First of all, there's that whole "Do this or else" aspect of this changeover. That's just plain wrong. We Americans are patriots, free-born men and women who demand to live and die free. We are AMERICANS for crying out loud. Or at least we used to be. And now we are being told -- given no choice at all, not if we want to continue watching Survivor and Gray's Anatomy -- that we MUST change to digital TV whether we like it or not. We weren't even allowed to vote on it either.
As a freedom-loving American, I totally object to the fact that we are being ordered to make this conversion, like we are just a bunch of sheep whose only function is to be a passive source of money for a handful of rich dudes with salaries that run over one million dollars a month -- Comcast, Sony, Time-Warner, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, The Walt Disney Company and General Electric. And we Americans are doing just that, no questions asked. "Baa-a-a."
But let's investigate this digital conversion force-feeding program even more closely. Why exactly are these corporations so eager and willing to make us all switch to digital TV? Because they care about our eye-sight? Not.
By agreeing to go digital, Americans are giving away their rights to tax and regulate any of the thousands of new digital television channels that are being created by this move.
According to news analyst Bruce Dixon, "The FCC hopes the public won't notice its generous gift to corporate broadcasters: Thousands of new channels on the publicly-owned spectrum. Digital TV means four to ten times as many channels for each and every broadcaster with no obligations to the public. The FCC quietly awarded broadcasters this colossal gift of public property worth $70-$80 billion." What this basically means is that during a time of obvious financial hardship for us little guys, big corporations are being granted access to billions of dollars of gravy -- not to mention thousands of new ways to beam even MORE commercials into our homes.
"What the FCC and broadcasters are actively concealing from the public," states Dixon, "is that digital broadcasting technology enables thousands of new digital TV channels on the public broadcast spectrum, all of which broadcasters have allocated to themselves without the inconvenient public scrutiny issuing thousands of new station licenses might have attracted [or the revenue]. ....If Ketchum Communications, the FCC, the National Association of Broadcasters and the mainstream media can confine the story and restrict the public conversation to converter boxes and high definition TV, a vast realm of public digital property will pass into unaccountable private hands, for nothing, and maybe forever."
Why isn't Congress demanding that the communications industry pay for the use of these thousands of newly-created channels?
And if we investigate this digital conversion scam on the next level down, we will find even more outrageous behavior on the part of these huge media corporations. Now they want US to pay for the conversions. Not them. Us. Our Congress has already spent over ONE BILLION DOLLARS paying for converter boxes so that Americans won't be left without their TVs on February 17, 2009 -- and so that big media can get a free ride.
And when Congress balked and asked for an extension date because they didn't have the time or the funds to pay for enough black boxes to supply everyone in America with one by the February 17 deadline, what did the corporations tell Congress? "Sorry. We can't grant any extensions. We will lose too much money if we do that. We're already all set to go. Everything is already arranged."
Now we are being expected to pay for all this -- but only at the corporations' convenience? Well guess what, ABC, NBC, Sony, Rupert Murdoch and gang? Why don't you just pay for the freaking converter boxes yourself!
The American taxpayer is already paying bigtime for corporate bailouts on Wall Street and Detroit. Why should we bail out the TV industry as well?
Then there's a level even deeper than that. Are we men and women -- or mice? Have we become merely slaves to our television sets now, mere clones and robots whose only reason for existing on this planet is to pay taxes and buy products? Have we no life, no ideas, no original thoughts other than what is spoon-fed to us by the boob tube? Yeah.
"Kill your TV". Go read a book. Or, better yet, go read MY book (Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East).
Then there's yet another level that you can view this latest corporate welfare scheme from -- as just one more outrageous example of how American citizens have spent the last 60-odd years giving away their rights, their money and their integrity to insatiable globalized corporations who in turn only want us to give them more and more. US patriots are not afraid to fight for our country against terrorists -- but we appear to be terrified as hell when it comes to fighting for America against corporate greed.
So. What can we do? What would George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin have done? They stood up for their rights. Let's stand up for ours!
What if every single household in America REFUSED to buy those freaking cable boxes, refused to watch the new digital TVs and actually spent time with their families and reading books instead? We would have all the power. They would HAVE to acquiesce to our demands. Why? Because without We the People watching their commercials, television moguls would have nothing. Nothing.
They need US more than we need them.