Viewers watching C-Span on its website got a sudden surprise when their TV monitors switched from the House of Representatives feed to Russian government-funded RT television. Was this Russian hacking? The Russian interruption certainly was suspect given that C-Span is the one channel that airs official U.S. government information through events like live broadcast of the U.S. Congress. In the midst of intense political debate about Russian hacking of the U.S. government and election, any January break into the routing with Russian RT’s programming raises suspicion. Coincidence or accident as C-Span now claims? The answer both RT and C-Span publicly agree on is that C-Span had an “internal routing” problem.
In its own story on the broadcast glitch, RT wrote, “RT had no way of cutting into the C-SPAN broadcast.” RT spokesperson Anna Belkina further pointed iMediaEthics to the C-SPAN statement.
C-Span told iMediaEthics that it had no additional information to share beyond its statement.
Statement from C-SPAN about January 12 Online Signal Interruption pic.twitter.com/dlkSOntJgz
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 13, 2017
Deadspin’s Timothy Burke posted a brief video of when the switch happened — during comments by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal).
Here's the moment Russia Today took over the C-SPAN1 feed. Unclear what happened. RT aired for about ten minutes before C-SPAN1 came back. pic.twitter.com/mhWVgCoFxF
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 12, 2017
The New York Times noted that “C-Span – a private company that, according to its website, is available in 100 million American homes – receives no government money but broadcasts all live congressional proceedings, providing a direct feed of the daily stuff of politics to Americans who find themselves interested in what their representatives are doing.”