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tv   Reel America Assignment Washington The Correspondent Marino de Medici -...  CSPAN  September 14, 2019 8:00am-8:31am EDT

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>> american history tv is only on c-span3. september, american history tv's reel america is winding back the clock to feature archival films about historic campaigns. next, "assignment washington, the correspondent, marino de medici," profiling an italian newspaper journalist as he goes about his day-to-day activities
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in washington and covers the 1976 presidential contest between president gerald ford and challenger jimmy carter. ♪ marino: washington is like a room with an enormous circular window. you are looking all over. anything and everything that happens is noticed. almost every single occurrence in the world has a repercussion in washington. ♪ marino: as a foreign correspondent, you are the eyes for your readers.
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if you can forewarn your readers to things that are important because they are going to experience a similar phenomenon in their respective countries, you are doing a good service. i have a priority express call to to rome, italy, 65041 connect to the switchboard for mr. de medici. ♪ marino: i don't think there is a country in the world where there is so much access to information as in the united states because it is a matter of conduct in the government to try to respond to legitimate press queries as much as possible. ♪ >> [speaking italian] ♪ marino: in washington, something is happening all the time. technology, art, individual achievement, politics. all of these things attract my attention because in one way or
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the other, they have a relationship with italy and with the italian readers. narrator: his name is marino de medici, and he is one of over 1100 foreign correspondents working in the united states. for 16 years, he has covered washington and the united states for "il tempo" of rome. he has interviewed and written about some of the most important people and events of our time. >> mr. 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. >> i've just completed a meeting with the president which lasted about an hour and a half in which i briefed him -- narrator: on this particular morning in february, marino de medici attends a news conference held by vice president mondale. v.p. mondale: i believe the trip is a success. we have set in motion
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a process of intensified consultations which will enable us to deal successfully with matters bearing on the security and wellbeing of each of our peoples, the health of our economies and our common goal to increase the prospects for a more stable international environment. reporter: mr. vice president, if both the germans and i believe the french -- narrator: in this room are correspondents from most of the world's leading newspapers, television and radio networks. >> we can prohibit the transfer of this technology which greatly complicates the issue of control. reporter: what impression did you bring back from italy not only on the economic situation but on the short range
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perspective of europe communism? narrator: they ask questions, record the answers as they seek to understand and record the impact of events on their readers. >> thought it important to continue -- narrator: 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 book on the life of a foreign journalist whose assignment is washington. ♪
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marino: 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 you did before? >> in the old days, the whistle stops were a novelty. you had people lined up, especially in 1948 when truman made appearances. even during the later years, lyndon johnson went south as the train, which was called the corn cob special.
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marino: i know many top-notch correspondents. we have worked on many 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. >> all presidential candidates seem to have to take one. marino: we exchange a lot of material and a lot of ideas with and judgments with other correspondents. it allows you to qualify your judgments by comparing information with someone else who knows a little bit more about a particular subject. >> that's the foreign policy. marino: the exchange of views is very useful. you are getting a feeling of the country and where it's going and this adds something to your insight, to your judgment, to the way you eventually will be reporting. the story.
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announcer: the next president of the united states, jimmy carter! [applause] [cheering] >> roosevelt, harry truman -- marino: when you go out to the president, even the challenger of the opposing party, are you are really trying to verify what impact the man has. not the way he looks on television -- 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
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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. ♪ ♪ [band music "happy days are here again"] ♪ marino: you're running for president, room 104. how many students in room 104? 32. are you a democrat or a republican? you have to make up your mind, don't you? 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 the risk of writing something which is not true, runs the risk of being out of touch. you have to be involved.
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♪ [applause] ♪ marino: i came to the united states at a time which was of historical 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 started as news agency men. it was very useful for us, because from news agency work, we learned discipline and speed, two very essential qualities in a foreign correspondent. you have to cover conferences, write and act very fast, under great pressure, against a deadline. so, you are under the gun most of the time. ♪
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marino: 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 on 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 a country, its relationship to the united states. i choose 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
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to get a sense of what their interests are. [speaking italian] by talking to my colleagues in rome, i get an idea of which stories are significant in italian terms. [speaking italian] i have to know what goes on in italy because i'm reporting for italians. so, i have to keep in mind their interests, their expectations, their feelings. [speaking italian]
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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 can be very good as a correspondent, but if you don't find a way to communicate in habits or mannerisms in terms that they understand, then you're wasting your time. if the president or secretary of state is holding a press conference in california or
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somewhere else and i cannot attend, then i go to the foreign press center and they broadcast the speech or the press conference so i don't have to be there when it happens and this is open for all of us. it's very useful. >> when the foreign policy will be made at the white house. the negotiation has been extremely complicated. it involves -- marino: in the foreign correspondent center, i find myself in the company, say, of journalists from the russian news agency or a french news agency, the major japanese press 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 in the midwest is determined to a large extent by sales of grains overseas. the job of a shoe factory employee may be determined by termination of foreign companies.
