Pelosi Responds to C-SPAN Bid for Transparent House Coverage: ‘Don’t Think It Should Be Used as a Tool Against Members’ (Video)

The former House speaker said she’s pro-transparency, but doesn’t “want it to curb the inter-party action that might happen on the floor”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she has “no objection to transparency” following C-SPAN’s request to provide more access to cover proceedings on the floor. But CNN host Chris Wallace pointed out that she didn’t allow the access the cable network is calling for when she was speaker.

“I think it’s supposed to be about following the procedure, the debate in the Congress. If there’s more opportunity for that, fine,” she replied. “But I don’t think it should be used as a tool against members. ‘I saw you talking to so and so on the floor and they said that’ – that shouldn’t be the case.” 

C-SPAN’s request, which was sent in a letter to new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, proposes that a “few additional cameras” be installed in the House chamber that would be mixed with the existing House production to create “a second, journalistic product.” In the proposed plan, the audio would continue to be provided by the House Recording Studio and C-SPAN would not install additional audio systems.  

The request follow’s C-SPAN’s coverage of the House speaker election earlier this month, which involved multiple days of negotiations and 15 rounds of voting for McCarthy to secure the speakership.

During that process, C-SPAN was able to show moments including a near-brawl between McCarthy and Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green’s phone call with former president Donald Trump on the House floor and Rep. Katie Porter reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F—.”

The House speaker election is one of the rare occasions when the House allows outside cameras into its chambers, along with State of the Union addresses, ceremonial joint sessions of Congress and other special events, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s recent speech. The media policy for such occasions is dictated by the House speaker and has remained relatively unchanged.

When C-SPAN or other media outlets do not have camera access during these special circumstances, the government operates a production which C-SPAN and other outlets use during news broadcasts that is only allowed to show the person who was speaking and wide shots, accounting for the typical bird’s-eye view or tight shots of single speakers one might see on cable news.

While Pelosi believes the House speaker election was a “sad day for the institution,” she called C-SPAN’s wall-to-wall coverage “remarkable,” noting that there were “no rules” during the process.

“Sometimes they said terrible things on the Republican side, but we couldn’t challenge it because there were no rules in the House,” she said.

She argued that the argument between McCarthy and Gaetz did “not bring dignity to the House of Representatives.”

Wallace then questioned if Pelosi didn’t want to air what’s happening in the aisles on the House floor, to which she replied that it “depends on what it is.”

“I don’t want it to curb the inter-party action that might happen on the floor that might be positive,” she said. “But by and large, my view is the more transparency, the better.”

Watch Pelosi’s full interview in the video above.

TheWrap’s Loree Seitz contributed to this report