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TV networks ask Senate to use C-SPAN cameras for upcoming Trump impeachment trial

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the Capitol.
(Win McNamee / Getty Images)

The broadcast and cable networks have issued a joint request to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting that they be able to use C-SPAN cameras for coverage of the impeachment trial of President Trump.

The current plan for next week’s trial coverage has TV depending on the video feed provided by the Senate Recording Studio, which according to C-SPAN will have a restricted view of the floor debates.

C-SPAN, the nonprofit service that carries federal government proceedings and provides them to cable and satellite operators, raised the issue in a Dec. 19 letter to McConnell.

“We believe, and hope you will agree, that the American public deserves a more comprehensive view of the Senate trial,” said the letter from C-SPAN President and Co-Chief Executive Susan Swain.

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ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News and CNN backed C-SPAN’s request in their own joint letter on Jan. 10, noting that the feed would be important for their coverage.

“C-SPAN has extensive expertise in covering all aspects of Congress and a commitment to the institution that makes them ideally suited to this task,” said the letter, which was obtained by The Times. “C-SPAN and the networks share resources to cover historic events such as this and we all believe that the cameras C-SPAN could provide for all our viewers would well serve the American viewing public and our democracy.”

Two representatives for the networks said McConnell’s office has yet to respond to the request.

The letters are part of growing push back by journalism organizations over the restrictions that are being put on coverage of the trial set to commence Tuesday.

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The Standing Committee of Correspondents, which represents credentialed journalists who work in the Senate and House press galleries in Washington, have already issued complaints on the limitations put on their coverage.

The access reporters and photographers have to Senate members will be restricted during the trial by the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police.

Only one video camera and no still photographers are being allowed to document the delivery of the House articles of impeachment to the Senate. There will be no audio recordings allowed as well.


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