In the News
December 26, 2016
The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board
Republicans have gotten on the media bandwagon when it comes to knocking the Obama administration for its hostility to open government. On the GOP’s website, topping the list of the president’s 10 biggest “broken promises” is his vow to run the most transparent administration in history.
But now House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to punish members with fines starting at $500 for live broadcasting or posting photos from the House floor, with the money directly deducted from paychecks. This is in response to what happened in June, when House Democrats, including San Diego Rep. Scott Peters, live-streamed from the House floor their sit-in protest over House Republicans’ refusal to vote on gun-control legislation.
Ryan’s proposal can’t be squared with claims to support open government. In a statement emailed to a Union-Tribune editorial writer, Peters called the plan “pretty outrageous.” He is right. Body cameras are used to promote trust in police officers. In an era in which many Americans believe government is rigged against them, blocking live-streaming from the House floor would have the reverse effect. Here’s hoping the speaker figures this out.