Wednesday is going to be a day for the history books. And with COVID-19 restrictions in place, the best way for most of us to bear witness to it will be on our screens.
But what screens and what channels? Events both in the halls of Congress and on the streets of Washington will be highly partisan in nature, with violent clashes a possibility on the streets.
If you are sick of partisan coverage, as so many say they are even as they watch increasingly partisan channels like One American News Network and Newsmax, follow the congressional proceedings on the C-SPAN platforms. Those who insist that media are biased clearly have not been tuning into C-SPAN lately. They also don’t have any sense of how vast an array of outlets the word “media” encompasses.
C-SPAN will offer live coverage Wednesday of the Joint Session of Congress for Counting of Electoral College Ballots beginning at 1 p.m. on C-SPAN, C-SPAN Radio and C-SPAN.org, according to its press office. Live coverage of the House and Senate sessions that start at noon will also be offered on the C-SPAN and C-SPAN2 television channels.
Watching such coverage on C-SPAN can feel a bit like watching a Frederick Wiseman documentary in that you have to make your own sense of what you are seeing, but I think we could use more of that in our media. No interruptions, no commercials, no analysts telling you what to think.
But that’s only within the halls of Congress. For coverage of the streets, I strongly recommend CNN and MSNBC. CNN because it has the largest news operation, and MSNBC because it has NBC News resources, as well as its own for events like this.
President Trump, who has been using social media to invite protesters to Washington to rally against the election results, said on Twitter Tuesday that he will be speaking at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Ellipse. According to a robocall I received Tuesday night inviting me to join the protests, rallygoers will meet in the morning near the White House, listen to the president at 11 a.m. and march over to Congress at 1 p.m. for the start of the ballot count and the expected Republican challenges to Mr. Biden’s victory in three battleground states.
If you are going to stream anything, I would again recommend CNN, but if the Washington Post is streaming, include that in your viewing by all means. The Post website Tuesday night had the best coverage I saw anywhere of Tuesday’s rallies.
There are innumerable storylines to follow. The last gasp of a failed president? The greatest threat to democracy since the Civil War? The ultimate triumph of democracy? The debasement of the Senate? The death of the Republican Party?
Of course, you can see it on video all over social media later. But don’t you want to try to see history as it actually happens in real time rather than an edited version later?
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David Zurawik is The Sun’s media critic. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @davidzurawik.