Brian Stelter of The New York Times reports today that “C-Span has uploaded virtually every minute of its video archives to the Internet”:
The archives, at C-SpanVideo.org, cover 23 years of history and five presidential administrations and are sure to provide new fodder for pundits and politicians alike. The network will formally announce the completion of the C-Span Video Library on Wednesday.
That’s just incredible. But, as I recently noted in my essay on, “C-SPAN, Civic-Minded Programming & Public Interest Regulation,” what’s more incredible it that this amazing, unprecedented civic resource has been provided to Americans at zero expense for the American taxpayer. Many people fail to realize that C-SPAN is a private, non-profit company that is provided as a public service by cable industry contributions. It receives no government or taxpayer contributions whatsoever. From 1979-2009, total license fees paid by cable & satellite companies to support C-SPAN totaled $922 million.
So, next time you hear someone whining about how the private sector fails to provide “public interest programming,” ask them why the government didn’t think of C-SPAN first. And don’t let them forget how, when C-SPAN first got off the ground, many in Congress fought the idea of public access to the inner workings of government. Thank God some folks in the private sector kept the heat on for access, while also keeping the monetary support flowing for the massive investment necessary to keep this unprecedented public resource alive and growing.
Visit C-SPAN’s amazing — and easily searchable — video archive today: www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary