Congressional video from the trenches

While much of our report was written by people that, at least currently, are in the game of spreading information in an issue-neutral way — that is, information for the sake of information — it’s always nice to hear that those that are in the game of policy come to (at least some of) the same conclusions we did about congressional websites. Last week I asked my good friend Aliza who is interning at the Community Food Security Coalition what she thought of committee websites:

today is the mark up in the House of the farm bill, and my boss and i have noticed something frustrating about this sort of thing, at least for the agriculture committee, which is that they don’t archive the webcasts (or audio) of mark up and hearings- you can watch them live, which is great, and we do, but they should be archived.

it’s probably good, also, to have more of a searchable record of things that have been said.

As we mentioned in our report (both in the committees and video sections, iirc), the availability of webcasts is highly variable from committee to committee.

For the record, after my post a while back about Glenn Beck’s position on removing video cameras in the capitol, some of the responses on the mail list made me realize that there are two ways you could go. If the current level of cameras in committees induces political posturing at the expense of real legislating, because cameras that broadcast out to a wide audience are relatively rare and politicians seem to want to take advantage of the air time, Congress could either remove cameras completely, as Glenn Beck suggested, or they could put cameras in all open meetings, as we suggested in our report, properly streamed and archived on the web, with the result being that with every meeting a chance to posture, the incentive to take advantage of any one particular meeting for posturing is reduced.

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