Controversy Over Video Record Of Legislature

Video coverage of the Idaho legislature, who can record the action, who owns the recording, and preserving the record–often punctuated with jokes and banter–is shaping up as a big issue at the legislature.

Idaho Public Television records all the floor action by the politicos, but they have a deal that calls for the recordings to be deleted after five days.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation, with a reputation for conservative causes has taken it upon itself to preserve those video recordings in perpetuity at its own expense. And that creates the rub.

The legacy media created the “Capitol Correspondents Association” made up of reporters known to many Idahoans–names like Dan Popkey, Betsy Russell,and Greg Hahn. These journalists are often seen on IPTV and are renowned for their coverage and knowledge of the legislature.

The legislature passed a law years ago naming the Capitol Correspendents as the credentialing agency for the sessions, empowering the group to determine who gets press passes–in the form of colored name tags which allow members access to the floor of the house and senate. They have repeatedly refused access to the Idaho Freedom Foundation “reporters,” including exec director Wayne Hoffman, a former reporter who has become a lobbyist opposing the state health exchange and favoring the Luna education reforms among other causes.

Hoffman’s people created their own name tags, angered the Correspondents, and now claim they are doing God’s work preserving the actions of lawmakers on video.

It looks like leaders of both the house and senate don’t trust Hoffman to be the only archivist. They both favor an “official record” to guard against inappropriate or manipulated use of the video for political campaigns, noting recordings were used during the past campaign.

In this age of government transparency, Hoffman’s cause sounds noble.
However, he will need to overcome the “convervative advocate” label and the fear of him holding the only copy of what was said and done at the legislature.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. There’s kinda more to it than that.

    First of all, we’re conflating two issues here (and Dan Popkey did the same thing in his story) — the credentialing aspect, and the archiving of the Legislature video archives.I actually agree that the videos should be archived. What concerns me about the way the IFF is doing it is that by not getting the legislators’ buy-in, we run the risk of them stopping videotaping altogether, and that would be a loss.

    And, I agree with legislators who are concerned about what use the IFF might make of the videos; they praise the work of Breitbart, for example, who got famous by selectively editing videos and then releasing the results to the media.

    The credentialing thing is a separate issue, and I speak as a person who has been credentialed in past years (and could be again, if I ever made it to the Statehouse where it could be worthwhile). Employees of lobbying organizations don’t get credentialed. It has nothing to do with viewpoint, accuracy, or anything else. The Farm Bureau and the IEA, for example, also have writers, and they also don’t get credentialed. If that rule were relaxed for one organization, then every lobbying organization could have “reporters” and legislators wouldn’t know who the real reporters are.

    Nothing stops the IFF, or anyone else, from reporting on the Legislature. I’ve done it myself without being a member of the Capitol Correspondents. It means you have to wear a badge identifying yourself as press so the legislators know who you are, it means you get access to the press room in the basement (where people on deadline for daily papers have a place to plug in their laptops and hang their coats, basically), and you get to sit at the press table in the chambers nearer to the action. That’s it.

  2. Incidentally, so far as I know, the Boise Guardian could be a member of the Capitol Correspondents, too, and get press access, and you could see for yourself what’s involved with it. I was a member through my free monthly column for the Kuna Melba News.

  3. If the Freedom Fdn. is “doing God’s work”, why is Idaho so low among all the states on a variety of important mesures, such as education? health? diabetes? obesity? on and on?

  4. Wayne Hoffman is a bomb thrower, not a legitimate reporter. Legislature is wise to make sure these videos are archived properly allowing for public access.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Jan 21, 2013, 11:52 am

    Hoffman is a lobbyist and should not get a press pass. That is not hard to understand.

    If Hoffman wants to keep the video records at the expense of his lobby group, then let him. If the legislature wants a “record” copy then they have to do it themselves or find someone they trust (obviously not Hoffman or the idaho Freedom Foundation).

  6. I can’t imagine why the legislature would not want IPTV to keep an archive of the legislature and all that goes on with a video record. The written word never does convey the passion and inuendo that a video record would preserve for the ages.

    I rely on IDAHO REPORTS on public TV to fill me in on what goes on in the legislature. It is a very good summary and analysis for Idaho taxpayers. This program along with what is captured via IPTV should be part of the archives of the legislative process unless someone has a better idea.

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