Current Mood: tired
Current Music: No music — C-SPAN!
I love C-SPAN. I’ve watched little else for months. I used to hate television, but C-SPAN is addictive. Now, I know what many of you may be thinking. (Okay, who am I kidding? To say that many of you are thinking something implies that many people are reading this, but let’s pretend I’m typing to an audience larger than 4 people. Okay? Okay.) So, as I was saying, I know what many of you may be thinking. Isn’t C-SPAN that channel that is always showing speeches or Senate votes or whatever. Yes. Yes it is. And on the face of that, I guess it doesn’t sound very interesting. Or maybe only interesting to watch when drunk, so you could heckle it.
Now, if you’re one of those TV watchers who loves to flip channels a lot, or enjoys the high-paced, very short sound- and video-bites that the media currently provides…well, I imagine you would find C-SPAN rather plodding. For one thing, it’s goal is to provide complete coverage of important events. Thus, it doesn’t just play you a five-second clip of the President’s speech. It gives you the entire speech. Some may find that boring. For me, it’s liberating. Previously I, like most, might see the nightly news coverage of the speech, which likely contains only 10 or 20 seconds of the actual speech, and contains the inherent bias of the newscasters, depending on how the story is presented. They pick out the parts of the speech that they choose to, and portray it in a certain light. I’m not a conspiracy theorist — I don’t think they’ve got some super secret hidden agenda or anything, but I have noticed a big difference between hearing an entire speech and just seeing the highlights.
Ok, so maybe I’ve sold a few of you on the speeches and press conferences on C-SPAN. You get to see them in their entirety, and judge for yourself. But maybe you’re still dubious about the Senate and House coverage. That, you insist, is boring. I concede that it can be, but only to an extent. One thing I enjoy is hearing all of the things a Senator or a Congressman/woman has to say, and then see how they behave in debate and voting. It’s one thing to hear them praise bipartisan politics, working together, etc, etc…but it’s quite revealing to see the speeches they give on the House and Senate floor.
I also like that at their web site you can watch (or just listen, for lower bandwidth) to any of the C-SPAN broadcasts, or listen to/view some of their archived broadcasts.
Maybe I’ve driven all of you away, but if anyone is left, I’ll give you an example of some of the amusing things you can hear. Earlier today I was watching the House discuss how to extend unemployment benefits this year. One particular individual didn’t like the proposal being considered. He gave a fairly length speech to this effect. His conclusion, however, was excellent. He pointed somewhere off-camera and said he was pointing out a bust of Hammurabi. He said that Hammurabi was a wise legislator in a good government in the area that is now Iraq, ruled by the evil despot Saddam Hussein. Similarly, this man said, if this unemployment package was passed as it stands, the United States would be going down a similar road. I don’t know about you, but I have to love a speech that parallels an unemployment package to Hammurabi, Iraq, and Saddam Hussein.
I am tired, I am going to bed. After I watch a little more C-SPAN. Right now they’re discussing education and education funding.