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tv   Reel America Assignment Washington The Correspondent Marino de Medici -...  CSPAN  August 27, 2021 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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medici, this 1977 u.s. information agency film profiles an italian newspaper journalist as he goes about his day to day duties in washington and covers the 1976 presidential contest between president gerald ford and challenger jimmy carter. ♪♪ ♪♪ washington is like a room with an enormous circle of windows. you are looking all over. anything and everything that happens is noticed. almost every single occurrence in the world has a repercussion in washington.
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>> as a foreign correspondent you are really the eyes on the foreign leaders, you can fore warn your readers to things that are important because they are the prelude of a similar phenomenon in their respective countries, then you're doing a good service. >> good morning, operator, i have a collect call to rome italy, 65041, direct to the switchboard from mr. dee see. >> reporter: i don't think there's a country in the world with so much obsessed information than the united states because it is a matter in the government to try and respond to legitimate press queries as much as possible. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> reporter: in washington, something is happening all the time. technology, art. individual achievement, politics. all of these things attract my attention because it's one way or the other they have a relationship with italy and with the italian leaders. >> his name is marino de medici. he is one of over 1,100 foreign correspondents working in the united states. for 16 years he has covered washington and the united states for rome. he has interviewed and written about some of the most important people and events of our time. >> vice president will have a brief opening statement. i would ask the subject matter of this press conference be limited to the trip and it will run approximately half an hour.
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>> i've just completed a meeting with the president which lasted about an hour and a half, in which i briefed him. >> on this particular morning in february marino de medici attends a news conference held by vice president mondale. >> i believe the trip is a success. we've set in motion a process of intensified consultations which will label our nations to deal with greater effectiveness and to deal successfully with matters bearing on the security and well-being of each of our people's, the health of our economies and common goal to increase the prospects for a more stable international environment. >> mr. vice president. >> mr. vice president. >> mr. vice president, both the germans and i believe the french -- >> in this room are correspondents from most of the world's leading tv and radio networks.
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>> we can prohibit the transfer of technology which greatly complicates the problem of control. >> mr. vice president, what impression did you bring back from italy? not only on the economic situation there but on the short-range perspective of european communists? >> they ask questions, record the answers as they seek to understand and import the impact of words on their readers. >> we didn't talk about that. >> did you find much resistance today in the summit in the united states? >> that was one of the suggestions. >> for this single foreign correspondent, as for many others in his profession, the american presidential election posed a journalistic challenge to cover the diverse events of american life and government as well as the national election campaign. such a period provides the best look at the life of a foreign journalist whose assignment is
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washington. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> many people tend to think of us as washington correspondents. but in reality, we are u.s. correspondents, during the campaign i traveled a great deal between washington and various parts of the country, following the political candidates. because you must be out there if anything happens. >> how does this compare to the whistle stops before? >> you know, in the old day, the whistle stops were a novelty.
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you had people lined up, especially in '48 when truman made his stops. >> there was no television. >> even during the later years. lyndon johnson went south as the train was called the corn special. >> i know many high-notch correspondents, we have worked on stories together so we know each other very well. some of us are conservatives, some are liberal, some are in the middle, but we have deep respect for each other and each other's ideas. >> i don't know, all presidential candidates seem to have to take one. >> you exchange a lot of material and a lot of ideas and judgments with other correspondents. it allows you to qualify your judgment by comparing information with someone else who knows a little bit more about a particular subject.
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>> the exchange of views is very useful. you're getting a feel of the country and where it's going. and this adds something to your insight. to your judgment. to the way that eventually you will be reporting the story. >> the president of the united states jimmy carter! [ applause ] >> harry truman, john kennedy and lyndon johnson. >> when you go out to the president or even challenger of opposing party, you are trying to verify what impact the man has upon real people, not on the press, not the way he looks on television.
