Sunday, February 6, 2011

The transparency of the rhetoric of political transparency

During the campaign of President Obama, he succinct promises to make the workings of legislation and policy transparent for Americans to see and understand what was being conducted in our names.

He lied. And the GOP rightly called him on that lie.

But now, with an offer to reverse that opaqueness, hypocrisy rears it's ugly head yet again.
[From C-SPAN to Speaker Boehner] In January, you sent C-SPAN a letter supporting our request for televised access to the health care negotiations, in which you wrote, "Every issue of national import should be debated by the people's elected representatives in full public view." You further wrote, "Republicans have listened to the American people and are committed to making Congress more accountable to the people it serves." 

Currently, House floor debates are not in full public view because private news media cameras are still not permitted in the House chamber. Rules established when the House installed its TV cameras in 1979 restrict congressional camera operators to head-on shots or shots of the chamber, leaving viewers with a less-than-complete view of your debates.

In this spirit we are writing to renew a request we made to Speakers Gingrich and Pelosi as they assumed office -- to allow House floor proceedings to also be covered by C-SPAN cameras.
And Boehner's office replied.
C-SPAN said it was "disappointed" in a decision by Boehner this week to maintain the status quo in the House, meaning that broadcasts from the House are restricted and under the control of the Speaker.
Boehner wrote C-SPAN on Thursday to say he believes the House is "best served by the current system of televised proceedings provided by the House Recording Studio."

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