THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Paul Peete Headshot

The Convention As Seen From The Couch

Posted: Updated:

Those of us unable to be in Denver this week but still wanting to share in the confab, hoping to see unity, are tuning into CNN and MSNBC, or if the stomach is strong enough FOX. I did so Monday and alternated channels every so often to get a sampling of how each set of anchors was characterizing the event. Naturally, for me, FOX is not an option for it doesn't take long to feel the hate for all things Democratic. MSNBC came closest to the Progressive perspective I side with, despite the occasional vitriol Pat Buchanan uttered. CNN had moments of clarity peppered with conservative bias, falling right of center in its overall coverage.

Tuesday morning I remembered the cable's one unedited, unbiased, commercial-free channel, C-SPAN, and tuned them in just in time for the invocation and the color presentation. As I watched the speeches and the various events unfold throughout the day, I felt so free to enjoy the event without having to react to the negative comments that these anchors endlessly find a need to come up with. The great thing about C-SPAN is that there aren't even announcers to guide you from one speaker to the next. You get the straight message from the speaker and form your own conclusions about what was said.

The problem with C-SPAN is that it is a cable only product. The cable industry, in order to gain favor with the legislators who held their fate in their hands, first proposed the idea of a station that would allow the message of the government to reach the masses. While the politicians envisioned a platform where they could posture and present their propaganda to the populace soon found out that it is a two-edged sword. People watched the Congress in its day to day operations and began to understand when they saw legislation stalled and passed to suit the narrow interests of the few. Newt Gingritch used the Special Orders Speech policy of the House of Representatives, wherein after the day's session is ended a house member is allowed to take the floor and speak on any subject matter that he chooses. Before long, he and his Republican acolytes, held the microphones on C-SPAN open well past the Dinner Hour across America.

The Contract For America, his creation that allowed the Republicans to take control of the House of Representatives in 1996, was fed daily to the American public through C-SPAN and ultimately through his persistence was picked up by the MSM. That use of the open camera was indeed genius and allowed the Republicans to control the House uninterrupted for 10 years. The 2006 elections, after Americans saw the failure of the House and Senate to challenge Bush/Cheney on any of his policies, began a rejection of the lemming-like Republican Congress and, even in the Republicans own estimation, 2008 will prove to be the total undoing of Republican Congressional power.

By 2006, having seen the crooks, creeps, cronies, and cons the Republicans put into office, the Jack Abramoff lobbyists who had access to all the levers of power, Enron, and a war that was based on lies and, thanks to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, funded on our children's future. We have a chance to finish what we started in 2006 and replace the obstructionists that have held up the progress of the current Congress. Even as the MSM tries to shape our opinions one way or another with their pundits, commentators, polls, and prognosticators, this election will prove pivotal in America's direction for the 21st Century. If the outcome goes as I hope, open government will be resisted less than the back door, K Street type dealings I can envision in a McCain led White house.

Regardless of who the victor is, the American public should demand that access to the Congress should be on regular television on a daily basis so that we can make informed decisions on the policies, laws, and positions our elected representatives argue for and against in the House and Senate. The people's right to know is sacrosanct and if we can live with infomercials, we should be able to have information. Tonight, I will get to enjoy the proceedings of the Democratic Convention speech by Barack Obama without the parsing, pronouncing, denouncing, and best of all, the constant commercials, cable stations have. C-SPAN is by far the best thing ever created on cable television.