Television: Sounding Brass

Printed journalism discovered long ago that one of its chief functions was to present concise as well as comprehensive coverage of a story, to spare the reader the nonessentials. Electronic journalism, however, has had a hard time learning. Nothing beats the way TV can cover a presidential inauguration, for example, or the final minutes of a space-launch countdown. But what about continuous live coverage of less dramatic events?

Such is the touchiness of the Viet Nam debate that the question of live coverage, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings precipitated a crisis last week that can only be called a...

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