An Open Letter to Brian Lamb, CEO of CSPAN

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Ben Cohen
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Last week CSPAN chose not to air the DVD speech Michael Savage, the conservative radio talk show host, sent in to the Talker's Magazine when the awarded him their Freedom of Speech award. CSPAN did not cover the speech because it was not delivered live and they only show live events. Since then Savage has had his listeners inundate CSPAN with calls and emails condemning CSPAN for not showing it and accusing them of left-wing bias. In addition, apparently Savage told his listeners that CSPAN is taxpayer funded, which is not true. In response I wrote a letter of support to Brian Lamb, the CEO of CSPAN, and a letter to Mr. Savage asking that he not try to make this network part ofo his political agenda. Both are posted in full below.

Letter to Brian Lamb, CEO of CSPAN

Dear Mr. Lamb,
Unlike so many of your recent emails, this one is in support of you and your network. What you do is a much needed and underutilized public service. It is the only source of original information about the workings of our government unless you read the Congressional Record. As a concerned citizen and aspiring commentator I find your programming invaluable when trying to understand specific policies or members of congress. In regards to the Michael Savage issue it is really too bad that he has decided that his recorded speech deserves to be treated like a live one and that he has sicked his attack dogs on you. It seems clear that what was done in this instance is consistent with your general programming policies. It saddens me to see this man try and paint you as part of some great liberal media conspiracy when in fact you are simply applying the same rules to everyone across the board. Of all the channels on TV, yours is the best exemplar of the true values of this nation: consistent, reliable, honest, fair, and most importantly, always working to advance the cause of democracy (not Democrats) and the commonwealth of this nation. You should be immensely proud of what you have accomplished these last 30 years and know that those of us who take seriously this nation and its democratic process cannot measure the value you have added to our society.Thank you and please don't change a thing.

Sincerely,
Ari Rutenberg

Letter to Michael Savage

Dear Mr. Savage,
My name is Ari Rutenberg and I am writing to ask that you stop sending people after CSPAN. Though I do not agree with you politically, I believe you have a right speak your mind at all times under any circumstances. But your right to do so does not mean it must be covered by CSPAN or any other network. The fact is that you sent a dvd of your speech to be played before the audience. CSPAN only covers live events. So it is consistent with their normal policies not to show a taped speech. Indeed when CSPAN won that same award a few years ago they did not cover the event. Please do not make this network part of your political agenda. They have no political agenda, they only attempt to give the average American a window on the true operations of our government which is a valuable service for all Americans who want to participate in the political process. In addition, please do not continue to tell you listeners that CSPAN is taxpayer funded. It is not. It is funded by the cable and satellite operators using a small fee that every subscriber pays, about 5 cents a month per person. Again let me reiterate both my political disagreement with you, and my belief that you have right to say anything you want whether I like it or not. Please stop the assault on CSPAN before it really becomes damaged. The fact that you feel that you have been personally slighted by them is not a justification for the damage this could do to our democracy. Sir, if you truly love this country you will stop trying to make political targets out of those engaged in honest business and again focus your efforts in places where you can make a difference for the good of the commonwealth.

Sincerely,
Ari Rutenberg