A House United: Legislators Agree C-SPAN Is Indispensable

Democrats and Republicans may be divided over the Mueller report and health care and immigration and climate change and campaign finance and, well, you get the idea. But one thing they can agree on is that C-SPAN is something of a national treasure.

That point was made clear in a bipartisan anniversary celebration on the House floor Tuesday (March 26) from both Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

C-SPAN, the public service suite of networks funded by cable companies, is celebrating its 40th anniversary—it launched with House coverage—of unfiltered coverage.

Speaker Pelosi, who noted it was also her birthday, celebrated C-SPAN's birthday with warm words of praise for what she said was its "enduring contributions to the public debate and to our American democracy."

Related: C-SPANNING the Years

She said the founders had envisioned a transparent and accountable People's House and that she "rose to honor an institution that powerfully honors that legacy." She said it ensured their sessions could be a national town hall.

Pelosi praised its unblinking eye trained on Congress and the campaign trail, "presidents and parliaments and so much more. She called it a pillar of public discourse and a beacon of unbiased reporting." Pointing out that the channel's founder had never mentioned his own name on air, she did not follow suit. "Thank you Brian Lamb for your service to our democracy," she said, to applause from the gallery. She even led a cheer for the C-SPAN bus, the mobile civics education effort.

McCarthy called the anniversary a "milestone in open and accessible government" and C-SPAN an irreplaceable tool in accomplishing James Madison's vision of representative government as refining and enlarging "the public view of the common good."

McCarthy said the rise of the internet and new media "has only reinforced the need for C-SPAN's unfiltered coverage and unbiased programming."

"Now, more than ever, people must be able to form their own opinions. They need objective coverage, access to balanced analysis and the opportunity to debate their views with others of good faith. C-SPAN does just that."

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.