John McCain

John McCain Wants Americans to Be Able to Pick Their Own Damn Television Channels

Are you an alpha male whose gonads shrivel up every time you see the Lifetime channel? A radical environmentalist who faints at the sight of a Formula One race? Do you just vomit instantly upon hearing the voices of Bill O'Reilly or Rachel Maddow?

Don't worry, folks, Senator John McCain's here for all of us television-addicted nimrods.

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McCain has introduced the "Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013," which he hopes leads to cable consumers being able to pick and choose which channels they want, instead of this channel "bundle" nonsense that forces you to pay for channels you will never, ever watch.

Here's the prime example cited by McCain Thursday on the Senate floor:

"According to a January 2012 Newsweek article, ESPN charges roughly $4.69 per household per month citing research from SNL Kagan. By comparison, the next costliest national network, TNT, takes in $1.16 from about as many homes. So whether you watch ESPN or not, and admittedly I do all the time, all cable subscribers are forced to absorb this cost. For instance, because these channels are bundled into packages, all cable consumers, whether they watch sports or not, are paying for them anyway. Cable and satellite carriers that consider dropping ESPN must also contemplate losing other channels in the bundle, like the Disney Channel.

"Some have described this as a 'a tax on every American household.' Others, like the CEO of the American Cable Association, have said, 'My next-door neighbor is 74, a widow. She says to me, "Why do I have to get all that sports programming?" She has no idea that in the course of a year, for just ESPN and ESPN2, she is sending a check to Disney for about $70. She would be apoplectic if she knew . . . Ultimately, there's going to be a revolt over the cost. Or policymakers will get involved, because the costs of these things are so out of line with cost of living that someone's going to put up a stop sign.'

However, McCain defined the bill as requiring "no mandates, regulations, and is entirely voluntary."

Still, McCain went on to define the incentive the programming distributors would have to do so.

Perhaps the best part of McCain's bill is a section that bans "blackouts" of sporting events on TV if the venue or team is publicly financed.

Watch McCain's full explanation below:

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley