- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2006

For up-to-the-minute results, news, and analysis, make WashingtonTimes.com your home for election night.

As the nation eagerly waits to learn which political party will be controlling the House and Senate next year, we can now identify with certainty millions and millions of winners in this hard-fought midterm election. Those winners are the people who have taken advantage of the incomparable election coverage provided by C-SPAN and its companion Web sites, including the recently launched CampaignNetwork.org, which is a collaborative effort of C-SPAN and Congressional Quarterly.

Just when you think that C-SPAN’s founder, chairman and CEO, Brian Lamb, and his peerless colleagues cannot possibly get any better at informing the American public (and the rest of the world) about our government and how it works, they soar to new heights.

The C-SPAN journey began in 1979, when the visionary Mr. Lamb succeeded in gaining permission to televise House proceedings. Through their relentless pursuit of excellence, Mr. Lamb and his colleagues methodically built a national institution. Given the bright light that C-SPAN shines on the American government and its democratic institutions today, it is now fair to say that the ever-wider-ranging C-SPAN organization has now become a national treasure.

But don’t take our word for it. Just spend a few minutes perusing the C-SPAN Web site, especially CampaignNetwork.org. After being televised on the C-SPAN networks, more than 150 candidate debates from the most competitive political races this year remained available on the C-SPAN Web sites, where they could be viewed at the leisure of any voter. Hundreds of political ads are also available.

There are countless other videos, including rallies, interviews, authors’ presentations, public-policy speeches, congressional hearings, think-tank conferences and C-SPAN programs, especially segments from its three-hour daily morning show, Washington Journal. Easily searchable archival material abounds throughout the C-SPAN.org universe, ranging from congressional roll call votes to real-time electoral dispatches from CQ and other sources to the mesmerizing audio tapes of the conversations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

After today’s elections, the powers-that-be and anybody else with an interest — it is, after all, “a free country,” as soon-to-be Chief Justice John Roberts repeatedly reminded senators and C-SPAN viewers during his confirmation hearings — will begin focusing with greater intensity on the selection of the 44th president of the United States. With its non-stop series “Road to the White House,” C-SPAN has already spent two years offering its viewers the speeches of likely candidates traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire and every place else where presidential votes can be harvested.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Lamb and his colleagues have not given us even a nanosecond to raise our expectations of C-SPAN’s role in the post-midterm-election world. To wit, last week C-SPAN announced that the Supreme Court affirmatively responded to C-SPAN’s request to provide audio tapes of tomorrow’s oral arguments before the court on the historic partial-birth-abortion cases (on C-SPAN Radio and C-SPAN.org beginning at 12:30 pm). Well-done, Mr. Lamb, well-done.

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