If you wonder why the media makes such a big deal about transparency, look no further than the Senate impeachment hearings for your answer.
In setting the ground rules for the hearings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell severely limited access to the media. Reporters and photographers have been relegated to what’s being called “a pen” outside of Senate chambers, where an in-house broadcast system controls what the media sees — and doesn’t see.
So what’s the big deal? The cameras are trained on those speaking at the podium, so the media is still hearing the most important things. Right?
Don’t be so naïve.
Fortunately, sketch artists were still allowed inside the hearing, and what they saw answers that question. The artists noticed Sen. James Risch falling “sound asleep” during testimony. Risch is a Republican from Idaho and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He wasn’t the only one dosing off. Others looking in desperate need of a My Pillow included Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar
It’s really not funny, and please, no jokes about our country being in better shape when lawmakers sleep (Yes, we know it’s one of the few times they cannot screw something up.)
It is too late for Mitch’s mess to be changed. He set the rules and shame on the media and others for not making a bigger fuss earlier. In the future, we must demand more from our government. After all, the last we looked, those in the swamp work for us, not we for them. It should be bothersome when the door to any government hearing is slammed shut. We need sunshine inside, not people who operate in darkness.
Reporters and photographers represent the eyes and ears of the public. To hold the impeachment hearing without their representation inside the Senate chambers is akin to telling Americans to take a nap and trust when they wake up everything will be fine.
After all, isn’t that what some of our senators are doing? Whoops. We weren’t supposed to see that, were we Mitch.