Happy Birthday, C-SPAN

posted at 12:31 pm on March 24, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

This morning I was reading one of the latest offerings from long time friend of Hot Air, Andrew Malcolm. (And you should too… it’s hilarious, in that unique style Andrew has.) In it, he notes the 34th birthday of C-SPAN, along with some viewership numbers which came as a surprise to me.

Who exactly are C-SPAN’s viewers? According to its own anniversary poll, the network has about 47 million viewers per week–51% male, 49% female and 47% college graduates. Viewership is highest among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Viewers are politically-involved and describe themselves as liberal (26%), conservative (31%) and moderate (39%).

But that wasn’t the biggest shock, I’m ashamed to say. I knew that the network covers all of the day to day, nuts and bolts happenings of the government in a way which is only appreciated by the true geeks, but they have one other aspect of their service which should be enshrined as a national treasure.

Now, get this, the C-SPAN video library is searchable! And you can edit out and copy any segment you choose. So, if you want to hear, see and read what someone told a House committee in 1994, it’s all right here, free for you. Other than that, the 170,000-plus hours in C-SPAN’s Video Library are perfectly useless for historians, students, journalists and opposition researchers.

I confess, I was unaware of this. The videos all have transcripts and session notes which are fully searchable. Whether you’re a writer or an interested consumer of political news, this is pretty amazing. Just for a shot in the dark, I plugged in the name of Joe Scarborough… not from his current role as a morning talk show host, but from his days in Congress. The site immediately delivered 170 videos of Joe speaking on a range of bills and debate topics spanning his entire career, including this gem from 1991.

It’s all there, dating back well into the 80′s 90′s. And if you’re digging for material on people in the news in Washington today, you know that a long reach into history is really useful. Some of these people hang around for so long that they make herpes look easy to get rid of. It’s truly an amazing tool and I thank Andrew for bringing it to our attention.

UPDATE: (Jazz) An editing note. Andrew contacted me and said the 1984 date was a typo, so it’s the early 90′s, not the 80′s. Our apologies.


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I once went to c-span headquarters as part of conference, it was really cool and everyone was down to earth including the TV hosts, Brian Lamb talked to us a couple times as well and was clearly a class act who was motivated by civic duty.

rob verdi on March 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Happy birthday C-SPAN.

You provided a greatly needed service by televising the debates with no TV trolls to ruin the coverage. Except for Candy Crowley, but that wasn’t your fault.

22044 on March 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Best part of C-SPAN is that it is a privately-owned nonprofit organization. It’s funded by charging cable companies mere pennies to carry to each subscriber, and it’s far more watchable than anything on public TV, except maybe reruns of Are You Being Served?

Also explains why it didn’t suddenly get shut down as a victim of “sequestration” for about a 13 hour stretch a couple of weeks ago. No greater success than being able to report on political affairs fore more than three decades without the government managing to get it’s greasy tyrannical paws all over everything.

Gingotts on March 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Good for C-SPAN!

Jazz: welcome to the real world… its a REALLY good “network”…

Khun Joe on March 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Alternate headline:

“It’s a REALLY slow news day”

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on March 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

CSPAN and now YOUTUBE are my “go to” sites for complete video of
speeches. Its the only way I can avoid the “spin”.

Because of the untruths and selected soundbites given out of context, I have given up on watching or listening to any news
programs. Gone are the days I suffer through Juan, Shep, Axelrod,
McCain, Rove, etc.

Most everyone has an agenda. I am glad that CSPAN remains honest.

My only criticism is that I notice that during peak viewing hours one might find their interest lies in more leftie subjects. However, sooner or later one can find the conservative subject video.

Amjean on March 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM

…thank you for being there C-SPAN for all the meetings the transparent JugEar jerks promised your cameras would cover!

KOOLAID2 on March 24, 2013 at 1:16 PM

No greater success than being able to report on political affairs fore more than three decades without the government managing to get it’s greasy tyrannical paws all over everything…….

Gingotts on March 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

…….And, it really should prevent our dear liberal friends from re-writing history to fit their maniacal narratives.

Rovin on March 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

The site immediately delivered 170 videos of Joe speaking on a range of bills and debate topics spanning his entire career, including this gem from 1991.

Wrong link; debate from a decade later comes up when you click.

radjah shelduck on March 24, 2013 at 1:26 PM

…it’s hilarious, in that unique style Andrew has

Your definition of “hilarious” differs greatly from mine, apparently. ;-) But, that was a good article that highlighted a great resource. Thanks for sharing.

KS Rex on March 24, 2013 at 1:34 PM

H8 to disagree . Morning hosts have gotten quite
liberal . It is still fun to listen to LoFo voters especially
since they all have Obama fos ( as the O phone lady
called them ) and can place the callers for free !

Lucano on March 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Ops , that’s calls for free .

Lucano on March 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I checked out some of the vids in their library — nice search capability, btw — and one thing that’s pretty funny is seeing the empassioned speeches the congress-critters make in a nearly empty chamber. Only C-SPAN is honest enough to show the full context.

KS Rex on March 24, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Just trying to help Bishop’s numbers.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM

During a political event, I prefer watching C-SPAN over any other news outlet. I can watch the entire event as opposed to seeing cutaways and yapping heads. I can make my own decisions; I don’t need networks to tell me what it is I need to know.

Philly on March 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Just trying to help Bishop’s numbers.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM

+1

= 16 comments (59% of the way there!)

ShainS on March 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM

For Bishop

koaiko on March 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM

The idea of nearly all congressional speeches being searchable really appeals to me. I’m going to have to check it out… thanks for sharing!

Alternate headline:

“It’s a REALLY slow news day”

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on March 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Haha… is this a team effort now? Alright, keep it going…!

Also, O/T, why do users sometimes write your username, ‘BISHOP!’, in the early comments of some articles? I’ve been reading for a good while now, but haven’t learned why.

Nephew Sam on March 24, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Thank you, C-SPAN, for showing Rand Paul’s filibuster.

FloatingRock on March 24, 2013 at 4:42 PM

The idea of nearly all congressional speeches being searchable really appeals to me. I’m going to have to check it out… thanks for sharing!

Alternate headline:

“It’s a REALLY slow news day”

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on March 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Haha… is this a team effort now? Alright, keep it going…!

Also, O/T, why do users sometimes write your username, ‘BISHOP!’, in the early comments of some articles? I’ve been reading for a good while now, but haven’t learned why.

Nephew Sam on March 24, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Because Bishop is King !

Lucano on March 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM

A , or FIRST !
Or Queen ?
Help me out here ………….

Lucano on March 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM

…22 forBishop !

KOOLAID2 on March 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

…if we have to…we can do this in the Gulch…like we’re doing for Sarah! (:->)

KOOLAID2 on March 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

OT/…no March Madness thread?

KOOLAID2 on March 24, 2013 at 6:09 PM

One of the biggest reasons why an old Hebrew-school buddy of mine. thought that I’d be a good match with a former frat bro of his…was because we were both addicted to C-SPAN. That was 1995. We married in ’02. Thanks, C-SPAN! LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on March 24, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Brian Lamb is the only journalist alive today. I am sorry he has gone to a much deserved retirement.

Cindy Munford on March 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM