C-SPAN Investigating Russian TV Feed Issue

C-SPAN confirms that its afternoon online feed (of House floor proceedings) was interrupted by a feed from Russian English-language news channel Russia Today.

"This afternoon the online feed for C-SPAN was briefly interrupted by RT programming, "C-SPAN said in a statement.

"We are currently investigating and troubleshooting the occurrence. As RT is one of the networks we regularly monitor, we are operating under the assumption that it was an internal routing issue. If that changes, we will certainly let you know."

Related: C-SPAN Blankets Hill Hearings

The glitch, if it was a glitch, comes as Russia's alleged and confirmed attempt to interfere with the political system have taken center stage in Washington and beyond.

In a recently released report on alleged Russian interference, RT was identified as an arm of Russia's state-run propaganda machine that favored President-elect Donald Trump and  provided negative coverage of Hillary Clinton.

"It is pretty clear to us it was an internal error as we were testing routing content through our internal system," said C-SPAN spokesman Peter Kiley. "We are going to take some time and do a full investigation into what happened, and take it beyond that if necessary."

The RT feed glitch lasted about 10 minutes, and interrupted Rep. Maxine Waters, who was not pleased.

UPDATE: C-SPAN issued a new statement on the status of its investigation late Thursday: "On Thursday afternoon one of our online feeds which was carrying C-SPAN's live House telecast was briefly interrupted by a signal carrying the RT network (which we regularly monitor, along with many other news feeds).  This did not affect C-SPAN's television broadcast of the House. We don't believe that we were hacked. Instead, our initial investigation suggests that this was caused by an internal routing error. We take our network security very seriously and will continue with a deeper investigation, which may take some time.  If we learn anything different as a result of this investigation, we will have a further public statement. "

Here's the moment Russia Today took over the C-SPAN1 feed. Unclear what happened. RT aired for about ten minutes before C-SPAN1 came back. pic.twitter.com/mhWVgCoFxF

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 12, 2017

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.