Last June, in an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to force a vote on gun control legislation, Democratic members of the House of Representatives staged a sit-in on the House floor. Speaker Paul Ryan responded swiftly – by ordering C-SPAN’s dedicated House camera shut off, forcing Dem reps to live-broadcast the sit-in via Facebook Live and Periscope. Their efforts couldn’t force legislation on gun control, but don’t worry; the House is willing to take up the larger and more dangerous issue of those damn live streams.
Variety reports that freshly proposed House rules would fine members for broadcasting audio or video, or publishing photos, from the floor. The cost: $500 for the first offense, and $2500 for each subsequent infraction. (And you guessed it, it’s House Republicans pushing for these penalties.)
“These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work,” insisted Ryan’s spokeswoman Ashlee Strong, and she’s probably right; as we head into what looks like the most authoritarian administration in recent memory, with a disturbing habit of Orwellian reverse-speech and outright falsehoods coming from the mouth (and iPhone) of our new Supreme Leader, it’s in no way distressing to discover severe penalties for those attempting to share the people’s business with the people when Mr. Ryan decides to flip the off-switch. No siree, please disperse, nothing to see here.