House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pulled out a digital camera at the start of a subcommittee hearing on the future of digital video Thursday and began taking pictures of fellow committee members, the audience, and the press.
He said he planned to post it on YouTube later as the first such clip of a Hill hearing from the Chairman's perspective. Republican John Shimkus of Illinois pointed out that Markey had worn makeup for the occasion and he had not, suggesting the disadvantage of being in the minority is that you don't get to make similar advance planning.
Markey's stunt was by way of demonstrating that user-generated video was changing the way TV was being distributed. He pointed out that YouTube had not even existed at the beginning of 2005 and was now hosting 100 million postings a day.
YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley was one of the witnesses at the hearing, and opened his remarks with his own YouTube video, a parody of a campaign video about an elementary school election in which candidate Jimmy Jones promises to color "inside the lines." Hurley said that over 500 videos from 17 presidential candidates have been posted on the site, which is promoting itself as a new populist approach to campaign communications.
The "HillTube" video moment came at a House Telecommunications Subcommittee hearing Thursday on the future of video in the digital age, the fifth in a series of oversight hearings the committee plans to conduct on telecommunications issues.
The newly installed Democrats on the subcommittee and parent Energy and Commerce Committee have opined that there was virtually no industry oversight under the Republicans and have made it clear there is a new sheriff in town.
Markey took the opportunity to plug network neutrality, talking of the need for a free and open Internet architecture, a theme echoed by fellow Democrat Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).