Our Opinion: Cable dispute shows firms at their worst
Published 2:38 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Not being able to watch “Desperate Housewives” is an inconvenience, not a tragedy.
But the dispute between Mediacom cable company and Sinclair Broadcasting shows us corporate America at its worst.
Both parties, in press releases and broadcast commercials, blame each other for the problems that led to Sinclair pulling the cable plug on its Pensacola ABC affiliate - and 21 others across the country - at midnight last Saturday.
Mediacom claims that Sinclair is demanding too much money; Sinclair says it just wants to be paid market value for its what it puts out over the airwaves.
In truth, Sinclair's broadcasts are free - if you have the antenna to reach them. But that's the old-school way of thinking about broadcasting.
For a long time now, folks in rural areas haven't needed cable to get a clear signal for broadcast channels; they can sign up for satellite television. And Americans can now catch up with their favorite TV shows by watching them on the Internet or downloading them on iTunes whenever it's convenient.
But most people do need the traditional cable setup for their regular TV viewing - and not just for “Desperate Housewives” but for important news and weather information they may not be able to get anywhere else.
Sinclair and Medicom have spent many weeks debating this issue in the public - but they seem to have forgotten about the public they are trying to serve.
We hope they can come to an agreement soon - not just for TV fans but for the sake of corporate courtesy.