The Fox Tax

On TV, the local Fox affiliate ran breathless ads accusing Dish Network of some sort of crime because it took Fox off its satellite feeds. Somewhere someone jacked up fees and Dish didn’t like it — so Dish pulled the plug on Fox News offerings.

On the web, I am seeing yet another clip of some Fox News person who gets on camera to say something disrespectful about President Obama. I just shake my head. The name Fox News itself is false advertising. I do not think Fox News passes as anything remotely journalistic.

The ads and ‘stories’ got me thinking about my own cable bills. I recently started a two-year contract with Xfinity. Fox News is in the basic cable package. I realized Fox is getting a cut of those fees I pay to get TV services.

Fox News is big part of the reason health care reform was stalled and we will be choked of our own climate change fumes. They are happy to tell all of us how they are stymieing progress. Is that News or Opinion or Entertainment? Is Fox reporter or provocateur?

I am tired of subsidizing substandard Fox News vitriol with my basic cable fees. (Likewise, if you are a Tea Party member, you should not have to subsidize the mainstream programming you feel is biased.)

So I sent a note to Xfinity’s Customer Service for some answers. The thread is here (Link).

I am not asking to censor Fox. The ‘commentators’ on Fox can rant all they want. They still have their Free Speech and Free Press. I am just asking that I do not pay for it (kinda ironic I am paying for their ‘free’ speech). I am asking for a Freedom of Choice as a consumer — someone paying the bill.

As I tested this premise out on the internet, defenders of Fox said the FCC gives Fox the competitive edge in the marketplace to be placed in my home. That is pretty ironic coming from a network that screams capitalism and free market slogans.

If Fox is so darn good, why does it need the government to prop it up? For that matter, why does the government have to help what I always thought is a foreign held company? That means FCC rules for local broadcast providers should not apply to Fox.

Whenever Fox wants to bust on the shoes of unions they always bring up how union dues are collected. Unwilling members of the union are forced to donate to a union they don’t like…

It kinda sounds like cable consumers are forced to donate to television stations they don’t like. How ironic that to deliver Fox into living rooms across the country…

Don’t like the union argument? Why not turn some of the Obamacare Attack Logic on Fox? Everybody has to pay for Fox News whether they are conservative or not (almost sounds like Fox complaining about contraception coverage whether you are female or not — or pro-life or not).

When I was told that Xfinity does not offer channels a la carte, I keep wondering why I have to pay extra for HBO. Shouldn’t a channel offering something as newsworthy as John Oliver’s reporting be considered news? I may have only seen a few of his shows, but I come away infinitely more informed after watching him.

If I want Mike Huckabee plucking a bass guitar on a vanity show — is a ‘News Channel’ the proper place for it?

Cable companies are regulated by local governments and the FCC. Is there a government regulation that demands that Fox be broadcast on my cable system as part of a package I must accept? Wouldn’t that be government overreach and creating unfair competition for a foreign company?

If the government is giving the go ahead for Fox (or anyone else) to be carried with a government imprimatur, and the only way I can get cable service is to include Fox, isn’t that a tax being levied for the benefit of Fox’ programming?

Basic cable fees can be renamed as Fox Taxes. If the FCC is still going to give Fox preferential treatment — can we call them Deaf Panels?

Hoping the Xfinity customer service rep will be able to report back when the contract with Fox is up so that a more coherent discussion can take place at the proper time as to why Fox News should be part of the basic cable package.

Want to be clear here:

  • I am a customer.
  • I am not asking Fox be removed from any cable systems.
  • I want to stop subsidizing FOX News with my money.

For what it is worth, if you don’t like CNN or MSNBC you should be able to opt out of them too.

As consumers, we should be able to actually pick and choose any channels we want.

Realizing a possible downside, people may opt out of all ‘news’ programming — but that’s what we have today.

As for complex individual selections of customized programming — you cannot tell me that the accounting departments of cable companies cannot handle complex calculations.

Have you taken a close look at your cable bill?

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