12.18.2006 08:00 AM
C-SPAN wants freedom to cover Congress

C-SPAN has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to allow its cameras to see the House floor just as any other visitor does.

C-SPAN CEO and chairman Brian Lamb asked Pelosi in a Dec. 14 letter to give up control of the TV cameras, eliminating a three-decade-old practice that has ensured that there were no shots of members yawning, sleeping at their desks or completely missing in action during important debates.

Lamb told the incoming speaker that the current 28-year-old arrangement is “an anachronism that does a disservice to the institution and to the public…Congressional technicians are limited to taking static, head-on shots of the representative who’s speaking at the podium.”

Rules and established practices prevent cameras from taking individual reaction shots or from panning the chamber, leaving viewers with an incomplete picture of what’s happening in the House, Lamb added.

The C-SPAN chief also asked Pelosi to immediately post how individual lawmakers voted on a piece of legislation. Currently, the parties’ totals appear on screen, but the individual tallies are not posted until hours later.

Pelosi’s office said she was considering Lamb’s requests.

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