relationship with the government in times of crisis. For example: how much information should the media provide?"

Barbara Cochran, for one, is going to argue that one way to make sure critical information on homeland security can get out is by not keeping it bottled up. "Moves toward keeping a lot of this information secret are very disturbing," she plans to tell the committee, "and should be considered closely."

She will also make the points that 1) the media have been undergoing regular internal planning on how to respond if a crisis occurred in their community and 2) that the media and public official need to have a dialog so they can prepare in the event of another attack, which includes those officials establishing good lines of communication with the media.

In addition to Cochran, witnesses include Marvin Kalb, Harvard University’s School of Government and former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press ; Frank Sesno Former VP and Washington Bureau Chief, CNN; Gregory Caputo, news director at WGN-TV Chicago; and Robert Long, VP and news director at KNBC Los Angeles.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.