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his attitude, his face is quite different from the behavior that you're used to when you're questioning in a press conference. something else is visible that is not ordinarily associated with the man. because you see what the man is like in different circumstances. perhaps under stress. and then you see what the reaction of real people is to the leaders. and to the possible leaders of the country. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> are you leslie? you're running for president of room 104. how many students in room 104 >> 32. >> 32, are you democrat or
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republican? you have to make up your mind. >> anybody who can write a story about american society without touching reality, without talking to people, without getting a personal feel for it, i think runs risk of writing something which is not true. runs a risk of being out of touch. you have to be involved. i came to the united states at a time which was of historic significance, that is the kennedy administration. i was sent to washington, originally, as a correspondent of a news agency, the italian press association. many foreign correspondents actually start the adds news agency men. it goes very useful for us, because from news agency work we learned discipline and speed. two very essential qualities in
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a foreign correspondent. you have to cover conference, write and act very fast, under great pressure, against a deadline. so, you're under the gun, most of the time. when i go to the office, i may want to write an article about the catholics in america. or even i may want to do a controversial piece over the problem of abortion. now, these are think pieces which require research and they take a great deal of time. they are difficult subjects that you have to investigate with a great deal of deliberation. but then something, somewhere happens. whether an economic development or a sudden crisis concerning the country, its relationship to the united states.
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i chose the ones which are important in terms of my country. it's the unexpected that breaks all the time that keeps us working. i talk to rome every day to find out how much space they can devote to american news. and also to get a sense of what their interests are. [ speaking foreign language ] by talking to my colleagues in rome, i get an idea of which stories attract significance in italian terms. [ speaking foreign language ] i have to go what goes on in italy because i am reporting for italians. so, i have to keep in mind their interests, their expectations, their feelings. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> you're important to many people that you don't know personally. you're in between a world of happenings and a world of listeners. you are a filter for these people. you are like a prism. you rotate and the light is refracted. and these people get an image of it and they rely on you. you could be very good as a correspond, but if you don't find a way to communicate trends and habits to your people in terms that they'll understand, then you'll wasting your time. >> antonio, how are you? >> if the president or the secretary of state is holding a
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press conference in california or somewhere else and i cannot attend, then i go to the foreign press center and they broadcast the speech or press conference so i don't have to be there when it happens. this is helpful for all of us. it's very useful. >> i have pointed out before that the negotiation has been extremely complicated one. it involves four nationalists -- >> in the foreign correspondents center i find myself in the company, say, of journalists from a french news agency, the major japanese service, or a japanese tv network or a major israeli newspaper. foreign policy today goes straight into the homes of people. they are affected by foreign policy. inflation can be due to foreign developments. the lot of a farmer back in the
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middle west is determined to a large extent by sales of american grains overseas. the job of a shoe factory employee may be terminated by competition from foreign countries. now, that's a story which touches me because a lot of the hues imported in the u.s. are italian-made. ♪♪ >> the presidential campaign was like a marathon race. you had to keep up with the group and the group took you everywhere, by air, train, even by boat. when i was covering the election story, i went down the mississippi in a riverboat with president ford. perhaps the biggest freedom we have as foreign correspondents is freedom of movement. we can go anywhere we want. o i've been in the underground headquarters of the strategic air command in omaha, nebraska, with president johnson.
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you get a strong feeling of the country by meeting people in different states. ♪♪ >> on the campaign trip, i saw posters protesting against the bill in congress which would have eliminated private inspections of grains from the u.s. to foreign countries. had the bill passed, these people would have lost their jobs. so they had an interest in getting a compromise on a bill which would have maintained the certain measure of private inspections and preserved the jobs at a shipment point in louisiana.
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♪♪ >> how are you? so good to see you. nice to have you on board. how are you? it's nice to see you. how are you? nice to see you. >> mr. president, what do you think of the italian-american community? a good reception yesterday? >> and the market, it was superb. thank you. we appreciate it very much. how are you? ♪♪
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>> the life of a foreign correspondent is almost a 24-hour job. every day you have a lot of things happening that are worthwhile. a political story, an economic story, even a serious story with a funny side to it. there are state visits, cultural happenings, exhibitions, you are absorbing information. you're getting vibrations on how people think. >> it opened two years ago in october of '74. was he from eastern europe? >> yes, he was from latvia. >> how did he make his fortune? >> well, he came over -- >> once you get the idea to do a story about a certain facet of american life, you go out learning as much as you can about the subject. once you find the story, you still have to develop it.
