According to an official at the House Recording Studio, the cameras that C-SPAN commonly uses to broadcast House business are “in recess subject to the call of the chair.” (See summary of House legislative actions here). AshLee Strong, press secretary for House Speaker Paul Ryan, issued this statement: “The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair.”
No approved video feed, no problem: C-SPAN has been piping in the Periscope feed from Rep. Scott Peters, a California Democrat.
The Periscope approach, alas, didn’t provide the same reliability as C-SPAN’s official House-proceedings feed. “Well, the Periscope video froze up again,” said a C-SPAN anchor in the 3 p.m. hour. And a bit later: “We’re still having some issues with that video feed.”
At nearly 3:30 p.m., C-SPAN switched to a feed from Facebook, proving how quickly a Washington political brawl can turn into something of a media-technology showdown as well. Via Facebook, C-SPAN viewers could hear and watch Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) rip the “cowards who run this chamber” for failing to turn on the microphones. And Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.): “This microphone that they cut off belongs to the American people.”
One of the wonders of homemade video from the House floor is the candid audio: If you listen carefully enough, you can hear people whispering about national politics, perhaps unaware that their comments are going out to the entire country.
More to come on this story.