This morning, House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun control. Almost immediately after, the cameras and microphones of C-SPAN — which typically broadcasts the action happening on the Senate and House floors — went off. But the network found a workaround: Periscope.
After viewers noticed that C-SPAN’s cameras went off, the network was quick to deflect blame:
C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 22, 2016
As it turns out, the network doesn’t control what its cameras and microphones do — that’s the job of the House. As USA Today explains, the policy is such that the broadcast only runs while the House is in session. When Democrats refused to stop their protest, Rep. Ted Poe, (R-TX), who was presiding over the chamber, declared the House in recess — hence the camera shutdown.
Not to be deterred, however, C-SPAN began using what appears to be the Periscope feed of Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who had been broadcasting the sit-in from his own account.
— Scott Peters (@ScottPetersSD) June 22, 2016
When people tuned into C-SPAN, they saw vertical video of various speakers addressing the assembled group.
Periscope itself created a channel for users to watch what was happening:
It’s unclear whether or not this is the first documented instance of C-SPAN using Periscope on live TV, but we’ve reached out to clarify.