New York Time op-ed columnist Gail Collins earned three strikes for fact checking in her Jan 30 column “TV in Peril. Is Nothing Sacred?”
- The US will be the third country in the world to dismiss analog and go digital following the lead of The Netherlands and Finland. Apparently, China doesn’t count (they have already switched, but will continue to simulcast in analog until 2015)
- “How could the Republicans not be worried about this? A disproportionate number of the endangered TV viewers are senior citizens. Bill O’Reilly’s entire audience is in danger!”Good point, Gail. But apparently you failed to notice that Bill appears on the Fox News Channel which is only available on cable and satellite. So that the rabbit ears crowd, although possibly sharing values with Bill probably doesn’t share bandwidth.
- “…the issue at hand is every American’s God-given right to television reception.” This statement was clearly made tounge-in-check. But Ms. Collins missed the point that alot of people REALLY DO THINK that TV is privilege, guaranteed in the Bill of Rights (Did those founding fathers had forsight or what?)TV isn’t in the constitiution. Nor is in the any of the amendments, approved by Congress and 2/3 of the states. I don’t even think that it’s even codified in any FCC regulations. As a society, we have required people to acquire their own sets. And in some cases antennas. And in extreme cases, pay a monthly fee for cable or satellite service. (Note to self:Is this an example of “freedom has its costs?”).
Stations, who for the most part have done their homework on the transition, will have to spend millions to keep analog signals on the air if the Feb date is extended until June. It costs alot to lease and power those transmitters. Which is a significant unbudgeted expense during the economic downturn. Some stations have already announced that regardless of what Congress says, they are pulling the plug on Feb 17 .
We have invested $1.5 billion in the digital transition between coupons and marketing communications. Despite years of PSAs bombarding the soon-to-be-disconnected, they haven’t acquired coupons, conencted to cable or bought a new television. And law makers are blaming the government for bungling the transition and begging for a four month delay. Which will cost station owners millions more in extended leases for analog transmitters.
Two questions come to mind:
- If they haven’t gotten the message up until now, what makes lawmakers think these analog homes will suddenly “get it?”
- TV stations support themselves with advertising. Advertisers are most interested in audiences which are receptive to messages. If they haven’t been influenced by the multi-media barrage over the past several years, they can’t possibly be good advertsing targets. Who needs ’em?
Cold me cold and uncaring, but “Let them eat…Digital.”
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