Kerry Waffles, Retrans Burns
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was branded a flip-flopper during his 2004 presidential run. Notably, there was his infamous comment on major funding for U.S troops: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”Once again, he’s displayed a certain wishy-washy attitude as he leads Senate oversight of the spreading carriage disputes between station owners and pay-TV distributors. It’s an issue that threatens to impact broadcast TV for years to come. Kerry had a hammer, then simply put it back in the tool box.
This is all about retransmission fees, which broadcast networks and affiliates are demanding from cable systems nationwide that carry local commercial television stations.
Representative rumpus, again via MediaPost:
When Kerry held hearings this fall after the brutal Cablevision-Fox standoff that had the World Series off the air in New York, he demonstrated toughness. He showed a commitment to preventing further blackouts. The darkness occurs after a station and operator can’t agree on how much the operator will pay to offer the station, which can leave consumers helpless in the middle.
But according to press reports, Kerry has now gone soft, especially regarding the current standoff between Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Kerry has punted the dispute to the Federal Communications Commission, where issues go to die.
Kerry on, yes?