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Open Court

I noticed. OK, it was pointed out to me by someone who watched on C-SPAN, that Fox's attorney was not shy about using the language the FCC is so troubled by, and doing so almost from the opening gun in his oral arguments before the Second Circuit appeals court.

It couldn't have been 30 seconds into the proceedings. By contrast, the FCC attorney, who actually acquitted himself well in a tough court, was not so free with the sailor talk. OK, not free at all.

I think that was a good strategy on broadcasters part, even if some of the judges did seem reluctant to join in.

But what I liked even more was that someone called to make that observation to me, someone who wouldn't have done so if C-SPAN hadn't asked for and aired the arguments.

It was fascinating TV, with the judges pokling and prodding each argument skillfully and even humorously. It makes you appreciate judges a bit more to see them in action, I think, which is why the federal judiciary should allow more cameras in, particularly in appeals of key cases.

I'm still hoping the Supreme Court will follow suit and allow cameras there. After-the-fact audio transcripts were a start, but live video will close the deal.

While I'm at it, the House and Senate should let C-SPAN control their own cameras and let the chips fall where they may. I know, they don't want cameras panning empty chambers and catching legislators cat-napping after a tough night of doing whatever Congressfolk do. But if that is what is happening, why should we be led to think anything different.

There will be enough digital camers on the campaign trail catching them insulting cab drivers and people from other countries at fund-raising barbecues, why not let cameras run by responsible journalists, which C-SPAN's folk have clearly demonstrated they are, catching them doing the people's business.

You can put a crawl across the bottom of those empty House and Senate chamber pictures pointing out that everybody else is back in their offices drafting legislation and practicing stem-winding speeches to turn the tide of some misguided bill that could strip their town of its planned Corn Museum or Cow Flatulence Research Center (just joking).

Thanks again to C-SPAN for doing the heavy logistical lifting to get that live feed out. I just wish more outlets had aired it. I wonder if the President secheduled that end of the year press conference at the same time to insure a smaller audience? And didn't the FCC itself schedule a monthly meeting for that time, actually reschedule it from earlier in the month. Hmmmmm, do I smell a government conspiracy to divert us? Actually not, it's just that holiday cheese I left out overnight.

By John Eggerton