I know because I’m watching it on C-SPAN, though technically I’m watching Facebook Live, courtesy Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke.
I’m watching O’Rourke’s live feed on C-SPAN because House Speaker Paul Ryan cut the feed from the cameras on the floor of the House to the network.
Nice power move by the Speaker, except that we live in a different media age than even a few months ago, and as it turns out, Ryan doesn’t have control of all the cameras in the House.
The power play from Ryan is only serving to undermine his aims, which would be to try to deflect attention from House Democrats.
The three cable news networks seem to be playing along, cutting in and out of coverage of the sit-in to let their various paid shills for the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns do what they’re paid to do.
But social media is all over this unique effort by Democrats to wrangle attention for their cause.
It had been so long since I watched C-SPAN that I didn’t even know the channel number, or if there was an HD version (there is).
So I’m watching, and smirking as I see explanations from senior House Republicans trying to weasel around why the taxpayer-funded cameras have been cut, something about House rules that all members voted on at the start of the session, blather, blather, blather.
The House is not in session, is the excuse we’re being given, though it’s a long-standing tradition of the House (and the Senate) to keep the cameras rolling for members on both sides to give fiery speeches to an empty chamber, mainly so they can pretend to the folks back home that they’re getting something done up there in D.C., when we all know that they’re not.
Anyway, I doubt with certainty that this sit-in is going to produce anything but style points for Democrats, but I applaud the effort, and would advise Mr. Ryan and his cohorts that if they want to defuse the situation, maybe just play along.
Column by Chris Graham