C-SPAN CEO: Televise the hearings!

posted at 12:15 pm on January 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The man most disappointed in Barack Obama’s broken promise to have health-care reform negotiations televised on C-SPAN is, predictably, the man in charge of C-SPAN.  CEO Brian Lamb wrote to leaders in Congress requesting that they open their negotiations on ObamaCare to the public as Obama and Congress pledged, and committed to clearing his broadcast schedule to carry it:

“The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety,” Lamb wrote. “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.”

Lamb reminded the leaders that “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.”

Specifically, then-Sen. Obama said on the campaign trail that “we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so the people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

Well, that was back when transparency sounded good, when it was purely theoretical.  Apparently it’s still theoretical, as Jake Tapper discovered when he interviewed White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Sunday’s This Week.  Tapper wondered whether Obama would commit to fulfilling the pledge that Lamb highlights in his letter, and discovered that the Obama administration has a strange notion of transparency in action (emphases mine):

So, with that in mind, when I substitute-anchored This Week with George Stephanopoulos last month, I asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs if president would take this final opportunity to open up the doors for this last negotiation. After all, the president will be in charge of it and it will be taking place at the West Wing.

Gibbs’ response: “Well, Jake, first of all, let’s take a step back and understand that this is a process legislatively that has played out over the course of nine months.  There have been a countless number of public hearings.  The Senate did a lot of their voting at 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning on C-SPAN.  A lot of this debate — I think what the president promised and pledged was so that you could see who was fighting for their constituents and who was fighting for drug and insurance companies…”

But he was talking about negotiations, not voting, I interrupted. About the bill being put together.

“Well, but the bill gets put together on the floor of the Senate,” Gibbs said. “That’s where the bill got augmented.  And I think if you watched that debate – I don’t know — I wasn’t up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning for a lot of those votes, but I think if the American public had watched — has watched the committee process play out in both the House and the Senate, watched the process play out on both the floor and the — the floor of the House and the floor of the Senate, you’d have seen quite a bit of public hearing and public airing, and I think quite frankly, people have a pretty good sense of who is battling on behalf of thousands of lobbyists that are trying to protect drugs profits and insurance profits, and who’s fighting on behalf of middle-class Americans hoping once and for all to have access to affordable insurance and removing insurance company restrictions like discriminating against people that are sick.”

Full transparency means moving legislation in the dead of night, when even the White House sleeps?  Hey, Robert — most of us weren’t up for those 2 am votes, either, which was the point of holding them at that time.

Furthermore, Gibbs’ reliance on the “committee process” is nothing short of laughable.  In the Senate, the final version didn’t come out of a committee at all.  Harry Reid put it together while huddled away from the C-SPAN cameras, doling out hundreds of millions of dollars in favors to buy votes from fellow Democrats.  The version that did come out of committee, the short-lived Baucus plan, didn’t even exist in legislative language.  It was in memorandum form when the Finance Committee voted on it, after which it died quickly. It was nothing more than a sleight-of-hand arranged by Democrats as a trial balloon.

This, then, is transparency as defined by Democrats: votes in the dead of night, committee processes that produce strawman bills, and Senators scurrying from camera lenses to dole out favors and cash to one another.


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Hope C-Span strongarms them into it.

OmahaConservative on January 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

C-SPAN will cave on this. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Torch on January 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Cave on what? Their letter?

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Now you’ve done it Mr. Lamb. Expect an IRS audit and for Johnson to ban you from LGF.

perroviejo on January 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Who will be brave enough to yell “you lie” at the State of the Union” when Obama starts bragging about the transparency of his admin?

ctmom on January 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

OT: SC GOP censured Lindsay Graham again for working with dems, ideological purity showing its face in SC again

jp on January 5, 2010 at 12:22 PM

If the public MUST be informed, the dems don’t want us informed until after the fact.

csdeven on January 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

This is transparency… as defined by Scrushi of HealthSouth, or Sanford of South Carolina, or the guys at Enron, or Clinton with Lewinski, or Madoff, or…

AubieJon on January 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

“Nice little program ya got there. Hate to see anything happen to it”.

bloviator on January 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You know what the bad part is with this guy? He truly beleives all this stuff he is saying. Deep down he feels they have been transparent.

Johnnyreb on January 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

CSPAN is even more RAAACIST than FOX. Who KNew?

Stephen Macklin on January 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM

You mentioned Senator Baucus. I heard he had an alcohol problem over the weekend. Of course an alcohol problem for him is when he doesn’t have any.

perroviejo on January 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Who will be brave enough to yell “you lie” at the State of the Union” when Obama starts bragging about the transparency of his admin?

ctmom on January 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Can we please have every single republican in congress stand up and scream “YOU LIE!” during his State of the Union address this year? And when Biden and Nancy give them the snake-eye, they should bombard them with eggs.