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>> if i enjoy doing something, if i enjoy writing something, i know that my reader will enjoy reading it. >> uranium, what about that? the uranium which gave power to the atomic era -- >> exactly. it gives also power to the modern electric. >> the u.s. state department is a very important source for any foreign correspondent. >> i had a couple of questions in my mind on the international economy and i wanted to get your feeling on them. first of all, do you see perhaps there will be some tightening of credits to european countries sort of -- >> you have to go out to get the ground assessments, to make personal judgments. government people are not afraid of talking freely, as long as they trust the newspaperman. >> what feeling do you get about it? >> i think that we will favor
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applications by those countries of europe, including italy -- >> i think it is important to maintain regular contacts with your sources. your source will be responsive even if you touch base only on the occasions that you need the source. but if you develop a personal relationship by which you keep in touch from time to time, when the time comes that you need a quick response, you will be better off. >> in terms of inflation, where would you say the best chances lie for reducing the rate of inflation in england or italy? >> well, structural problems in both countries are different. ♪♪ >> as a journalist, you have an obligation not to become stale. you can't sit and relax even if your experience tells you a great deal about how a certain story is developing.
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you have to try to cover stories which are breaking out there and there are plenty of interesting stories to cover. for instance, take the space program. something new is always happening. so you try to keep in touch with developments with the advance of technology. >> how many generations of of . >> how many generations of technology are in this room? >> if effect, just one generation, starting with the early 1940s. of course, we start with the german anti-aircraft missiles and the rockets. >> you have to relate to your readers on the basis of things they can understand. you have to tell them what's happening. why it is happening. and what may happen to them because of that event. >> we use this minute man 3 to show what they gave us in proportion and guidance to put these other satellites and space vehicles into space. >> i hope the next time -- >> are you volunteering?
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>> i would love to go. >> all of us have covered the space launchings. the conquest of the moon. but there are other stories about space. for instance we have a story about italians who are actively engaged in space exploration. at the goddard space flight center near washington, i like to talk on italian space experts who are working a joint satellite program. this is an interesting story for italy and my readers. it is much more important to be in touch with people than to sit in the office. the only way to cover a story is to go out there where the story is happening and cover the people who are involved. the campaign was gathering momentum. the candidates were very, very
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close and i joined the campaign. >> it is a great pleasure to be back in newark. >> trust the good working relationship between the press and the government is fundamental. if you establish a good working relationship with a government leader, say, or a congressional leader, or a congressional staff member, if you get to know them well and they get to know you well, you can talk about almost anything. the italian americans a very important group of the united states. nationally i have a special attachment to the italian american members of congress and i have a very keen friendship with the congressman from new jersey. on the strength of similar relationships, i have an excellent line of communication to the congress. >> we'll get our country moving
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once again. >> i see you've been working hard on the italian american vote. just fine. i enjoyed greatly the banquet the other night. >> you said it will be a strong fight with the president. is it going to be close? >> oh, yeah. i don't think it would be wise to take anything for granted. it will be a hard one. i look forward to it. >> it is as important on this trip. >> we file our stories from the campaign trail to the cities
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where our papers are published. rome, tokyo, moscow, and hundreds of other cities which are closely watching american elections. we find our stories describing and interpreting events and we follow two rules. the first is be sure to get a story to your paper on time. and the second one is, get a good story to your paper.
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social life in washington is very important because it allows you to develop friendships with people with whom you have a professional relationship. acquaintances become friendships and contacts become good contacts. you have to expose yourself to several layers of opinion. specialized opinion. and the best way to do it is at lunch or dinner or even at cocktail parties. >> the temptational voting becomes at the last moment in an election. voting for the underdog, for the fellow who appears to lose. politics is part of everything that goes on in washington.
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the city talks, lives and breathes politics. from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed. then sometimes he goes to bed very late. the campaign and election are over. but in washington, in the united states, plenty of things are always happening. for us, it is instant history. but then it is history.
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weekends on c-span2 bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books. saturday on american history tv at 9:00 a.m. eastern, james baker reflects on leadership serving as secretary of state for president george h.w. bush and as the chief and treasury secretary. and historian and best selling author looks at how society can learn from the wisdom of the founding fathers in today's world. book tv features leading authors discussing their latest books. we'll feature author discussions from freedom fest. an annual libertarian gathering including gary cooper, duquesne, education writer kerry mcdonald and phillip magness and benjamin
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powell. and then robin de'angelo. she is interviewed by the author and professor of african-american studies at princeton university. watch american history and book tv every weekend on c-span2. and find a full schedule on your program guide or visit c-span.org. the journalist drew pearson was best known for his daily column washington merry go round. published from 1932 to 1969 in more than 600 newspapers, the column's mission was to reveal government secrets in the name of transparency. called a liar by presidents and politicians, pearson was the subject of numerous investigations and libel lawsuits. all but one unsuccessful. up next, the senate historian emeritous, author of the

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