The California Channel is a public service funded entirely by California’s cable television operators as a means to provide Californians direct access to “gavel-to-gavel" proceedings of the California Legislature, and other forums where public policy is discussed, debated, and decided – all without editing, commentary, or analysis and with a balanced presentation of viewpoints.
The network does not receive any state funding.
Since assuming governance responsibility of the network in 1993, California’s cable television operators have contributed over $23.5 million to cover operational expenses of the network in addition to their own expense of providing carriage of the channel over their systems.
"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.And a people who mean
to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power
knowledge gives." -James Madison
Today many debate the effects of television. In fact, some argue that television has actually
led to the decline of Americas interest in politics.
In the beginning television was hailed as a marvel that would bring Americans closer to their government. But it never happened that way - mainly because radio and television found that in order to attract viewership they had to move things quickly. Now your typical television news story on state government lasts less than 60 seconds - that is if they run any story at all.
Many political pundits blame inadequate media coverage of government for undermining the quality of representative democracy and contributing to the extreme level of ignorance on the part of the citizenry. Many believe that constituents have become isolated from legislators and other government officials. Many are ill-prepared to understand and act upon the problems facing government.
Yet, there can be a difference in your television!
First there was C-SPAN, created by the cable television industry to cover the proceedings of the nations Congress. Now, two decades years later, many are convinced that this national public service represents power and truth. In fact, many Americans view C-SPAN as a national treasure. Building upon the success of that venture, Californias cable television industry is now investing heavily in The California Channel as a means of bringing civic understanding and balance to state policy questions.
The California Channel, like its model C-SPAN, is powerfully simple because of its unselfish display of completely unedited, unbiased legislative news. So many people complain about the news media distorting reality to the right or the left, misusing sound bites and shaping quotes and content to their advantage. If you really want truth in government, then stop consuming the talk-show/tabloid television spin and settle in with the stoic California Channel.
The glory of The California Channel is what you see - a focused camera, simply watching as the inevitable political theater happens. The camera does not blink, so no one edits what you see. Nobody talks over the proceedings to tell you what to think, they let the electeds do the talking - sometimes to the amazement of their constituents. The California Channel simply watches: whether it is the Governor addressing a crisis confronting Californians, or some member of the legislature talking about the long-term effects of industrial deregulation.
The California Channel is a basic journalistic concept - the television camera serving as the eyes and ears of a private California citizen. The network gives each viewer a front-row seat to state policy debates. The network's most important task remains their original one - daily gavel-to-gavel coverage of California legislative debates in the hopes of educating a new generation of civic leaders and voting citizens.
The longer you watch The California Channel the more you see that time is the key to everything. Time makes it possible to deal with issues, whether highly emotional or extremely complex, that seem beyond the grasp of traditional TV news. When you hear an ultra-conservative Republican Caucasian Assembly- member from northern rural California passionately voice the plight of the African-American male in today's society you realize that such a thing could never be captured on another network. Time creates the potential for boredom, of course, but also for something that has been virtually banished from television: spontaneity.
The California Channel is the people's television. The California Channel asks only for your time and involvement. You won't have to endure pledge drives, nor blatant appeals to donate your hard-earned funds to perpetuate the programs - because Californias cable television industry is picking up the entire tab. But after watching, you may just want to get involved.
With each passing month, The California Channel becomes more valuable than ever and your personal involvement is imperative. When The California Channel presents a hearing, you don't get the evening news anchor giving you the network's spin. You get that quiet camera, focused, unrelenting, critically objective. That's your eye. And the microphone, that is your ear.
What you see and hear may surprise you.