The political hot air and exaggerations that goes around the Internet makes one wonder if everyone is going to have not their “ten minutes of fame” but their “Ten minutes of being demonized by the “Liberal/Mainstream-Media/DailyKos” partisans or the “Rush/Beck/Tea-party” zealots.

However, the good news (and something that is rarely mentioned in the blast of the partisans) is that Americans can get the basic facts from a non partisan source: C-SPAN.

C-SPAN is a network available on American Cable TV networks that shows the proceedings of the House and Senate live. Often important debates or hearings are rebroadcast for those of use who work during the day to watch.

Their morning show usually has a journalist or writer, who talks about his or her area of expertise, and allows callers to question them.  On weekends, there is an emphasis on non fiction books that are published, with interviews with authors (for those of us who are history junkies to enjoy).

In addition, they often broadcast meetings that have a political slant.

Left, Right, Center, Atheists, Christians, Atheists, Teaparties, Coffee parties, Anti War protests, pro gun activists, you name it: They all can have their say on C-SPAN, without having the network “reporter” making snide remarks or twisting what they say or criticizing their hair style, syntax, or accent.

Yes, the interviews often include one point of view, and the call in shows often get flooded with talking points from both sides, but as Brian Lamb has pointed out: Usually if the show is long enough, someone will call in to question the exaggerations or inaccuracies.

And these “opinions” are recognized as the opinion of the caller or guest, not that of the network, which bends over backward not to be partisan.

So I am happy to read in the New York Times that C-SPAN is planning to put it’s full archives on the internet.

Yes, I know: much of their recent news-feed has been there for awhile, but for those of us with unstable internet connections, streaming video presents problems; and the aim now is to make their archives available for download too.

Eventually, even twenty year old archives will now be available, for reporters, for the curious, and for history students.

So thank you, Brian Lamb, for inventing C-SPAN, and thank you for the cable networks who provided funding and assistance to keep it going. Finally, thank you for all of those who work there and try to give a non partisan coverage to the issues of the day.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines who blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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