Pay-Per-View Democracy… Or Does Anyone Care?

from the so-that's-what-we're-up-to-these-days... dept

Apparently this isn’t new at all, but some people are beginning to question why some state government meetings can be viewed online only with a monthly subscription fee of $200. The article focuses on sessions of the Public Service Commission in New York State. The PSC defends the subscription practice saying it would cost $10,000 to $20,000 per month to offer the videos for free, instead of paid. Honestly, it’s not clear how many people are actually bothered by the lack of these videos being available. What would have been much more interesting, however, is finding out just how many people (if any) actually cough up the $200/month to access this C-SPAN-style material.

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Comments on “Pay-Per-View Democracy… Or Does Anyone Care?”

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Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

Because they forgot the average joe.

They didn’t realize when they were making these votes on the floor that people are watching these things. If you watch c-span today compared to a year ago you hear absolutely nothing. That’s the thing everyone missed see. Instead of letting people know they are not hiring the minimum wage still in hock for overtime pay. Those are the discussions they don’t want the majority who of course can’t afford this service to know. Many other topics, that one is by far the best option the Republicans have left on the table thus far I mean hey who needs to get paid for killing themselves quicker(stress tests are proven)….

I hear a priest say something along the lines of “Once you’ve encountered demons you either go crazy or learn to laugh about them.”

Let’s just say I’m laughing not koo koo…

Kat o Nine Tales (user link) says:

No Subject Given

I lost all faith in my state’s government years ago because of session video.

The South Carolina Congressional debates on the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag over the State House (remember when that was a big honkin’ deal, boys and girls?) were aired over some PBS and Public Access stations across the state. I listened to an elected representative of the people of South Carolina say, “Now, if you’d propose flying a Confederate flag at the top of the flagpole above the others, I’d support that.” Not one word of protest was spoken–several others agreed on the record or applauded.

Above the others. This was to me a call to secession in open session of the South Carolina Legislature. And no one, but no one, picked up the story. I wish to God I had a tape or a transcript.

Bob says:


Hm this would be an interesting court case.

While yes it’s understandable the cost of the video service may be prohibitive, the charging of what would appear to be public content is exclusive of the ability to pay, regardless of the producer involved.

The PSC does have options. It can (1) offer reduced services that costs less, (2) supplement the service with others, or (3) remove the service altogether, among others.

$200 a month is excessive. Such an amount is clearly an economic barrier to those not of a particular economic class, thus excluding a majority portion of the public from participation.

ccc says:

Re: No Subject Given

There is culture, and there is politics. OUr culture is already almost completely pay per view, fair use and public domain mraked for death… government is the next frontier of capitalism.

What did you think all that talk about “privitization” was about? What good are government services if the important people aren’t making a profit off them?

Scott says:

No Subject Given

Mostly likely the way they get away with it is because they probably provide televised broadcasts on a local/government tv channel. I have lived in 5 states and 12 cities and all of them have a local government channel that broadcasts these types of things(never lived in NY state much less NYC, so I don’t know about there.) I have never watched them, but they are there.

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