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Tauzin’s stunt backfires

WASHINGTON — It looks like House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) outfoxed himself with his plan to hold a stunt hearing tonight on the TV program rating system in Peoria, Ill.

Tauzin, whose wiley political skills has earned the nickname “Swamp Fox,” had originally envisioned the hearing in Peoria as a big media event hosted by Oprah or Rosie O’Donnell. But tonight he will have to settle for former network newsman Sander Vanocur as moderator.

Vanocur may be the only out-of-state reporter at the event. The hearing is titled “The New TV Rating System: How is it Playing in Peoria?”

Reporters in Washington were counting on C-Span to air the event live, so they could cover it without leaving the office. But C-Span announced Friday that was going to tape the hearing and replay it Tuesday.

Tauzin’s staff dreamed up the idea of holding the event in Peoria earlier after the Senate Commerce Committee won the race to hold the first Congressional hearing on the new V-chip rating system. It is the first time the subcommittee has scheduled a hearing outside of Washington. Among the witnesses will be 300 local Illinois families who will be asked about their views of the TV content code.

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