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that interests me, because a lot of the shoes imported to the u.s. are italian made. ♪ marino: the presidential marathonwas like a race. you had to keep up with the group and the group took you everywhere. by air, by 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. i've even been in the underground headquarters of the strategic air command in omaha, nebraska, with president johnson. ♪ marino: you get a strong feeling of the country by meeting people in different states. ♪
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[applause] marino: on this campaign trip, i saw posters protesting against a 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 a certain measure of private inspections and preserve the jobs at the shipping point in louisiana. [chanting] [applause] ♪
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>> how are you? nice to see you. nice to have you aboard. how are you? it's nice to see you. how are you? nice to see you. hi. >> what do you think of the reception of the american italian american community? a good reception yesterday? president ford: it was superb. thank you. we appreciate it very much. how are you? ♪ marino: 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
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happenings, exhibitions. you are absorbing information. you're getting vibrations on how people think. >> the museum opened two years ago in october 1974. [indiscernible] >> he was from latvia. >> how did he make his fortune? marino: once you get an idea to do a story about a certain facet of american life, you go out learning as much as you can about the subject and once you find the story, you still have to develop it. >> he dealt in stocks and bonds. he started collecting before the second world war, but in 1951 -- marino: if i enjoy doing something, if i enjoy writing something, i know that my reader will enjoy reading it. >> proved to be the richest
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uranium strike in the world. marino: not only uranium, which gave power to the atomic era. >> exactly. also power to the modern collector. marino: 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 that perhaps there will be tightening of credit to european countries -- you have to go out to get background assessments, to make personal judgments. government people in this town are not afraid of talking freely, as long as they trust the newspaperman. what's the feeling you get about that? >> i think that we will favor applications by those countries of europe, including italy -- marino: i think it is important to maintain regular contact with your sources. your source will be responsive even if you touch base only on those occasions when you need
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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 the best chances lie in reducing the chances of inflation, england or italy? >> the problems are different. marino: as a journalist, you have an obligation not to become stale. you cannot sit and relax even if your experience tells you a great deal about how a certain story is developing. 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.
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so, you try to keep in touch with developments, with the advance of technology. how many generations of technology are in this room? >> in effect, just one generation starting with the early 1940's. of course, we start with the german anti-aircraft missiles. marino: 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's happening, and what may happen to them because of that event. >> we use this minute man iii to show the technology that ballistic missiles gave us in propulsion and guidance. marino: i hope next time you take some representatives. >> are you volunteering? marino: i would love to go. all of us have covered the space
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launchings, the conquest of the moon. but, there are other stories about space. for instance, we have a story about italians who are very actively engaged in space exploration. at the space exploration center near washington, i like to talk to those working on the space program. this is an interesting story for our readers. it's more important to be in touch with people than to sit in an office. the only way to cover the 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 close, and i rejoined the carter campaign. >> it's a great pleasure to be back in newark, in new jersey. marino: the relationship between the good working relationship between the press and the government is fundamental. if you establish a good working relationship with a government
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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. >> during the primaries -- marino: the italian americans are an important group for the united states. i have a special attachment to the italian-american members of congress and i have an attachment with the congressman en from new jersey. i have an excellent
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excellent communication with the congress. working hard on the italian-american vote? >> of course. i enjoyed greatly the banquet the other night. marino: when you say strong ties, strong ties with the press? jimmy carter: i don't think it's wise to take anything for granted. i look forward to it. [sound of typewriter] marino: we file our stories from the campaign trail to the cities
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where our papers are published. rome, london, moscow -- hundreds of other cities which are closely watching the american election. we file our stories describing and interpreting events and we follow basically 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. [sound of typewriters] [overlapping speakers in foreign languages] ♪ [overlapping voices] marino: 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
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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 either at lunch or at dinner or even a cocktail parties. at cocktail parties. do you think the temptation of voting against the trend really counts at the last moment in an election, of really voting for the underdog, for the fellow who appears to lose? politics is part of everything that goes on in washington. the city talks, lives and breathes politics, from the moment it wakes up to the moment it goes to bed. then, sometimes, it goes to bed very late.
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the campaign and election are over, but in washington, in the united states, plenty of things are always happening. for us, it's ancient history but , but then, it is history. ♪ [sound of typewriter] ♪
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> today at 6:00 p.m. eastern, the 1863 campaign in tennessee. orders everyone to concentrate on tullahoma. they leave the highland rim at this point, it is somewhat and hecla mac take. -- somewhat anticlimactic. the 1996 lawsuit against a holocaust denier. no 6 million, no leadership from hitler's no
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chambers, and the last point -- this was all made up by jews. rockwell0, the norman traveling exhibit on fdr. passed onr nation's american history tv every weekend on c-span3 -- our on americant history tv every weekend on c-span3. org to see-spanstore. what's new for american history tv and explore all of the c-span products. >> next, a national history center briefing with a political scientist and a historian who have spent their careers studying american-iranian relations. in light of current tensions between the two nations, the
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scholars trace the history of u.s. policy towards iran and iran's nuclear program, which began in 1957 with the assistance of the eisenhower administration as part of an atoms for peace" initiative. mr. kennedy: good morning. this is an amazing crowd. we have already had to turn away a good 50 people or more. i am dane kennedy, director of the national history center. i want to welcome you to this briefing on the history of u.s.-iranian relations. this is part of an ongoing series that the national history center provides to bring historical perspectives to current issues that are confronting congress and the nation. the purpose of the program is not to provide or advocate for any particular political position. it is nonpartisan, it is intended to inform policymakers and the public about the issues
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they are dealingh.


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