On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss today picked a fight with – of all the milquetoast entities to choose from – the low-profile C-SPAN, which televises nonstop the sessions of Congress.
Chambliss was actually making a valid point, of how the presence of TV cameras in the U.S. Capitol has changed the way that Congress does business. Newt Gingrich clawed his way to the House speakership in the 1990s in part by using the new technology – in five-minute speeches he and his GOP allies would deliver to the folks at home.
Here’s the clip:
Said Chambliss on the topic of Washington rancor:
”One thing that has made it that way is C-SPAN, very honestly. You’ve got folks on TV, and now – instead of doing political commercials – they rant and rave during dinner time on the East Coast, and then at 9 o’clock you see the West Coast guys up there. Being able to portray back home – ‘I’m fighting!’ – is the mantra that many people have.”
C-SPAN was not amused. The cable network mounted a quick defense this morning. From Politico.com:
C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb charged that the senator’s criticisms were misguided and accused politicians of trying to shift blame off themselves onto others.
“It’s like blaming the Bureau of Printing and Engraving for our $15 trillion debt,” Lamb [said]. “Since the beginning of time, television has been criticized for everything possible. I mean, if you can’t get your job done, you look around and try to blame it on somebody else. Television has nothing to do with the inability of this town to deal with the problems that are in front of them.”
C-SPAN also tweeted out the following:
Want to see Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R-GA) 599 C-SPAN appearances? Go to his @cspanvl bio page: http://cs.pn/Hprwf3
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider