Free Speech Speeches


Apparently C-SPAN’s national treasure, Brian Lamb, has been gtting grief from the fans of talk radio host Michael Savage.

According to, Talkers magazine gave Savage a Freedom of Speech award and, while C-SPAN covered some of the awards ceremony, did not cover Savage’s acceptance speech because Savage jailed it in, literally, sending a DVD rather than appearing live.

Of course, not covering a speech about freedom of speech was too juicy for Savage not to capitalizeon. It is a particularly large target, whatever C-SPAN’s policy toward speeches not delivered live, given the high-profile exclusion of the cable net from an acceptance speech for a free speech award by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia back in 2003..

At the time, C-SPAN vice president of programming Terry Murphy said, "For the City Club of Cleveland to bestow `The Citadel of Free Speech Award’ on Justice Scalia while consenting to any insistence that television cameras not cover the event begs disbelief and seems to be in conflict with the award itself. How free is speech if there are limits to its distribution?"

According to, Lamb pointed out on-air that the decision not to run the DVD-delivered speech was made by Murphy, though he said Savage has been offered a chance to deliver the same speech in person.

 I have not determined whether C-SPAN has an immutable policy on not airing taped speeches. If it does not, I would have aired the free speech speech anyway.

By John Eggerton