No Seeing at Hearing

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Does anyone else see the irony in this.

The Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees communications issues, is holding a hearing to mark up a bill revising communications policy.

One of the key elements is the issue of network neutrality, which nobody can define to anyone else's satisfaction. But at least one of the definitions is "not blocking access to information on the Internet."

The Chairman of that Committee does not allow cameras in markup hearings, like the crucial one scheduled for Thursday, so he blocks cable coverage and video streaming over the Internet of the markup of a bill about concerns over impeding video streaming over the Internet.

Sounds like the the first example on the first day of class in Irony 101 to me.

Chairman Ted Stevens has never liked cameras in markups going back to when he headed the Appropriations Committee, though he allows them in other hearings.

According to one staffer, appropriations markups were often in small rooms. With the already circus-like atmosphere and crowded galleries for the markups, lots of cameras added too much additional chaos, said one staffer.

At Commerce, the practice goes back to former Chairman Fritz Hollings, says the committee historian, and again it was the crowds and chaos that he did not want added to.

Seems to me a pool feed and Internet streaming could be handled in this day and age with cameras the size of a dachsund and one without a little hat and clown costume that might arguable add to the circus atmosphere, But, hey, maybe that's just me.

C-SPAN asked to cover the Thursday markup on a bill that has huge implications for the industry. True to precedent, Stevens said no.

Audio streaming is allowed howevever, so C-SPAN will have to settle for videoless voices. 

By John Eggerton

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