Political Broadcasts - A
special meeting of the Eisenhower administration cabinet held October 25,
1954 was the first time a US cabinet session was televised. The event
featured then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conveying his summary
report on agreements signed in Paris, France. With the exclusion of
vice-president Richard M. Nixon, all members were present. The meeting was
carried over all ABC, NBC and CBS radio and television networks.
Television was first brought from Washington to the homes of the American
people on the opening of the joint session of the 80th Congress on Jan 3,
1947. In 1986, television cameras were placed in the Senate chambers on a
trial six month experiment, thus allowing the American public see their
politician's earn their paycheck. This service came to be known as CSPAN.
According to a survey conducted by the
University of Maryland, 28% of the delegates who watched the political
channel changed their opinion on either a candidate or an issue after
hearing/viewing information on CSPAN.
(Conventions) The Republican National
Convention held in Philadelphia on June 24-29, 1940, became the first
political convention to be televised. It broadcast the nomination of Wendell
Lewis Willkie (New York) and Charles Linza McNary (Oregon) as the Republican
Party's choice for president and vice-president. Broadcast was covered by
New York City station W2XBS.
(Debate) The first televised presidential
political debate was telecast September 26, 1960 at 9:30 P.M.. The
contestants included the Republican candidate, vice-president Richard M.
Nixon and Democratic candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy. This face-to-face
discussion originated live from Chicago and was telecast nationally into the
homes of all American citizens lucky enough to own a television. Howard K.
Smith of CBS Network was the moderator of these debates of which Kennedy
opened and Nixon closed.
(Inauguration) Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first
president sworn in on national television on January 20, 1953. (Interviews)
Edward R. Murrow the host of the popular 1950s televised interview program
PERSON TO PERSON conducted an interview with Cuban Leader, Fidel Castro who
appeared in his pajamas on February 6, 1959. On October 22, 1974 Castro gave
his first in-depth interview since 1968 when Dan Rather visited with him on
the CBS Network report "Castro, Cuba & the U.S.A."
President John F. Kennedy's first press conference (covered by all three
networks) was the first live telecast of a presidential news conference.
Broadcast on January 25, 1961, the conference was held in the auditorium of
the State Department building in Washington, D.C.. A total of 31 questions
were asked over a 38-minute period. Before this press conference, the
typical Presidential conferences had been filmed and scheduled for later
broadcast to the public. The first such filmed news conference for
television was held on January 19, 1955 in the treaty room of the State
Department building.. It featured President Dwight D. Eisenhower talking to
the press for the total of 33 minutes. The conference was edited to 28
minutes before the broadcast.
(Presidential Appearances) Franklin Delano
Roosevelt was the first President to appear on television. On April 30,
1939, Roosevelt spoke at the opening session of the New York World's Fair on
the exposition grounds in Flushing, Long Island. The event was
transmitted/received via two mobile vans owned by station WNBT of the
National Broadcasting Company.
President Harry S. Truman made his first
"live" television appearance at a Navy Day speech in New York's Central Park
on October 27, 1945.
The first regular coast-to-coast telecast on September
4, 1951 was President Harry S. Truman's address at the opening of the
Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. Broadcast by all four
networks (ABC, DuMont, CBS, NBC). President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the
first President to appear in "color" on television over the NBC network.
This historic event occurred during his June 7, 1955 commencement address to
the graduates of the Military Academy at West Point, New York.
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