South Carolina Democratic Party Has Barred C-SPAN, Other Outlets From Providing Live Coverage of Their State Convention

By A.J. Katz 

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In what seems like sort of an odd move, the South Carolina Democratic Party has apparently granted MSNBC exclusive live broadcast rights to their state party convention, set to take place Saturday.

C-SPAN confirmed that it has been barred from broadcasting the nine-hour event –where 21 Democratic candidates for president are scheduled to speak– and according to the Washington Examiner, Fox News has been barred from covering it live as well. CNN even filed a complaint over the denial.

TVNewser has yet to confirm the latter.

The decision was reportedly handed down on Monday, after the networks had begun prepping to cover the nine-hour event live. The SCDP press office notified the media of their decision in an email obtained by the right-leaning Examiner.

“IMPORTANT: MSNBC has exclusive rights to broadcast the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Convention. Any footage of the convention taken by other outlets may not be aired live, and is EMBARGOED FOR THREE HOURS after the close of the convention. This embargo includes any live-streaming from social media platforms,” said the note from the party press office.”

According to C-SPAN political director Steve Scully, the network had never been barred from providing live coverage of a public event in its 40-year history. Furthermore, C-SPAN covered the Iowa Democratic Party convention live on June 9, and will be covering (as of now) the upcoming New Hampshire Democratic Party convention with no similar restrictions.

The party is missing out on a notable opportunity, says Scully, as C-SPAN viewers would have received gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event on linear and digital platforms. No commercial breaks.  Plus, at the end of the day, C-SPAN reaches just as many Americans as MSNBC does.

Scully told TVNewser that C-SPAN now plans on covering the Planned Parenthood Action Fund candidate forum, which will start Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on the University of South Carolina campus.

TVNewser reached out to the state party communications office for comment and additional context, and we’ll update this post once we hear back.