Day two in the saga of who was that masked ‘independent videographer’ in the Senate media gallery. It’s starting to sound like a crime drama. Maybe its just a light hearted distraction to the real business that needs to be done in the next two weeks, the budget, and any other pending legislation before lawmakers hope to break on May 22.
Apparently more than one person saw the cameraman who said he was there to video tape Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Glenn Coffee’s desk. It wasn’t a videographer from University of Central Oklahoma. Officials with UCO said they did have a videographer there to tape a ceremony honoring UCO professors and an administrator. But UCO officials say there was a third man too.
Since the last post on media in the Senate gallery, I’ve gotten a few calls. Apparently the Capitol press corp in the past has policed the gallery and even asked legitimate media to leave if they weren’t there to cover a legislative issue but were filming a promo or something unrelated.
On Thursday during his weekly briefing with press, Coffee. R-Oklahoma City, said he wasn’t interested in kicking folks out of the press box, or limiting access. Lawmakers just want to know who is watching.
“Any member can have somebody brought in to video if they want to. We’d just want them to disclose who they are,” Coffee said. “The individual told several people in the Capitol that he was here to film my empty chair. It’s obvious someone hasn’t had a civics lessen and doesn’t realize the negotiations that go on. The Pro Tem’s chair, if it’s not empty, he’s not doing his job. That’s part of what’s always been the case.”
– Julie Bisbee, Capitol Bureau