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August 04, 2008

BYPASSING THE GATEKEEPERS in Congress:

When Congress adjourns, so do C-Span’s live broadcasts because the sole cameras that record the sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by the members of Congress. On Friday, when several dozen Republicans decided to stay on the House floor and discuss energy legislation after the House adjourned for a five-week summer recess, the cameras and microphones were turned off. So the first source of video was a congressman who streamed live pictures to the Internet using his cellphone camera.

Representative John Culberson, a Texas Republican and an avid user of the messaging site Twitter, acted as a citizen journalist covering the proceedings, albeit one with clear partisan intentions.

“Pelosi just turned out the lights,” Mr. Culberson wrote on Twitter, referring to the decision by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to adjourn the House. As Republican members came to the floor to make speeches, Mr. Culberson, who called the event a “pep rally,” and Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, posted frequent updates on Twitter.

Mr. Culberson took it a step further, using his Nokia 95 cellphone to film fellow members speaking about the event.

Can't stop the signal.

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