YouTube Serves As C-SPAN 2.0 In Virginia State House

from the gotcha-on-camera dept

Video sites like YouTube may make for some fun timewasters, but increasingly they’re proving to have some useful societal purpose. Recently, the site was used to track down the perpetrators of a crime after one of them had the bright idea of posting his cameraphone video of the even online. And in Virginia, an interesting situation is brewing, as Democrats in the state legislature have been posting videos to YouTube in an attempt to prevent Republicans from engaging in dirty politics. The Democrats say that the majority Republicans have been killing bills without taking a proper vote, and that they hope the videos will help shame the opposition. The Republicans counter that the Democrats are engaging in “gotcha” politics, and that some of the video footage has been edited to give a false depiction of the events. While that may be so, in some cases, anything that furthers transparency is a good thing, if in fact politicians are engaged in sneaky, off-hour tactics. If one party thinks it’s being misrepresented by the other party, there’s nothing stopping them from taking their own footage of the proceedings. Of course, this could all be taken care of if the legislature just had a camera on by default. It would bring more openness to the political process, and presumably offer a non-partisan point of view. But until that happens, YouTube represents a good way of exposing what goes on in the halls of power.

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Comments on “YouTube Serves As C-SPAN 2.0 In Virginia State House”

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Ethan Bauley (user link) says:

Gotcha...acting like a douchebag

I am all for the YouTubification of politics.

As a graduate of UVA and a staunch detractor of George Allen, I gotta say that this is indeed a step forward for representative democracy.

You bet we’re in an age of “Gotcha” politics; as in “Gotcha on film subverting the legislative process, jerkoff.” You want us to apologize for this?

My dad has worked for the House of Representatives recording studio for over 20 years [they are responsible for all floor coverage, State of the Union, etc; CSPAN just buys the feed].

They were all whining about the same shit in 1979 when they put cameras in the chambers. I personally won’t be satisfied until we have a 24/7 Kennedy/DeLay/Bush/LibbyCAM.

Maybe then the politicians will be back on OUR side, instead of their corporate underwriters.

Digital Angel says:

Big Brother on Big Brother Action

Ya know very few people care about politics in general. it’s a sad state and there are many gullable to believe that Most politicians are working in their best interest.

At least on film they can’t go ” Well I didn’t say that” or “That’s not what it meant” I’m not a Democrat but damned if I don’t love this idea.

It’s time the masses started caring about our governing body. In fact, it’s time the majority was able to pull a Martin Luther and nail a digital note to the governing houses and say, HEY NO MORE GAMES! YouTube is just that venue.

frankthetank says:

you can put all the youtoob videos up, but until people start following them, what good is it?
but then again, with VOD and such, you don’t have to sit through the formalities of parlimentary procedure, you can just have the “goodstuff”

who what’s to see, and the gentleman from such and such makes a motion to call to question the motion regarding the proposed cact proposed by the gentlement from such and such while being seconded by such and such…

i mean i watched some of the congressional hearings on the HP pretexting case. funny. the chairman had to go to each “wittness” get their name, title and such. from there, he read a long queustion, to which the “witness” claimed the 5th to protect themself from self incrimination. and there were like 15 people, after abotu 20 minutes and 3 people, i had enough.

2 things you shouldn’t let people see how they are made. sausages and bills.

anywhoo…more quotes politics….lets breat that down. poli/poly = many. tics = bloodsucking creatures. funny isn’t it?

Itch (user link) says:

I’ve had similar ideas in the past. Become a permentently wired politician. Webcams to watch the office to see any and all who come and go, no matter how low level or boring. Even keep one on my shoulder, so if someone grabs me outside the office to try and tries to schmoo me.

Figure this would me I’d never get any funding or anything actually accomplished.

Jamie says:

Recording is good as long as it's complete

I have no problem with recording the proceedings and putting up a live feed and giving people the ability to see older feeds. Why don’t they just do that? If they are following standard procedures, then they have nothing to hide. So why not?

As for the videos on YouTube, I’m not sure I like that. I don’t have a problem with them being on YouTube, what I have a problem with is the way they are getting there. Both parties have a pretty poor reputation for giving the public an “edited” version of the truth. I don’t know that the Democrat versions are edited to make them seem worse, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And once the Republicans start putting their own versions up on YouTube, you can bet that there will be just as much editing going on. What the public sees could end up being very distorted. The only solution in that case, would be to have an official feed that the “edited” versions could be compared against.

Shaula Evans (user link) says:

crack it open and shine the light in

I agree that the solution to allegations of partisan editing would be to make unedited footage of Virginia government proceedings available to the public.

That’s why Virginia Democrats have been introducing the same bill for years to televise proceedings in the House of Delegates…and every year the (ever-narrowing) Republican majority votes the bill down.

It is on public record who is for, and who is against, transparency in (Virginia) government and shining a light on partisan shenanigans.

The Republicans stand to lose their majority in the Virginia House of Delegates either this cycle or in 2009. (Virginia, like New Jersey, holds their state election in the “off years” or odd-numbered years.) It will be interesting to see what Republicans think about checks and balances and transparency in government once they’re back in the minority.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Open Governemnt

There is only one Flaw in open government, and that is theat the pollies start to use debates as a place to score cheap points and say things to record in their memoirs. On the other hand, recording the dabates is a good idea, provided the filming is constant. That way, if the number of hours of video does not tally withthe number of hours of debate, then the public can get the edition of Hansard out and compare. If there is someting missing from both, the attendence records would need to be checked, and there would be the devil to pay for al the politician who were there.

The other thing to do would be to put a camera in the divisions lobby, since votes are not secret, and then there is a good chance that politicians can be caught out speaking against something they voted for.

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