Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Censorship on the House Floor: Why Rep. John Culberson Is Banned From Using Twitter

Having fixed the economy and stopped the war, Congress is now turning its attention to censoring itself on Twitter and other social media websites. Yet another item to add to the "Aren't There More Pressing Matters to Deal With?" File.

For several months, I've followed the inside viewpoint of Texas Congressman John Culberson (R) via Twitter as he offered a unique insight into the world of Washington politics. Using a variety of social media outlets, but most notably through Twitter and the occasional live video stream via Qik, he has opened the doors to the House of Representatives in a very new and authentic way, at times even streaming live from the House floor, answering questions from constituents, and explaining the process like a modern-day Jefferson Smith.

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Massachusetts Representative Michael Capuano (D), who is Chairman of the "Congressional Commission on Mailing Standards" introduced a letter to attempt to shut down the use of any third party social media outlets by Congressmen without first gaining Committee approval each time. His claim is that any usage that is outside of the domain needs to belong to an official "channel" within that site and thus, make it a unified "official" voice from the House each time video is posted.

Rep. Capuano states, "I believe that these conditions will help ensure that the House presence on such external sites conforms with acceptable standards that reflect favorably on the dignity, propriety, and decorum of the House."

That means, before every time Rep. Culberson could answer a question or voice an opinion, he would be forced to take it to a House Sub-Committee to make sure it was the acceptable response.

This is exactly the sort of governmental control that is blatantly disastrous to a legitimate democracy, and should be seen as a complete act of censorship, regardless of your political affinity (if anyone has one anymore). If there is ANYWHERE in the world that we, as American citizens, have the right to see inside the doors and gather the information we choose to make our own decisions, it is inside of OUR House and Senate.

As our government reconsiders the accessibility of our representatives, please visit Let Our Congress Tweet or follow the updates on Twitter.

A Qik interview with Rep. Culberson. Qik utilizes mobile phone cameras, so the quality isn't exactly HD.

1 comment:


Speak truth to power, Mr. Maxson. You are a champion of liberty and all-around patriot. Let freedom ring. Ok, now I'm off to Canada. If they let me back in, let's do some freedom fighting.