Apologies, I just joined the MB and am still learning the etiquette.
A brief summary of the idea (much of this will overlap with the talk): Each week an average of 45 million Americans watch C-SPAN. Since the Senate began televising its debates in 1986, the purpose and function of Senate debates on the floor and in hearing rooms have changed dramatically. I believe cameras have censored the deliberative process, because today senators focus more on what they cannot say than they do on what they can say. In other words, they spend their deliberations presenting unsubstantive soundbites, usually while attacking their colleagues in the process.
I also think TV cameras in the chamber give incumbents a free campaign opportunity: they post their speeches on all forms of social media to shore up support and help them fundraise. Their speeches try to reinforce to their constituents that they are actually doing something, simply because they provide a video of them delivering a rehearsed speech on the floor of the Senate. What’s not seen on camera, however, is that the chamber is almost always empty. There’s nobody there. They are wasting their time and resources trying to convince constituents they are actually doing their jobs, instead of working productively with their colleagues.
I’ll post more responses as specific questions arise. I just wanted to get a starting point out there for discussion.