The War on Analog

I want to thank Brendan of I Hate Linux for notifying me that the Senate has voted to delay the digital television conversion.

This is good news. The Republican Party’s opposition to the roll-over is not junk a spit in the eye to one of the most loyal Republican constiuencies — rural America — but also an example of the corrupt, aristocracy of pull that defines the modern Republican party.

AT&T released a letter Monday night endorsing a three-month delay as a special, one-time event designed to aid consumers who could lose over-the-air TV service when analog signals are shut off at midnight on Feb. 17.

“From AT&T’s perspective, a smooth transition from analog broadcast transmission to digital is in the public interest and will ultimately inure to the benefit of all Americans,” AT&T senior executive vice president James Cicconi said in letter to House and Senate Commerce Committee leaders.

While AT&T is willing to accommodate the wishes of the new Obama government, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg is concerned that any delay would do more harm than good and should be rejected.

The Republican Party has a nasty habit of leading the push to criminalize forms of entertainment. The War on Drugs under Regagan, John Ashcroft’s federal investigation of state prostitution charges in Louisiana, and now the GOP’s bizarre War on Analog (using the police power of the federal government to prohibit rural and low-income Americans from receiving the 5:00 news on their old equipment) are exampels of why those Americans who just want to be “left alone” should be deeply suspicious of the Republican Party.