Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Happy 40th birthday to C-SPAN!

C-SPAN first aired 40 years ago today, March 19, 1979.

C-SPAN is a great public service by a private organization. It is not a government entity in any way.

For decades, C-SPAN has been my go-to source for presidential debates and speeches, press conferences, congressional hearings, interviews, and more. While other stations selectively chop up these events, C-SPAN gives you the whole thing, from beginning to end and beyond, letting you feel like a fly on the wall before and after they’re aired by the for-profit channels.

C-SPAN is not just a TV station, but also a website that seems to have its whole 40 years online and accessible to everyone. You never have to pay or register for anything, and there are no commercials.

Nick Gillespie at Reason magazine says:

Long before reality TV shows like Real World, Survivor, Real Housewives, Big Brother, and Sober House, C-SPAN gave Americans direct access to one of the most powerful groups of people on the planet. For the first time in history, we could see our elected representatives debating, wheeling and dealing, freaking out, and occasionally falling asleep while debating government spending, foreign policy, and more.
Click that link for a podcast interview with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, where he talks about "how working in the Pentagon during Vietnam inspired him to push for 'openness' in government, why he's still pushing for cameras to cover oral arguments in the Supreme Court, and how C-SPAN expects to weather its next 40 years."

And now, here's the greatest thing that's ever happened on C-SPAN. "Is that a rooster?" (The anchor is the unflappable Greta Brawner).