The greatest story never told is the letter that Brian Lamb, the founder, Chairman, and CEO of C-SPAN, sent to President Obama Dec. 30, 2009, requesting to ‘allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American’ via C-SPAN cameras. The subject of his request is the final stages of deliberations to propose a health care bill to send to the President.
Imagine having to request this of the President, since while he was appealing for our votes as a candidate, he said all such deliberations would be on C-SPAN for all to see. And America fell for it.
Obama pledged during a presidential debate in January 2008 that he would be ”bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.”
If the shoe were on the other foot, the media would be up in arms 24/7 calling for impeachment or some such nonsense. It would be front-page, above the fold. But since it isn’t, you have to get the news from the new media, the blogosphere.
No mention of it on CNN. MSNBC is more creative. They disguise the story by putting it at the bottom or the nut of the story. A story that has two titles, neither of which say a word about C-SPAN or Brian Lamb or transparency in the titles.
The New York Times has a small article in the dead tree version far from the front page and said this . . .
The C-SPAN television network is calling on congressional leaders to open health care talks to cameras — something President Barack Obama promised as a candidate.
Instead the most critical negotiations on Obama’s health plan have taken place behind closed doors, as Republicans repeatedly point out. In a Dec. 30 letter to House and Senate leaders released Tuesday, C-SPAN chief executive Brian Lamb asked for negotiations on a compromise bill to be opened up for public viewing, as Democrats work to reconcile differences between legislation passed by the two chambers.
None of the above media, the ones the Obama referred to as the real news media, offered the letter itself that Lamb sent if it was mentioned at all. Same with our local paper. Not enough space to print it? Not enough bandwidth to link to it? The White House wouldn’t approve if they did?
Here it is:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker, United States House or Representatives
The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader, United States Senate
The Honorable John Boehner
Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader, United States Senate
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.
The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.
Since the initial introduction of the America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, mark ups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives.
President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system. Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.
We hope you will give serious consideration to this request. We are most willing to employ the latest digital technology to make the cameras, lights and microphones as unobtrusive as possible.
Please contact me if I can answer any questions.
We are witness to a coup to remake America into something that, if given the chance, America would not want or vote for. And the President, the Democrat majority in Congress, and the media are so far, carrying it out successfully.