C-SPAN Founder Lamb Looks at Past & Future of Network at Economic Club

Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and famed journalist Brian Lamb began Wednesday’s Economic Club of Indiana presentation in Indianapolis by poking fun at the C-SPAN networks he created and runs. The audience rolled with laughter as Lamb played satirical journalist Jon Stewart’s commentary on the admittedly dry nature of C-SPAN’s 24-hour congressional coverage.

With all joking aside, Lamb, a Lafayette native and Purdue alum, used archived C-SPAN video to share a variety of Hoosier success stories. Lamb demonstrated the massive archives’ true value with his uncanny ability to connect incredible happenings with the often tiny details of their origin. Lamb recently made C-SPAN’s entire 30 years of video history free and available online in hopes that educators will start making similar connections for young minds.

Going where cameras have never gone before

C-SPAN is regularly credited with gaining unprecedented government access for all media outlets – increasing the public accountability of elected officials. Not all of this access has been welcome or easily won.

“Our whole effort is public meetings and you would be surprised how hard it is to get into public meetings,” Lamb explains.

Lamb described how resistance from congressional leadership has increased over the past couple of years, but stated his belief in the need for private meetings to occur.

The times they are a changin’

Lamb, well known for avoiding even the slightest hint of his personal political views, did comment on broad changes in political media and the increasingly argumentative tone.

“I think we’re probably better off when people are at each other’s throats and challenging each other on bills,” Lamb offered, adding, “The stronger the voices are, the better…”

Lamb spoke of the three networks that dominated news when he was growing up and how much government happened behind closed doors because of the lack of available coverage. He welcomes the advent of blogging and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

One aspect of media evolution that Lamb views as negative is the increasing impact of money on the trade – pointing to Walter Cronkite’s hiring of a talent agent in 1952 as the first link in this chain.

The next Economic Club event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4 and will feature Mark Miles, president of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership discussing economic development in Central Indiana. 

Learn more about the Economic Club of Indiana.

C-SPAN Founder: “I Love What’s Going On”

Our friend Gerry Dick at Inside INdiana Business recently interviewed Brian Lamb, Hoosier native and founder of C-SPAN, about the state of media today. He offers:

It’s painful for me personally to watch the newspapers in such trouble and some of the broadcasters and the radio people, but I love what’s going on. I love the fact that any person in this country that wants to create something in this medium can do it. They can start a web site for almost nothing; their voices can be heard. I think it’s unbelievably important and I’m for it.

To hear more of the interview, click here.

(Third) Party Time!

 So you’ve watched McCain and Obama do their thing, go head to head, man to man, "Joe the Plumber" reference to "Joe the Plumber" reference, and you’re still not sure you can endorse either gentleman with your vote? Well, the folks at Free & Equal are hosting a third-party debate (McCain and Obama are invited, but not expected to show) Sunday at 7 p.m., which will be recorded by C-SPAN and streamed at Third Party Ticket.

Just exactly who will be there is still murky, since certified letters have just gone out to all candidates, say event organizers. Ralph Nader, who is on the ballot in 45 states as an independent candidate, has indicated he will show up. Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress from Georgia and the Green Party candidate, will also be there, according to her website. Ms. McKinney is on the ballot in 30 states. Also invited is Chuck Baldwin, running on the Constitution Party ticket in 35 states.

Mr. Baldwin is perhaps the least known of the group. He’s an evangelical minister and hosts a conservative talk show in the Florida panhandle region. He also has gained the endorsement of Ron Paul, whose bid for the Republican nomination garnered a loyal and enthusiastic following.

The only question mark is Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. Mr. Barr has made it clear that he will only debate Mr. Nader and no one else.

No word yet if these candidates will be mandated to use the phrases "change" or "my friends" a designated number of times.

Note: According to the Elkhart Truth, Barr will be the only third-party candidate on the Indiana ballot, while Baldwin, McKinney and Nader are eligible write-in candidates.