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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/12/09

Comcast favors Fox News, charges $204 more for MSNBC package. ACTION NEEDED

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A fellow progressive alerted me today about a highly discriminatory new practice being implemented by Comcast. I told him I would post something on Kos since he is not currently active here. From what I can tell, this applies to all Comcast customers, not just those in my (quite red) area of Jacksonville, Florida.

As of 8.12.09, Comcast has moved MSNBC from its Digital Starter Package to its Digital Classic Lineup while leaving Fox News on the Starter package. What this means is that one now has to pay an additional $17 per month ($204 per year) to view anything progressive enough to even remotely balance out FNC's right wing extremism (although, let's be honest, MSNBC could install Castro himself in Tweety's time slot and still not provide sufficient balance for the far-right insanity that is Beck/Billo/Hannity).

So they are calling this a "channel realignment," which I guess is like the broadcasting equivalent of gerrymandering. Apparently it's done with electronic switching from the Comcast HQ. The neighbor who alerted me to the situation is an attorney, and he thinks this appears to be to be an FCC/Fairness Doctrine violation. He has suggested to our Senator, Bill Nelson, that congress should enforce a "Menu Based" or "Cafeteria Style" subscription contract on the cable industry since it costs them nothing to make the switches.

I think the most immediate concern though is pressuring Comcast to include MSNBC in this Digital Basic Package IMMEDIATELY. If you'd like to join me, here are the email addresses of some key executives:

D'Arcy Rudnay, SVP Corp Communications

David Juliano, EVP Marketing

Brian Roberts, CEO

Stephen Burke, President, Cable

David Watson, EVP Operations

David Cohen, EVP

Amy Banse, SVP

Update #1:

Another issue I should have mentioned is the channel assignments, which are somewhat biased in and of themselves. Here in Jacksonville at least, MSNBC is relegated to channel #185 (and this was true even before the "realignment.") In contrast, Fox News is 33, CNN is 35, CSPAN is 27, even CSPAN-TWO is 105, for god's sake! So the average viewer is not going to hit on MSNBC by accident or by casually channel-surfing.

Update #2 It's been very astutely suggested that it may be equally if not more effective to contact NBC and urge them to negotiate more forcefully for placement of MSNBC within the 1st tier of programming on Comcast (and all delivery systems really). Here is a list of contacts:

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