Impeachment: Speaker Pelosi Rejects C-SPAN Request for Own Cameras

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected a request by C-SPAN to use some of its own cameras to cover the historic debate over articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, meaning that if there are any protests or disruptions they will not make it onto video screens across the nation and world.

Debate on the articles is scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 18), followed by a vote, though that could be pushed to Thursday depending on the length of debate and if there are any disruptions.

Washington Journal host Greta Brawner said on-air Tuesday (Dec. 17) that C-SPAN had asked to have its own cameras to supplement the video feed that is controlled by the House--which, in turn is currently controlled by Democrats--but that request had been denied.

"The cameras inside the chamber are controlled by the House of Representatives," she explained to viewers. "C-SPAN does not have our own cameras in there. So, what you see is being directed by the House of Representatives." She pointed out that was the commitment C-SPAN made when cable providers created the public affairs network. "We have asked for this important vote and debate that we have our cameras in there, but that was rejected by the Speaker's office and it is the Speaker who gets to decide if other cameras can come in."

David Hawkings, editor-in-chief of The Fulcrum, who was on the show to put the impeachment into historical perspective, pointed out that confining the coverage to the House-controlled cameras meant if there were any "shenanigans or disruptions" in the gallery, which would include protests of the impeachment--for or against--"we probably won't see it on C-SPAN because the cameras don't pan because they don't want to amplify those messages." 

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.