Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi, who pledged to make this Democrat-controlled Congress the most open and honest ever, stood there and watched with the bat on her shoulder today as C-SPAN grooved her an 85 mph fastball. Strike one. Pelosi chose to keep with the tradition of only showing tight and medium shots of the speaking podium of floor proceedings.
Here she is in her own words, “I believe the dignity and decorum of the United States House of Representatives are best preserved by maintaining the current system of televised proceedings.” I’m pretty sure that when she says “dignity and decorum” she means that congressmales and females don’t want the possibility for wider shots showing the all but empty floors of either house so as to keep up the impression that they take their jobs seriously. C-SPAN has made itself on showing these elected folks get up in front of that podium and give canned speeches that have no passion or actual interest. But at least it’s something. Now C-SPAN wants to show the real floor proceedings, complete with the chit-chat and sleeping representatives and they got the shaft.
It’s a shame, really. Cutaway shots could liven up Congress in a big way. And YouTube. Imagine the amount of material that could be mashed up into music video style creations. I know there would be plenty.
As someone who has had the privilege of directing shows with audiences, debates, and just about anything else you can do in a studio, I’ve taken cutaways like that and backed off of cutaways like that. I even got to do a “debate” consisting of several of this year’s gubernatorial candidates. One candidate in particular made for far better cutaway possibilities, simply because of the disdain this person showed for everyone around. I couldn’t take it, because those were the rules.
Maybe if the possibility was there that I could take it, this person wouldn’t have done it. We’ll never know. But when the cameras are on and there’s a chance you could get caught doing it yourself, you’ll think twice. Maybe. And if what Pelosi wants is to keep the dignity and decorum of Congress intact, then let us all see that dignity and decorum for ourselves, instead of taking her word for it. Openness and honesty are about showing us and letting us decide, not telling us the way it is. Alas, chance number one to improve on the perception that the Republicans told us and didn’t show us is failed miserably. Take a hack, Nancy, you don’t get many pitches like this one.