Friday, January 6, 2017

You don't need cable TV to keep an eye on Congress

Yesterday on Facebook I happened upon an acquaintance's lament that she wouldn't be able to watch the potentially explosive Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on C-SPAN because she doesn't have cable. I assumed that C-SPAN's live streams were accessible to everyone since I've always been able to get on. However, while I don't have cable TV, I do subscribe to Charter's broadband service as well as phone (with what I do, you almost have to), and apparently that's sufficient to get me through the door. When I logged on to a hearing last night, it indeed went through an authentication process.

Now for the record, I think C-SPAN should be required to show what they stream to everyone and not just the exclusive $100-per-month cable club. These are public proceedings, and the whole idea behind C-SPAN was for the cable companies to provide a public service in exchange for being granted monopolies in communities decades ago (a privilege they still largely enjoy). Again, there's only one cable broadband service in Redding that I'm aware of, and it's from the one cable company in Redding.

Fortunately, however, you don't have to have C-SPAN or subscribe to cable to watch congressional proceedings online. The House and Senate websites provide their own streams of most proceedings, including committee hearings. I've covered live streams of hearings on the Klamath Basin agreements, meat labeling and California's drought for the Capital Press. To view the fiery Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings (including one for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions next Tuesday), bookmark this page.

There are alternatives to the corporate media's shackles.

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