C-SPAN was granted access to independently operate its cameras on the House floor last week for what ended up being a historically long and dramatic vote for speaker of the House.
However, now that the election is over, C-SPAN cameras are no longer permitted in the House chamber, and the channel has resumed using the feed from House/government-operated cameras that are typically fixed on the chamber’s dais (boring!).
Americans seemed to enjoy watching the five-day-long drama from C-SPAN’s point of view. For instance, CNN had its most-watched week in nearly a year, excluding the midterms. C-SPAN’s cameras, which were allowed to roam freely across the chamber, captured unique moments that Americans rarely get to witness — Members brokering deals, interacting with Members from opposite sides of the aisle. Viewers even saw a fight almost break out.
C-SPAN wants to capitalize on mounting support for non-government-controlled coverage of regular House proceedings, and co-CEO Susan Swain sent a letter to new speaker Kevin McCarthy requesting the cable news channel’s cameras be allowed back into the House Chamber.
“During last weeks Speaker election, C-SPAN was permitted to bring its own cameras into the chamber,” Swain writes. “The public, press and Member reaction to C-SPAN’s coverage—along with the ‘transparency’ themes in your new rules package—have encouraged us to resubmit a request we have made to your predecessors without success.”
Swain adds that she is not asking to replace the House recording camera, but instead “we request to install a few additional cameras in the House chamber. When mixed with the existing House production, shots from our camera would allow us to create a second, journalistic product, just as we did last week … if ongoing daily coverage of sessions by C-SPAN is not acceptable to the Congress, we request that you at least revisit the rules and permit C-SPAN and other independent journalists to cover key legislative sessions,” Swain writes.
C-SPAN’s cause has at least one ally in Congress. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Fox News that he introduced an amendment to the House rules on Tuesday that would allow C-SPAN cameras on the House floor during normal proceedings.
The amendment would require the speaker to allow C-SPAN to broadcast the floor proceedings of the House.
“I’ve received a lot of feedback from constituents about how interesting it was, and that you were able to see in real time how our government is functioning, what alliances are being created, what discussions are being had, what animated moments drive the action,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital. “And the pool view of the Congress is antiquated and a little boomer-fied.”
According to Fox News, Gaetz’s amendment requires the speaker of the House to allow a minimum of four cameras owned and operated by C-SPAN to broadcast and record the floor proceedings of the House.