January 20, 2020

Journalists are angry about the new restrictions on their coverage, which they say will prevent them from interviewing lawmakers about the Trump impeachment trial. From the New York Times:

Even sedate C-SPAN is aggrieved, calling on the Senate to allow its television crews to document the trial, instead of the government-controlled cameras that — as was the case during Bill Clinton’s trial 21 years ago — will limit what viewers see and hear inside the Senate chamber.

[...] The effect, reporters say, is to make it harder to chronicle the you-are-there details expected of a historic political moment — including which senators are doodling or snoozing during testimony. In stark contrast with the coverage of State of the Union addresses, a few stationary cameras controlled by a Senate office, rather than an independent news organization, will provide the only viewpoint of the trial floor.

“Those cameras operate under very strict guidelines: They show the person who is speaking, and maybe some wide shots,” Terry Murphy, vice president for programming at C-SPAN, said in an interview. “They can’t show others reacting or listening. Having our own cameras in there would allow us to cover the trial with a much more full picture of what’s going on.”

C-SPAN wrote to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, in December, formally requesting access. As of Saturday, the network had heard nothing back.

This would be a good day to call your senators and demand access for C-SPAN. 202-224-3121.

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