Tag Archives: BackChannel

Cable-Only Presidential Debates are the New Poll Tax

photo: Darko Pevec, Flickr

Here’s the big story behind this. The linear — traditional — model of TV is crumbling, slowly, as more people find programming they’re happy with online. But sports programming remains the Gibraltar of the pay TV bundle: the bedrock, the real-time, must-have stuff that Americans will still pay for. And so pay TV executives, looking to smooth the obvious glide path sloping towards the irrelevance of thick bundles of TV-plus-data just long enough so their retirements will be secure and well-funded, want to turn new categories of programming into sports. Presto: debates become sports, unavailable in livestream form to anyone who doesn’t have a cable or satellite subscription. – Susan Crawford, BackChannel via Medium