C-SPAN and Congress

I remember a discussion about this many years ago. I think it’s time to renew the question.

Basically the rules have been that C-SPAN cannot show wide shots of the Congress and must remain focused either on the presiding chair (Acting Speaker or Acting President Pro Tempore) or the current speaker (as verbal person not Speaker of the House). C-SPAN (IIRC) runs the cameras and the feed and then makes it available to news organizations. With the exception of wide shots of the chair during votes.

Should C-SPAN be locked into only showing the current speaker as we’ve seen for years?

My opinion is no. Let the people see how the sausage is made, I would like to see the feed divided into 3 or 4 frames. The bottom left frame would always be on the chair, the bottom right frame always on the current speaker. The top 50% could be either 1 or 2 frames can can show wide shots of the House/Senate or focus in on members of Congress that are in the the Chamber.

I think it was very interesting to view what was happening in the background during this period of no House rules which allows the feed to include other aspects of the proceedings.




I agree. Don’t understand this rule. Is it because someone is self-conscious they’ll be caught picking their nose or something ?

Yes. And the point you may be trying to make is?

That the Congressmen should not have been on camera or that showing it was okay?


The ________ (insert LIBs or CONs here) might make mean memes?


I think it’s more that they don’t want to show how few members of Congress are generally present, at any given time.

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Which is still publicly accessible information, right ?

Ya during 1-Minute Speeches the House is usually empty.


Sure. But people would have to go looking.

C-Span cameras are only in the Chamber on opening day (longer this year because of the Speaker battle). C-Span cameras will be gone Monday.

The House cameras are run by House employees under House rules.

Interestingly, back in the 1990’s under Tom Foley, the House cameras would pan the empty chamber during special order speeches. That practice was banned in 1994 when Republicans took the House and cameras now must be tightly focused on the person speaking or on the chair.

Thank you for the correction.


It should all be streamed live and previous streams retained for public access. In addition there should be no restrictions on where the camera can go.

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I believe previous streams are available.

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wouldn’t out of control cameras show a lot of blurry images?

Who said anything about out of control cameras?

We’re talking about camera operators being allowed to show the chamber and member interaction without being required to show just the chair or the lectern speaker.


I agree.

How come the transparency people turned off CSPAN for the vote on the rules tonight?