They run the government like it’s a circus, let’s start treating them like the clowns they are.

fogw on January 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Obama Breaks Pledge to Broadcast Health Bill Negotiations; Airs Them on Ratings Failure MSNBC Where Chris Matthews Talks Over Them — http://optoons.blogspot.com/2010/01/obama-breaks-pledge-to-broadcast-health.html

and

Sources: Administration Has Top Secret Transparency Plan — http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/10/sources-administration-has-top-secret.html

Mervis Winter on January 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Democracy at is finest!

And Boooooooooooooooooosh!

/Bleeds Blue

gwelf on January 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM

transparency as defined by Democrats:

‘none of your dang business, move along now, nothing to see here’

cmsinaz on January 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Isn’t it amazing how everyone is now coming out the woodwork and calling for transparency after it’s too late?

More faux outrage to cover Barry’s behind.

Knucklehead on January 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM

OT: SC GOP censured Lindsay Graham again for working with dems, ideological purity showing its face in SC again

jp on January 5, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I think Graham should go for the gusto and tell them to kiss his censure.

upinak on January 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Brian Lamb is my idea of the perfect journalist. I saw him in an interview and he said his private life is completely seperate from the people he covers because he doesn’t want to be influenced. Love him.

Cindy Munford on January 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

More faux outrage to cover Barry’s behind.

Knucklehead on January 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I think it is more of the line that they want to keep the 5 viewers they have now and not lose them. Plus they gain a whole ton of “told you so” points when the Dems come tumbling down.

Johnnyreb on January 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Transparency means that the debates and such that don’t matter get aired. The real business, the negotiations that went on in Reid and Pelosi’s offices have always been off limits to the cameras.

Not to mention the fact that this latest debate is not just about polishing the product of what the open debate created, it can, and probably will rewrite much, even most of the bill. Making the debate that was allowed to be televised even more meaningless.

MarkTheGreat on January 5, 2010 at 12:37 PM

liars, thieves, reds = chicago machine.

reliapundit on January 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM

This administration has a deaf ear to the public, and the public airwaves too. They are simply not listening. CSPAN will not get their request.

bbordwell on January 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Who will be brave enough to yell “you lie” at the State of the Union” when Obama starts bragging about the transparency of his admin says anything?

ctmom on January 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

FIFY

MarkTheGreat on January 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM

It is transparent, I haven’t seen anything yet….

/

Hog Wild on January 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

How much you want to bet that when the final bill is agreed to, the Democrats will schedule an immediate vote, not even allowing time for printing the bill, much less giving anyone a chance to read it?

Like they did with Porkulus.

MarkTheGreat on January 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

I guess the heat is now off Rasmussen….Good luck Mr. Lamb

PatriotRider on January 5, 2010 at 12:42 PM

OT: SC GOP censured Lindsay Graham again for working with dems, ideological purity showing its face in SC again

jp on January 5, 2010 at 12:22 PM

What was Miss Lindsay up to trying to get Amnasty or Cap and Tax passed? Where was his Loverboy McCain?

dhunter on January 5, 2010 at 12:42 PM

So Obama lied.
Is anybody surprised?
Like, what else is new?

Haiku Guy on January 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

I think we are getting more televised reports from Iran.

WashJeff on January 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Not to nitpick, but Lamb is about a year too late.

The bill’s passage is a fait accompli.

It takes no courage to hold their feet to the fire now that there’s no real chance the coverage could turn the tide.

CSPAN is Public Television without muppets.

Screw them.

jeff_from_mpls on January 5, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Since these negotiations are behind closed doors why don’t the Republicans have their own debate and provide their own solutions on the Senate floor and invite CSPAN to cover them.

They could have cardboard carricatures made of the key Dems and adress their questions to the cardboard cutouts.

Any volunteers to make one of Pinnochio?
Seems mine is full of holes!

dhunter on January 5, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Gosh, you would think that Congress did not want Americans to know what they were doing. Huh?
Nawww…it couldn’t be that.

kingsjester on January 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

“Transparency” to Obama means seeing what He wants you to see, and nothing else. Don’t forget, “I Won”.

GarandFan on January 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM

You know what the bad part is with this guy? He truly beleives all this stuff he is saying. Deep down he feels they have been transparent.

Johnnyreb on January 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You have more faith in Der Liar than I.

mwdiver on January 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Ha. What a joke. So they decide things behind closed doors, and then have a scripted session for the cameras. Big deal. You know it is fake if nobody drops the F-bomb during the ‘negotiations’.

percysunshine on January 5, 2010 at 12:57 PM

The Precedent is all about invisibility, not transparency.

