Breaking Speaker Pelosi's News Blackout
New technologies broke a news blackout attempted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Friday afternoon, 8/1/08, starting at 11:30 am (Eastern) Real Time News was the only window to a major event in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party controlled-House had just voted to adjourn for a 5-week vacation without voting, or even engaging in debate, on solutions to America's energy crisis. As the Democrats went out to their gasoline-powered cars to drive to the airport to board jet fuel-powered aircraft, the House Republicans stayed on to present their All of the Above Energy Plan. Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi removing the press from the gallery, and having lights, microphones and C-Span cameras turned off, media coverage continued, against House rules, entirely via Twitter and Qik live cell-phone video.
Thanks to Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) there was one small camera recording the events. Twitter messages alerted America to the historic events. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) named the event "The New Boston Tea Party", but that was quickly changed to "The Boston Tweet Party" by the new, tech real-time media. Messages flew across the country to anyone wanting to participate, as Culberson led the Real Time Media charge sending out live messages from the House floor:
- "Liberal House leadership shutting down the House"
- "Pelosi won't let us vote to open up oil fields in America bcz House would vote to drill here and drill now"
- "Pelosi has turned off the TV cameras and microphones to try to silence demand of maj of Americans to drill here drill now"
- Rep. Mike Pence (R-IND) - "We are fighting to give the American people a vote on drilling for more oil!"
- "Cong Ted Poe (R-TX) now speaking - just give us a vote to drill here drill now."
- "Now, Cong Tom Price of Georgia - congress has gone on vacation while America is suffering w high gas prices."
- "[I] Am Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois. We need American Energy and American Jobs. We are fighting for a vote on supply."
Culberson then reports the events as they occur:
- "We are speaking without microphones - as though it were 1908 - acoustics of House chamber are good and gallery you can hear us."
- "Minority Whip Roy Blunt reading editorials from across America insisting that Speaker Pelosi let Congress vote to solve energy crisis now."
- "I am Qikking live now" - sign on at qik.com/johnculberson (This message means that those following on Twitter, can immediately see live video and make comments or ask questions in real time; or view later.)
- "Just talked to some tourists who got caught up in the action. 'This was way better than the White House,' says one."
- Bluey also reports on his personal blog: "All the while, staffers from all over Capitol Hill, including a few of my Heritage colleagues, dropped by to check out what was happening. Members were mingling with constituents, and the House floor, a place usually so formal, was transformed into a convention hall with rousing speeches and even a rendition of 'God Bless America.'"
The need for sunlight on the floor of Congress was also exhibited by this message from Bluey upon meeting a stray reporter in the hallway:
- "First question comes from some liberal reporter who attacks Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Figures."
This is a classic example of how the MSM has controlled the message and the debate. This unnamed reporter, while witnessing ground-breaking news, is not interested in the actual events unfolding before his eyes, but rather in how to change the issue and debate of that event in order to present a freshly spun and sanitized message to the public. But reporters like him are no longer in control of the message or the debate. What we are witnessing is a true (r)epublican revolution in which individuals can become their own newsgathers. Technology has given us a clear view of Congress as much as Newt Gingrinch used the C-Span cameras for special order speeches to speak directly to the viewing public to explain Democrat scandals like those involving the House Bank and Post Office. What the public is learning now is once again making us very angry with the Democratic Party Leadership and its members of Congress.
For weeks before this adjournment, Congress voted on the naming of Post Offices, proclaimed The Year of Astronomy 2009, and outlawed already outlawed lead in children's toys. Congress also stealthily passed a multi-trillion $ porked-up bailout for the mortgage industry. Speaker Pelosi kept any motion to debate drilling for oil and gas from not only being debated on the House Floor; she did not allow any such debate to take place within Committees. She was busy letting the clock run out on any opportunity to debate solutions to the energy crisis before this 5-week adjournment. Her plan to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserves sometime before the upcoming election was obviously her assumed ticket to a Democratic Party rout of Republicans that would return complete political control of The United States to the Democratic Party forever. She might have succeeded with the plan, if not for New Media technology.
- Sean Hackbarth - "This House story is interesting on so many levels: political and technological. #dontgo" (the "#" allows for all messages sent during a particular conversation to be collected at one site )
- John Culberson - "Here is a powerful use of social media - when they turn off the mike we can still communicate."
- Robert Bluey published his - illegal photos of the event.
- John Culberson - "Twitter posts have been a big part of driving this important news story"
- John Culberson - "Thanks to everyone @ Twitter/Qik today:America got a glimpse of the future. We demonstrated the power of a real time network of free people."
- Patrick Ruffini - "Social media is the only media that is allowing us to witness what is going on in the House. No wonder Pelosi wanted to shut it down."
And there were even some jokesters in the mix having fun at Speaker Pelosi's expense. One was twittering as "Speaker Pelosi" with such gems as:
- "I don't want people eating cake (trans fats are illegal in CA!!!). How about just...put a sail on the top of your car? #dontgo" (This was in reply to a Twitter accusing Speaker Pelosi of certain Marie Antoinette qualities).
- "Yikes! House GOP on Qik too! I need to CLOSE THAT ONE DOWN NEXT" [Referring to John Culberson's Qik video]
- Or this video of private citizen, and prankster, David All leaving a message on Speaker Pelosi's private voice mail. [Wonder if she will call David back?]
This is the power of RealTime news and why it must be sanctioned by House Rules to ensure transparency in government. If not for social media outlets like Twitter and Qik this event might taken place; but with no media coverage, no one would have ever known.