C-Span Online Broadcast Interrupted by Russian TV Feed


An online C-Span broadcast from the House floor was interrupted on Thursday by a broadcast from RT, an English-language network controlled by the Russian government.

C-Span said in a statement that it presumed the switch, which occurred in the middle of a speech by Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, had been a technical error.

The network said it was continuing to investigate the episode.

“As RT is one of the networks we regularly monitor, we are operating under the assumption that it was an internal routing issue,” the statement said. “If that changes, we will certainly let you know.”

The interruption went on for about 10 minutes and was noted online by Timothy Burke, an editor for the website Deadspin, among others.

The Russian network was implicated in a declassified intelligence report that accused the Russian government of meddling in the United States presidential election.

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That report called RT’s coverage of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, “consistently negative” and noted that it “focused on her leaked emails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism.”

Howard Mortman, a spokesman for C-Span, said in a phone interview that the interruption occurred around 2:30 p.m., and that it happened only online.

C-Span’s newsroom monitors many other news channels for breaking news, including domestic networks like CBS and CNN, and various international networks. Its statement suggested that a routing error had caused the RT feed it regularly monitors to be broadcast accidentally.

Mr. Mortman said that the network’s early explanation for the interruption came from an internal analysis. He said he was not aware of such an interruption ever taking place before.


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