Let’s get the obvious out of the way. First, few of us became Miley Cyrus fans after catching clips of her debacle on the MTV Music Awards show Sunday night. John Hayward does an excellent job of describing what she did, why it was wrong, what twerking is, and why we should care in his excellent diary Twerking towards Gomorrah.*
And as long as we’re on the topic of “People We Don’t Find Awesome”, we can throw Senator John McCain into the mix for…well all sorts of reasons but primarily because he is truly the poster child for the term RINO. Although to be fair there are numerous RINOs. It’s just he holds a high position in that particular group.
But these two, together, help to provide a rallying point for something a lot of people have been demanding for many years. No, its not as important as defunding Obamacare or No Amnesty for Illegals, but it is important. Its a la carte television and a bill introduced by Sen. McCain is a call to action to make it happen.
An article at The Hill ** points out Cyrus’ performance at the music show was broadcast on cable so there is no fine or other slap on the wrist the FCC could administer because, well because you can’t do that to cable. So what’s a person watching tv to do? There is the argument of “just turn the channel or turn off the TV”. Yes, yes you could do that. But— even when you’re not watching the show or the channel, you are subsidizing its broadcast.
You know how this works. You can sign up for “basic” channels whether it be through cable or satellite or some other subscriber. And maybe there’s one or two other channels you would like to have but those are lumped in with some type of tier system, which you can get in on for a cost. You may have a few hundred channels at your disposal at any given time, but how many are you interested in? If you enjoy the Oprah network, go right ahead, but you and those likeminded should be responsible for its cost. As a parent of a small child you may have wanted Nickelodeon, as a 60 year old without grandkids, maybe not so much. Sports programming, religious channels, Spanish speaking, gay, children’s programming, cooking, infomercials, you name it. All have their viewers, but not all have all the viewers. I watched MTV. Back during a time when they had Headbanger’s Ball. I understand many didn’t appreciate that type of music and had no interest. Eventually, I tuned out when it went to rap and hip hop and shows which had nothing to do with music. So why is my family still having to pay for it to air? None of us watch it.
The Parent’s Television Council is trying to get congress to pass McCain’s Television and Consumer Freedom Act. It is languishing the Commerce Committee. An a la carte approach would allow one to pick their whatever channels to please their palate at that point in time in their life.
This is about the time I expect Neil or some other tech savvy guru to bring up downloading of tv shows and the miracle of hulu and the like, iPods, smartphones, and wrist-tech. The problem with these devices is that the screens are small and most of us enjoy viewing shows on larger screens. The 50 plus inchers that are longer than a couch. Kinda hard to read VH1’s Pop-Up video bubbles, if you’re reading from your wristwatch.
Then, lets address co$t. Cable and satellite say a la carte will be too expensive. How so? Cable and satellite argue it costs “only pennies a day” to get dozens upon dozens of channels. Conversely, maybe with a la carte we can all save a few pennies by not being forced to have channels streamed into our sets whether we want them or not. Take NBC Universal. A big company with a lot of different subsidiaries and holdings when it comes to broadcasting. One of their smaller ones is the NBC news group which has NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and the Weather Channel.
But if you’re not into stock options, pork bellies, and whether or not AT&T beat the street you may not want to watch CNBC. Or maybe you like it enough to follow on the net but not from your recliner. There’s Bloomberg and Fox Business from different networks. If Caterpiller is down a penny on one network, its down on all three, trust me. Wouldn’t it save a household money if it wanted only one or two business channels streamed into their house ? Does a household really need nine shopping channels if it never watches a single one? The major corporations have told cable and satellite if you want this network you have to offer this other network. Subsequently if we want to watch Law and Order SVU on NBC , we have to allow MSNBC to be streamed into our TV whether you want it or not.
MTV does not stand for Miley’s TV. MTV is owned by Viacom, which also owns BET and Paramount Pictures. If one wants to watch BET but not MTV, a la carte allows for that. And vice versa. Let’s rally round McCain this one (and possibly last) time, and Miley too. People that liked her performance, that program, and the network in general should be allowed to keep it. All to themselves.
If you want to read McCain’s Bill, here it is.