C-Span Makes Mockery of its Mission

I just spent 25 minutes watching Stephen Colbert’s roast of President Bush, his administration, other washington insiders, and the press corps.

If you’ve got 25 minutes, you can watch it too. But you really only need to watch the first 10-15 minutes. I thought the last 10 was kind of weak.

The link above is to Google video.

But the video and microchunks of it were up at iFilm and YouTube for several days right after Colbert’s talk. Check out Mark Pincus’ blog post on the videos.  He has links to two YouTube videos of Collbert’s speech and they return the now infamous:


Damn. Broken links. That is so uncool. When you link to something, you want it to be there forever. They call them permalinks for a reason.

Now people are going to say, "well C-Span owns that content and they can dictate where they want it to be and where they don’t want it to be".  I guess so.

But I went to C-Span’s website and found this statement of mission:

is a private, non-profit company, created in 1979 by the cable
television industry as a public service. Our mission is to provide
public access to the political process. C-SPAN receives no government
funding; operations are funded by fees paid by cable and satellite
affiliates who carry C-SPAN programming.

If their mission is really to "provide public access to the political process", then they have committed a huge mistake. Because YouTube in particular allows their users to grab the content and rebroadcast it via their blogs and social network pages.  That’s providing access.

Putting it up on Google with restrictions on re-use is not.

I officially now hate C-Span. I am with Chartreuse. Screw them.

C-Span is not the solution to public access.  They are part of the problem.