OhioCoastie on January 5, 2010 at 12:58 PM

At this point both Baghdad Bob and the Weekly World News have more credibility than Gibbs.

rbj on January 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Word for the day: SKULK

I used it quite frequently when writing my Congressman and Senators today to tell that this process was no longer free and democratic. I also told them that a bill passed in the middle of the night on a strictly party line vote that also requires citizens of Virginia (and other states) to pay in perpetuity for Ben Nelson’s vote, funnelled billions to Louisiana for Mary Landrieu’s vote, provided New Hampshire with hospitals, and all the other pork was a violation of my Congressmen’s oath of office and proved they did not have the best interests of this constituency in mind.

Then I told them how much I envied their abilty to get Americans to pay for such a long vacation when the rest of us had to slog it out at work to pay for their playtime. :-0

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Gibbs is built of glass. Please don’t let him shatter. We need him there for 3 more years. He’s doing a ‘fine’ job.

Schadenfreude on January 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Can we please have every single republican in congress stand up and scream “YOU LIE!” during his State of the Union address this year?

fogw on January 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Right idea, wrong approach. You don’t want to be disrespectful to the office of President, even if it is infested with a filthy lying coward. The State of the Union technically doesn’t have to be delivered in person.

Instead of yelling, the GOP in Congress should simply sit there and not respond at all. No clapping, not standing up and cheering, nothing. Not a single blessed peep.

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Transparent Administration = Oxymoron

BigAlSouth on January 5, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Hey, Robert — most of us weren’t up for those 2 am votes, either, which was the point of holding them at that time.

In fairness, that was not the point of the early morning votes. Those votes were taken at those times because of certain Senate-rule mandates for 30-hour intervals. Those intervals expired at those odd hours – and the votes had to go forward immediately upon expiration of the 30 hour periods in order to finish voting by Christmas Eve.

That said, it has to be emphasized that this is not an excuse for the Democrats. The real negotiation of the bills was behind closed doors – mostly closed not only to the public, but to GOP senators as well. Gibbs is fooling nobody by saying the bills are put together on the Senate floor. Balderdash!! The proceedings on the Senate floor are no more than choreographed rote proceedings – carefully scripted after-the-fact.

Further, there was no legitimate need to cram this down the Nation’s throat before Christmas (and Uncle Barry then turns around for another dither about “jobs” – further embarrassing his Congressional delegation). It is more than obvious that this is a very bad bill – put together through a very bad process having almost nothing to do with concerns about health care.

The real agenda here is to destroy capitalism. And that’s why the Dems do not want any of the real proceedings made public – too easy for viewers to catch on.

ManUFan on January 5, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Like I have said many times before, the only to get these corruptocrats outta there, is to drag them out, lifeless, if necessary.

mr1216 on January 5, 2010 at 1:10 PM

In fairness, that was not the point of the early morning votes. Those votes were taken at those times because of certain Senate-rule mandates for 30-hour intervals. Those intervals expired at those odd hours – and the votes had to go forward immediately upon expiration of the 30 hour periods in order to finish voting by Christmas Eve.

ManUFan on January 5, 2010 at 1:07 PM

In fairness, why did the Senate have to rush through legislation with the absolute minimum amount of time between procedural votes. It was merely because the administration wanted the bill before Christmas that the process was so bastardized that minutes counted. There was no immediacy to get this bill out in time that Harry Reid wasn’t stuck in DC on Christmas Eve. It’s not as if the vast majority of Democrats in Congress even believe in Christ!

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Where the he*l are the GOP ‘leaders’ on the non-transparency by Pelosi/Reid? If they don’t speak up, throw them out in Nov. too.

Schadenfreude on January 5, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Socialism is not done in the glare of TV…

d1carter on January 5, 2010 at 1:14 PM

This should be great fodder for another John Stewart wtf monologue…

PaulMorphy on January 5, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Who will stand up and scream “you lie”?

MILLIONS of Americans.

Yellowdog12 on January 5, 2010 at 1:20 PM

No need to tune in to the State of the Union address — I can sum it up in one word …

PaulMorphy on January 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Where are Boehner, McConnell, and a few others. Are they still recovering from over-eating during the holidays?

If they don’t surface soon, throw them all out.

Schadenfreude on January 5, 2010 at 1:25 PM

I long for the days of the duel.

It is the great error of the legislative process.
In the beginning, if a gentleman lied he would be challenged to defend his honor with his life.
If he would not accept the challenge, he had to retract his statement.

I long for the days of the duel.

barnone on January 5, 2010 at 1:28 PM

I think we are getting more televised reports from Iran.

WashJeff on January 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

..great idea, Jeff. A flock of citizens, twittering and iPhoning from the gallery of the House and Senate.

