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It Wouldn’t be Springtime in Washington Unless…

There was yet another C-SPAN request to gain access to the town’s famous Gridiron dinner. And another denial.

C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb wrote to USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, president of this year’s event: “It wouldn’t be springtime in Washington if the Gridiron Club didn’t hold it’s annual dinner and if C-SPAN didn’t renew it’s quarter-century old request to cover your event.” In short, he said, “It’s time. The public clamors for openness and transparency in Washington…”

But every year, the Gridiron Club has said no.

Page told FishbowlDC: A lot of people don’t understand the coverage rules of the Gridiron Dinner. Just to review: The Gridiron Dinner is on the record, start to finish. While we don’t allow reporters to come solely for the purposes of covering the dinner, the ballroom itself is stock full of journalists, starting with the 65 members of the Gridiron Club and also including many of our fellow reporters, editors and others. Anyone who attends is free to write about the dinner, the speeches and the satirical show.

However, we ask those who attend not to take photos or shoot video, and we ask everyone to refrain from filing, blogging, tweeting or updating their Facebook status until the dinner is over. We believe this respects the history and tradition of our 126-year dinner, and it preserves the ambience of the evening. In the 25 years I’ve been in the club, I’m only aware of four people who have ever violated these requests. We respect C-SPAN and its persistence is seeking to bring TV cameras into our dinner, and we have respectfully declined.”

Read the full letter from C-SPAN.

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