House Republicans start a video blog.

Virginia House Republicans have admitted that their arguments against releasing video of the chambers’ proceedings are total bullshit. How else to interpret their new video blog? The party has consistently argued that broadcasting House sessions would lead to grandstanding, video being taken out of context, and “a culture of viciousness that…infecting these halls,” in the words of now-retired Del. Vince Callahan (R-Fairfax). And so they’ve shut down every effort made over the years to allow Virginians see what they’re up to.

Rather than allow all video to be provided to the public, they’re simply excerpting the bits that present Republicans in the best light and Democrats in the worst light. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a political party opposing another political party. That’s their job. No, it’s the rank hypocrisy displayed here that makes this notable.

The House Republicans’ blog is far more strident than the House Democrats’ blog. While the Democrats simply provide a few words of context and let the video speak for itself, nearly every blog entry on the the Republicans’ site levels a personal attack at a specific legislator, with accusations made in all caps with double exclamation points, the unnamed blog author describing his own claimed outrage in the first person.

Not only have House Republicans done precisely the thing that they’ve repeatedly voted against doing, but they’ve done so in a way that worsens the very thing they claimed to fear. Here’s hoping that a political reporter will look for an explanation from Del. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem). I’ll be fascinated to see how he justifies this.

3 thoughts on “House Republicans start a video blog.”

  1. I seem to remember a specific video of DPVA’s Assembly Access that put Del. Jeff Frederick to the tune of the “Pink Panther” theme song….

    Hypocrisy? Perhaps. I’m not so sure that charge can be leveled so seriously today, when last year the Dems were asked to cut it out and point blank refused.

    Welcome to gotcha politicking.

    In an era where snips can be taken out of context, morphed into truth by outfits like MoveOn and Media Matters, and used as citations in political adverts (i.e. Republicans voting against body armor for troops on Motions to Recommit), glanced over by television advertising departments who merrily cash the checks… this is the brave new world we live in.

    I could go on… but I’d be ranting at that point.

  2. I seem to remember a specific video of DPVA’s Assembly Access that put Del. Jeff Frederick to the tune of the “Pink Panther” theme song….

    That’s a fair thing to mention. For those not familiar, Shaun’s referring to this video. Del. Frederick was trying to block the DPVA’s camera, in order to prevent them from recording a committee meeting. In response, the DPVA showed the video, playing Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme” in the background.

    But I think there are a couple points of rebuttal worth making. The first is that the Frederick video is the sole instance (that I recall or can locate now) of the DPVA airing anything other than a straight-up video. The second is that the video is certainly humorous, but it’s not in any way insulting. The closest that the DPVA got to impugning Frederick’s character is saying that he “decided he’d rather play with our camera than participate in the debate,” which is factually accurate, but probably not helpful. So the differences are of both degree and kind: the DPVA only once showed anything other than straight video, and what they showed wasn’t insulting, though surely goofy.

    Compare that to House Republicans’ blog, which calls on Del. Jim Scott to apologize for a fairly routine comment. It likewise declares that Sen. Saslaw “Trashes 75% of Virginia!,” accusing him of a “quick-to-judge attitude and [making] narrow-minded comments,” saying that “he has embarrassed the entire Commonwealth.” And its author accuses Del. Nicholas of “Insulting Virginia’s Senior Citizens” for favoring a mandatory judicial retirement age, claiming that he “has no use for…people…once they hit sixty.”

    This young blog already has a half dozen examples of taking small comments, presenting them out of context, and hyperbolically declaring them to be egregious sins. This sort of rhetoric does not present House Republicans in a positive light.

    Hypocrisy? Perhaps. I’m not so sure that charge can be leveled so seriously today, when last year the Dems were asked to cut it out and point blank refused.

    Actually, the hypocrisy that I refer to is House Republicans simultaneously opposing providing video of floor sessions and using video of floor sessions towards their own political ends. That, in my mind, is the real sin here. As I wrote, I can’t pretend to be surprised that Republicans are opposing Democrats.

  3. I’ve always said “Republican’s don’t like blogs because they can’t control the message.” But I’m not really surprised that they are trying to (still).

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