One of the nice things about most
tech issues is that they're not split down typical political party lines. In practice, tragically, that sometimes means that both of the major political parties side with rent-seeking interests, rather than the public good, but in other cases, it does mean that you can get actually cross-party discussion on the issues, rather than the talking points. However, it seems that whenever any particular issue gets "big enough," it suddenly has to break down on party lines. We saw it happen with net neutrality
, but now it appears to be happening on the whole silly retransmission fight
between cable companies and TV networks. As mentioned, these fights break out every few months, with both the networks and the cable companies blaming each other. In the end, consumers end up with higher prices either way. The whole fight itself is silly, but when TV stations get blocked during key sporting events (football, baseball playoffs), apparently Congress immediately sees an issue worth grandstanding over.
And, as Broadband Reports notes
, at least in the case of Cablevision/Fox, it's become a partisan issue, with Democrats lining up behind Cablevision
, introducing legislation that would bar broadcasters from pulling channels during negotiations. Meanwhile, Republicans are being lobbied heavily by News Corp
to take its side. It could just be that it's because this is News Corp./Fox, which tends to support Republicans. So it will be interesting to see if similar battles involving other broadcasters split along similar lines...