Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stubborn Cal

It could be that an argument can be made against allowing consumers, rather than cable companies, to decide what channels should be allowed into their homes, but Cal Thomas can't seem to think of one.

I mulled over his attempts at an argument this morning while reading the Gazette as I nodded off to sleep after putting another Outpost to bed. That's a harsh rule of journalism: The paper always goes to bed before the editor does. So I was about 80 percent asleep while trying to decipher his column, but his arguments appear to be these:

1. If people could choose which channels to subscribe to, they would have to make hard decisions. Cable providers should protect them from those decisions.

2. If people could make their own cable choices, they would actually have less freedom to choose than if the choices were restricted to a limited menu offered by the cable companies.

3. A la carte cable options would be bad for business because people might not make the choices that businesses want them to make.

4. Most American households don't have children under age 18. It isn't clear to me what this has to do with anything, but it seems to be important to Cal.

5. If people could choose their own channels, they might choose not to subscribe to Fox News or religious networks. Then what would the world come to?

6. People would have to pay as much to get the 20 channels they wanted as they now do to get 150 channels they never watch. So I could get, say, the English language version of Al Jazeera, a couple of German stations, a sports channel or two, C-SPAN and a few movie channels for the same price as I now pay to get the Shopping Network and a hundred or so variations on old history documentaries, recycled sitcoms and tips on cooking and home renovations. That would be awful.

7. The whole thing is a plot by the government to control our lives and limit our information choices. How allowing people to make their own choices expands the power of government is another one of those sweet mysteries, penetrable to Cal Thomas but cloaked in mist for the rest of us.

2 comments:

Bookman said...

I did not read the article you referenced, as I have been boycotting the Billings Gazette for over 12 years. But I would like to ask a question peripheral to this issue: Why the hell does anybody watch TV in the first place?

Here is my TV history:

1952 to 1963 (Favorite shows: “Amos & Andy,” “Winky Dink,” “American Bandstand”)

1964 to 1968 (No TV)

1969 to 1971 (Favorite show: “All in the Family”)

1972 to 1987 (No TV)

1988 to 2004 (Favorite show: “Modern Marvels”)

2005 to Present (No TV)

“57 channels and nothing’s on!” (Bruce Springsteen)

Chuck Rightmire said...

And you're surprised at not fully understanding Cal why?