A group of Democrat Representatives ended their overnight “sit in” on the floor of the lower chamber without achieving their goal of forcing the House of Representatives to take up new gun control legislation. But as they congratulated themselves, they also had some praise and “thank yous” for reporters giving free advertising for their anti-gun stunt.
On Wednesday, Breitbart News reported the sit-in was spearheaded by Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and was aimed at forcing the House to take up anti-Second Amendment measures favored by Democrats.
The stunt carried over into the night of June 22 and then into the next morning, but with the Republicans holding the majority in the House, they were in control of the microphones and TV cameras. As it happens, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WS) exercised his power over the cameras and shut them off overnight, forcing the protesting Democrats to rely on the live-stream app Periscope to continue to broadcast their media performance.
By Thursday afternoon, though, the Democrat minority had tired of the anti-gun stunt and decided to end the sit in.
Along with that ending came congratulatory speeches all around, with one delivered by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) whose remarks were again broadcast by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) on Periscope.
With his remarks, Clyburn not only thanked the Democrats who joined in on the sit in stunt, but he also gave a hearty thanks to the media for being complicit with the show.
To his colleagues’ applause, Clyburn said, “Let me begin my remarks by thankin’ the media,” as he gestured to the upper gallery where members of the media sit.
“Today stands out as a great example of what we mean when we talk about a free press and why we need one,” the South Carolinian sonorously intoned. “We have some people aspiring now to even shut that down. But thanks to them [he then pointed again to the media gallery] the American people got to look in on and listen to what has taken place on this floor. The mics were cut off. The cameras were cut off.”
As he finished his thanks to the media, his Democrat peers again broke out in raucous applause. Rep. Scott Peters yelled out, “Periscope, man.”
Clyburn went on to call the sit in a “good, productive sermon” on gun control.
Even as the Democrats complained that the GOP leadership cut off their mics and cameras, in the past, the party blocked attempts by cable news network CSPAN to put their own, independently controlled TV cameras in the House.
In 2007, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) denied CSPAN’s request to put its own cameras on the House floor because she wanted to be able to shut the devices down to prevent Republicans from getting their message out.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com