VoyskaPVO on January 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Cave on what? Their letter?

lorien1973 on January 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

No, on wanting this to go any further than that letter.

Torch on January 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Poor Brian. He is a little lamb, isn’t he?

The only sign of transparency in this administration is in its use of full-body scans for non-terrorist travelers.

EMD on January 5, 2010 at 1:40 PM

The revolution will not be televised.

Missy on January 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Instead of yelling, the GOP in Congress should simply sit there and not respond at all. No clapping, not standing up and cheering, nothing. Not a single blessed peep.

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:05 PM

How about quietly standing up in mass, and turning their back on the guy for the duration of his speech?

MarkTheGreat on January 5, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Or just not showing up in the first place.

MarkTheGreat on January 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Transparency?

Pelosi and Reid pick their teeth with guys like Lamb. In fact I would go further and say the Lambs of the world are basically in cahoots with the Dems as regards health care. They know it is a done deal. As such they can now falsely demand to be part of the process. Watch for the MSM to make similar demands while behind closed doors they want no such thing. They all want Health care, with amnesty and cap and trade to pass in similar fashion.

The imperative is for the NEW DEAL II to pass before November 2010. Afterwards there will be no turning back.

patrick neid on January 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM

This could be fun to watch…..pass the pork rinds.

yoda on January 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM

“This administration doesn’t take transparency lightly,” said another official. “Trust me. Such an extraordinary transparency plan is being protected by unparalleled layers of secrecy.”

optoons is actually revealing the truth here.

Jeff2161 on January 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Right idea, wrong approach. You don’t want to be disrespectful to the office of President

highhopes on January 5, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Like Obama?

Some, if not most presidents, deserve respect. Obama falls into a whole new category, as an America-hating president who bows to Saudi kings and apologizes for our greatness.

fogw on January 5, 2010 at 2:04 PM

We could always have Tom Brokaw explain the bill to America on C-Span. Seeing as how he doesn’t understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, and thinks Oregon’s assisted suicide program is the best solution for cost containment, he’ll be the perfect spokesman for this abomination.

DrW on January 5, 2010 at 2:06 PM

All they can do is embarrass them. There is no requirement that Congress be transparent or even tell the truth…they are, after all, Congress and not an honorable organization like, say, Acorn.

JIMV on January 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Chicago-style politics requires having your calculator handy, and absolutely NO CAMERAS in the room.

RBMN on January 5, 2010 at 2:13 PM

The nerve. Who knew Brian Lamb was a racist?

Goodale on January 5, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Full transparency means moving legislation in the dead of night, when even the White House sleeps? Hey, Robert — most of us weren’t up for those 2 am votes, either, which was the point of holding them at that time.

Umm, don’t forget, Ed, that Gibbsey and Obama and friends all have access to insider information which puts the ‘unemployment’ number at its actual level, so they’re assuming that with that many unemployed Americans available as potential viewers, doing that kind of work at 1 or 2 A.M. will not be a hardship. Heh.

KendraWilder on January 5, 2010 at 2:14 PM


In case you haven’t seen it yet, the following link is well worth the 2-3 minutes it takes to watch it.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbqhl8_america-rising-an-open-letter-to-de_news

stacy on January 5, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Gibbs looks more and more comical as time go by.

He grew up here in Auburn and dated the sister of a friend of mine. She’s now married and has children. Not long after the immaculation ceremony, she gets a phone call and the woman on the other end says “Please hold for a call from Air Force One”. It was Gibbs, still trying to impress her.

AubieJon on January 5, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Robert Gibbs: what don’t you understand about televising the negotiations you mealy-mouthed weasel?

ya2daup on January 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Negotiations = on floor debate and voting? I don’t think so.

C-SPAN has been broadcasting open house and senate sessions for years, so it would have made no sense for Obama to promise that , if he were elected, he would ensure C-SPAN just continued to do what it was doing anyway.

LASue on January 5, 2010 at 2:46 PM

PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES!

royzer on January 5, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Libwit Transparency: you will have full insight into what I tell you, when I want you to know it.

notagool on January 5, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Stop! You’re killing me!! Since when would anyone with any sense believe anything a democrat promises?!? They have been making empty political promises and lying to the American people for 80+ years – since FDR’s New (RAW) Deal days. They need an electorate that’s poor, ignorant, and angry to keep themselves in power. And look what it got them this time around.

mozalf on January 5, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Barnone,
The duel required honor, sadly not available in our nations capital any longer.

mountainmanbob on January 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Hey Americans, STFU.

Your truly, The one.

*******

How did we come to this, white guilt, 7 points worth of white guilt.

father on January 5, 2010 at 6:11 PM