Time Warner Cable and CBS act like two kids fighting in a playground, each yelling: “He started it.” Both are shooting themselves in the foot with audiences and advertisers. They’re also violating two federal laws:
1. Must Carry, enacted during cable TV’s early days, requires all cable systems to carry all local stations in their viewing areas. TV station owners demanded this bill to ensure that broadcasters didn’t bypass them.
2. The Federal Communications Act, updated in 1996, requires all TV stations to “serve the public’s interest, convenience and necessity,” or risk losing their licenses for free use of public air waves. Cutting off viewers to extort retransmission consent fees from cable operators hardly meets this criteria.
The Federal Communications Commission’s interim chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn, threatens to end the blackout. If she doesn’t, TWC owes subscribers a refund. CBS owes viewers an apology and advertisers a rebate. Enough already. Just end this nonsense.