C-SPAN Kicks Ass

What I like most about C-SPAN is how they keep the cameras running and the mikes open after the event is (ostensibly) over. It's a subversive editorial stance, wrapped in the guise of a lack of a point of view.

But there is a point of view, and it is to catch what's publicly catchable, including those bits that everyone on camera knows will be edited out, or not even shot, by the other news organizations in tow. It's not that C-SPAN is showing you private conversation -- no, the public figures remain at all times aware that they are in public. But C-SPAN often catches them in a slightly less guarded "beltway" public space, something other than the national stage, if that makes sense.

Here's a bit edited together from three photo ops that the President's nominee for the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, gave with, respectively, Senators Specter, Schumer and Brown. In a quick 15 minutes, you glean:

  • Sen. Specter really, really likes being a senator;
  • Sen. Schumer is all about New York (you can imagine Sen. Specter switching policy, party or state, anything to be there; not so Sen. Schumer);
  • Sen. Brown is intensely handled, although that may be self-imposed (notice who closes the door on the cameras).

Solicitor General Kagan is impossible to read. Which is what a lot of people are saying about her now.

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