A reader writes:
At last, someone is writing about this. But you are missing the elephant in the room. Cable bundling has enabled the corruption and radicalization of cable TV news. It the basis of Fox News' business model.
Here's how it works. Fox charges cable companies about 70 cents a subscriber. That fee provides about half their profits. So everyone who has Fox News on his or her cable system is compelled to pay Fox 70 cents a month. No matter how much I loathe Fox and what it has done to our political discourse, I have to pay them 70 cents a month. What this means is that Fox pays no economic price for stoking extremism. The opposite is true. It can cater to a mere three or four million Americans, 1 percent of the population, a ratings bonanza in the chopped up world of cable TV, while collecting a fee from tens of millions who detest the network. It boils down to this: I cannot stop paying Fox News no matter how much I hate it. I'm captive.
If Fox became a la carte, the results would be dramatic and immediate.
Tens of millions would drop the channel immediately. Black and Hispanic viewers would flee the network en mass. It would suffer crippling losses in the Northeast, West Coast and parts of the Midwest. The channel would be left with an overwhelmingly older, southern and evangelical viewership. Needless to say, the loss of such huge demographic swaths would cause many advertisers to jump ship.
In short, Fox would pay a heavy economic price for its lies and distortions. It would either reform or face becoming a niche network with much diminished power and influence. A la carte would have a similar, although less extreme impact on MSNBC. And that would be a good thing. We can never solve our problems if partisan media propagandize instead of inform. A la carte cable is key, perhaps the key, to reforming our politics and government.
(Screenshot via STFU Conservatives)