House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who yesterday told the Radio-Television Correspondents Association he’s willing to increase media access in the House, has denied C-SPAN’s request to allow its cameras to cover House floor debates.
“I believe the American people — and the dignity and decorum of the United States House of Representatives — are best served by the current system of televised proceedings provided by the House Recording Studio,” Boehner wrote to C-SPAN Chairman Brian Lamb.
C-SPAN wrote Boehner back in November, urging he allow their cameras to televise House floor debates. Currently, the cameras used to cover House floor debates are owned and operated by Congress, and reactionary shots are prohibited.
While Boehner made no promises then, his spokesman said, “Rep. Boehner is committed to making the House more transparent and accountable.”
Interestingly, Boehner wrote C-SPAN a year ago, saying he and other House Republicans supported the network’s efforts to increase coverage. But at the time, he was referring specifically to the importance of transparency during the health care reform debate.
C-SPAN released a statement saying, the network is “disappointed” by the decision.
We continue to feel that the public is best served by seeing a more complete picture of the legislative process than what’s delivered by Congressionally-controlled cameras and will continue to work with Speaker Boehner and other leaders in the House in hope of one day gaining access on behalf of the media.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com