Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Unplugged – Fighting Back, One TV at a Time

February 1, 2008

Hi <insert TV station here>,

Just a quick note to let you know that I unplugged my TV today and canceled my cable. I’ve realized that I don’t need you any more. I’ve realized that you’re hurting my country and I’m finished helping you do it.

I’ve been watching your coverage of the elections recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t serve my interests. I don’t blame you. In fact, I understand it. You’re trying to maximize profits for your shareholders. This is as it should be.

However, I don’t need entertainment from my news source. I need substantive discussion of issues that affect my family’s future. To be frank, I don’t care about Britney’s breakdown or Paris’ panties. So here’s how it’s going to play out. I thought maybe you’d like to know.

While you’re ostensibly a news station, you actually try to provide me with entertainment. And you do that badly. I’ve joined up with Netflix and when I want to be entertained, I watch DVDs on my computer. So I don’t need you for in-home entertainment.

I get much of my news from social news sites, so when your station does put something out that’s interesting or substantive, I get to see it anyway. My advantage is that I don’t have to sit through the rest of your stuff to get to anything good.  Also, I recently discovered a show called “The Young Turks” on the Brave New Films site. Their coverage of the South Carolina election results was fantastic. Admittedly, I wanted Cenk to shut up while Obama was speaking, but I posted that comment and I’m sure it was read. Maybe next time he’ll interrupt less. The interviews with various commentators and bloggers were right on the money.  They cut straight to the heart of the issues I was interested in. It was the best election coverage I’ve ever seen. I enjoyed it greatly and felt that I learned a lot. Check out their upcoming coverage of Super Tuesday. You might also learn something. In addition to all this there’s sources like NPR and Democracy Now. So, not only do I not need you for entertainment, it turns out that I don’t need you for news either.

Finally, you’re actively damaging the country I live in. The country I love. Your coverage of the ongoing nomination process has been extremely poor. Your debates have been designed to create disagreement so you can replay the sound bites ad nauseum. Your debates should have been designed to probe the candidates on issues that matter to the citizens. Oh, and the way you selected the candidates you thought were viable and then skewed the coverage in their favor was reprehensible. The bulk of the candidates hold similar positions on many key issues. Why ignore the lesser known candidates with different ideas? Ideas that the American people are clamoring for? You’re hurting my country and it will not stand.

I understand that you’re catering to what’s exciting because that’s what drives your ratings. I’m not mad at you, I’m just saying you’re done whoring my eyeballs to the highest bidder. My eyeballs and I are breaking up with you. We’re switching you off. You’ve been unplugged. I’m also trying to encourage others to do the same. I’m sure most older people will ignore the call. Most of them probably won’t even hear the call (we don’t really move in the same circles). But in your prized younger demographic groups, you’ve dramatically miscalculated both our anger and our resolve. We don’t need you. We don’t want you. We are switching you off and you will eventually starve.

I’d like to tell you there’s a way for you to fix this, but I honestly don’t much care if you do. As more and more young people start to understand the economic power they wield, your profits will dwindle. Others will see this opportunity and make money catering to it. It has started out as a niche. The niche will grow.

Mostly I just wanted to tell you that while you’re entitled to do what makes you the most money, you’re not going to be making money from me anymore. And I think you’ll be surprised. I’m not alone.