Here in the frozen tundra of 'Sconni land there is a terrible scandal afoot. Tomorrow night's matchup between the 10-1 Packers and the 10-1 Dallas Cowboys will not be seen by the majority of Wisconsinites because most of the cable companies don't carry the obscure channel that will be broadcasting the game. Wisconsin Badger fans are suffering too, since the Big Ten Network that shows the games is also not carried by the big cable companies (Charter, etc.)
Into the fray steps US Congressman Paul Ryan, who represents southern Wisconsin. Ryan, who votes to the right of George Bush, sent his constituents the following e-mail:
Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin voicing the concerns of constituents who are not able to watch this Thursday’s Green Bay Packers game or Wisconsin Badgers’ basketball games due to disputes between cable providers and the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network.
In his letter, Ryan urged the FCC to consider rule changes that facilitate the appointment of an arbitrator in disputes such as these, so they can be resolved more quickly and with consumers’ interests foremost in mind. He also applauded the Chairman’s decision to review the cable television market and urged him to ensure that free market competition can thrive.
“When so many Wisconsin Packers and Badgers fans can’t watch their teams play, it’s a sign that something’s very wrong with the cable market,” Ryan said. “People all across Wisconsin want to be able to stay home and watch Thursday’s game against the Cowboys and future Badgers games too, so the demand is there. It’s frustrating that fans are losing out because of disagreements between cable carriers and the NFL and Big Ten networks. The FCC should ensure future rules changes boost free market competition and consumer choice – and promote speedy resolution of such disputes.”
Dear Congressman Ryan: what about the "free market" do you not understand? The part where if pesky 13-year-old congressmen want to interfere in business, that would be called "regulation", no longer making the market "free"? Laissez-Faire loosely translates to "Let it be" so if you don't like what occurs when the market behaves on its own whims, don't you think you should just STFU?
Ironically, republicans in our state are pushing very hard for a "Cable Competition" bill which would further balkanize our cable lineups, not solve the problems of viewers being unable to see programming they used to see for free on the networks.
P.S. Here at the Wundrun home we've got DishNetwork, and so will be watching. With many relatives and other cable orphans.