October 18, 2012
Capitol TV: End the Puffy Filler and Get Back to Basics
In today's GoLocalProv, RISC's Harriet Lloyd concurs with the reservations of Common Cause's John Marion about an election loophole exploited by Capitol TV, resulting in the taxpayer funded promotion of incumbent legislators - strangely, all Democrat ones.
Just last week, Capitol TV ran “interviews” in which the legislature’s $70,687-ayear inhouse TV host, Dave Barber, gave three incumbents facing challengers in the Nov. 6 election the opportunity to talk about what they see as their biggest accomplishments and disappointments. ...
... other featured guests on Barber’s recently aired shows include: Representatives John Carne-vale, Arthur Handy, Joy Hearn, Raymond Hull, Cale Keable, Deborah Ruggiero, Agostinho Silva, Scott Slater and Donna Walsh.
Under Harriet's op-ed, commenter Edith points to a video called "Catholic Schools Day at the State House". I clicked on it. It is a production of Capitol TV. It is very nice. I appreciate that it is respectful of Catholicism, which seems an increasingly rare approach to Christianity across the media spectrum.
Nevertheless, whether it be "Catholic Schools Day" or Capitol TV coverage of hypothesized "French Canadian" or "Gadsden Flag" days, such productions are completely superfluous to the purpose of Capitol TV, which is to cover the General Assembly while it is in session. Any such productions, along with puff interviews of incumbents of any stripe, strongly reek of filler material to justify a full time television budget which covers only a part time legislature.
While we're at it, this would be a good time to ask: why doesn't Capitol TV stream its coverage of the General Assembly live on the internet? Why must voters and taxpayers pay for cable service in order to watch their state legislature in action? East Providence, for example, not particularly known to be the Redmond of Rhode Island, has been live streaming their council meetings online for years.
And forget about attempting to bring about equal time for Capitol TV legislator interviews. There will never be an end: after Republican incumbents get into the Capitol TV interview rotation, challengers on both sides will understandably want in.
Reduce the expense of Capitol TV by cutting altogether the puffy interviews and the nice but irrelevant productions. Set up the live internet streaming of Capitol TV, certainly a "basic" in this golden age of the internet. It's time for Capitol TV get back to basics.