C-SPAN’s Steve Scully: ‘We Cover the Other Candidates And Give Them a Voice’

By Mark Joyella 

It’s not all about Donald Trump. At least, not on C-SPAN, where the Trump surge has not washed away coverage of candidates like Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, both of whom sat recently for in-depth interviews. “I think they appreciate that C-SPAN gives them a platform,” said C-SPAN host Steve Scully in an interview with TVNewser. “It’s indicative of who we are as a network–we give everybody a chance.”

So C-SPAN will be out in full force this weekend at the Iowa State Fair, with coverage Scully says remains “unique to C-SPAN,” giving viewers an unfiltered look at candidates on the ground, as they interact with voters. “It’s the authentic alternative to the spin that you get on other cable channels.”

“You’re going to see us cover all the candidates, everyone from Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley to Chris Christie. All of them.”


Scully, dubbed “the most patient man on television” by John Oliver, has been covering presidential politics since 1992, when Bill Clinton taught him a lesson: “anything can happen.”

Clinton was “left for dead so many times,” Scully recalls, that he resists buying any candidate as a sure thing–including Hillary Clinton, who Scully suspects may yet get more competition on the Democratic side. “I still think you could see one or two candidates enter the race,” he said.

For the candidates, C-SPAN can be both a blessing and a curse. The network gives access to all, but it also sees–and shares–everything, not just a sound bite or two. Scully says there are candidates in the race right now who struggle at retail politics–the handshaking and chit chat–and that becomes very clear watching C-SPAN. “The cameras don’t lie. Your authenticity is going to come through. You can’t fake it.” Especially when the cameras stay on for your entire event at the fire house, the coffee shop or the supporter’s living room.

“We have the luxury of all the time in the world,” Scully said.