C-Span Should be Ashamed Of Itself
Forgive me for coming a little late to this party. Honestly, I needed to test my thoughts before posting what you see below.
Here's my bottom line: I have no problem with C-Span requesting that it be allowed to cover what is currently expected to be behind-closed-doors negotiations on health care reform. But C-Span made a huge mistake in releasing or leaking it's request or by not understanding that it was making the request in a way that was virtually guaranteed to be leaked by others. In doing so C-Span inserted itself in the political process and inappropriately and quite unfortunately became part of the story. You expect this from Fox; you recoil when it's done by a supposedly neutral observer like C-Span.
For anyone who has not paid attention to this story...on December 30, C-Span CEO Brian Lamb sent a letter to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner asking that "all important negotiations" on reconciling the House and Senate health care reform bills be open "to electronic media coverage." With Republicans effectively refusing to vote for the legislation no matter what, Reid and Pelosi essentially have agreed that House and Senate Democrats will work out the differences and come up with a compromise themselves. C-Span was saying that it wanted to cover the Democrat-to-Democrat discussions even though they were going to happen outside a formal conference committee.
The problem is that C-Span either made the request publicly or was so politically naive that it didn't realize the letter was virtually guaranteed to become public. The letter should have been sent just to Reid and Pelosi because they were the ones that would be arranging for the Democrat-to-Democrat discussions. Including McConnell and Boehner, who are playing no part in these discussions but who made it clear that they don't want a bill to be enacted, virtually guaranteed that the letter would go public and that the private health care discussions would become the big issue they have become (Look here and here for just two examples).
C-Span should have known better. It should have also known that making the request as openly as it did and creating the issue it created virtually guaranteed that the request wouldn't be granted.
In other words, the request was appropriate; the way the request was made was inept, naive, and harmful.
You have to ask what C-Span really wanted. If it was to bring attention to itself, it succeeded beyond it's dreams. If it was to enhance it's reputation, it's failed miserably and hurt its credibility in the process.