C-SPAN bus comes to Mason to spread presidential election awareness

(Photo credit: Alya Nowilaty/Fourth Estate)

This past Monday, C-SPAN’s election coverage bus stopped by Mason to spread awareness about the presidential election and the upcoming presidential primaries.

After parking in the circle in front of the De Laski Performing Arts Building, the bus opened its doors to students to share information about the election. Volunteers let students explore the inside of the bus and mill around tables set up outside the vehicle.

Julia Glasscott, a C-SPAN intern traveling with the bus, handed out free items, such as pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, and gave students a tour of the inside of the bus. Along with discussing other features, Glasscott showed students laptops inside the bus, which she explained were each pulled up to different part of C-SPAN’s website devoted to specific candidates. Glasscott also showed students the lighting and video systems in the back of the vehicle, which are used to film candidate interviews.

After showing off the many features of the vehicle, Glasscott shared some important information about the network itself. Glasscott said that C-SPAN — which stands for the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network — is different from other networks because of its unbiased approach. She explained that she considers C-SPAN to be an information resource and not a news outlet.

“We are a non-profit that is funded entirely by about six cents out of your cable bill,” Glasscott said. “We archive hundreds of hours of video from the House and Senate floor, as well as other sources, and present it to the public without editing it or adding politicized commentary.”

Glasscott said this gives viewers the ability to make their own decisions based on the facts and without a partisan tilt.

Sophomore Erik Escobar supported Glasscott’s view when asked why he liked C-SPAN. “I like C-SPAN because it is very impartial. You hear everything straight from the horse’s mouth,” Escobar said.

Escobar explained that C-SPAN is especially valuable to him now as the primary (held this past Tuesday) would be his first time voting. Another benefit of C-SPAN that Escobar mentioned was the fact that he can both watch it on television and listen to content on C-SPAN’s radio station.

Glasscott, too, emphasized convenience as one of C-SPAN’s main focuses. She said that with three television channels, a radio station, a website with hours of video archives and a strong social media presence, C-SPAN makes it easy for students and the rest of the world to access information.

Glasscott said that the goal of the bus stopping at college campuses is to spread awareness about both C-SPAN itself and the government it covers.

In elections where candidates make many pledges, promises and claims, it is helpful to have unedited records and resources to ensure that what candidates say on the House or Senate floor matches what they say on the campaign trail.