YouTube Covers Controversial Senate Abortion Filibuster, Mainstream Networks Drop the Ball

YouTube has taken one more step into the spotlight as the old media companies have taken one step out of it.

On Tuesday, Wendy Davis, a Democratic senator from Texas was the hottest topic going as she attempted a 13-hour-filibuster to block a controversial abortion bill, and yet, none of the television news networks were covering it. Instead, that duty fell to YouTube and online mediums who broadcasted the live stream of her marathon speech in its entirety via the Texas Tribune’s channel.


At its peak, over 180,000 people were tuned in to watch the drama unfold as the senator, who had to stand and speak, unassisted, for the entire time, began speaking at a little after 11 a.m., with the intention of speaking until midnight — a maneuver that would stall the bill from being able to be voted on.

According to the Latino Post, during the peak time of the filibuster’s viewership, Fox News was airing a story about Iraq, MSNBC was preoccupied with a climate debate and CNN was featuring a segment about Piers Morgan finding out how many calories are in a blueberry muffin. Whoops.

A filibuster, for the record, is a congressional move wherein a senator can speak for as long as they wish, on any topic they wish, as long as their speech holds germane to the topic they began the filibuster with — three warnings are issued in the event that the senator begins to ramble and then the senator is forced to be silent.

Twitter also had a hand in the festivities as over 48,000 people followed Sen. Davis’ account, up from 1,200 earlier in the day. While Davis’ opponents ultimately stymied her ability to continue after 11 hours, Davis made her point (amidst shouts of “Let her speak” and “Bullshit!” from the spectator gallery, located on the upper levels of the Capitol Building) and the bill was defeated. Score one more for social media though.

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