C-SPAN: Don't Kill the TV Messenger

A C-SPAN spokesperson said the Twittersphere lit up Wednesday — after House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the plug had been pulled on TV coverage Wednesday after the Republican acting speaker walked out. Some of that Twitter reaction was seeking answers from C-SPAN on why it pulled the plug. It didn’t.”It was not us,” said the spokesman. “We take a direct feed, with the floor cameras controlled by the speaker’s office.”

He said C-SPAN (#cspan) tweeted back with a link to a video showing the walk-out and explained that it does not control the cameras.

The stalemate over a payroll tax cut extension bill has become a battle of competing press conferences on C-SPAN, with each side saying the other is in a position to resolve the issue, the issue being keeping unemployment checks, Medicaid doctor payments, and payroll tax cuts in effect after the first of the year.

President Barack Obama joined the photo-op crowd Thursday by surrounding himself with just plain folks and providing examples of why the extra $40 in paychecks resulting from the payroll tax holiday would mean to a $50,000 annual income mattered, including covering three days of home heating oil and a pizza night out for a father and his daughters.

Also still on the table in the payroll tax bill debate, at least on the Republican side, are incentive auctions, which would be part of the conference conversation if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the Senate back and agreed to a conference on the Senate- and House-passed versions of the bill, which he has said he won’t do.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.