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Politician Upset DVRs Allow Viewers To Skip Political Commericials

The longest serving member of the House Of Representatives is apparently upset that modern technology allows people to ignore people like him:

Add Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., to the list of people who don’t like the new commercial-skipping function, known as “the Hopper,” on Dish Network’s new DVR. Fox, NBC and CBS are suing Dish Network over the service, which allows subscribers to skip past commercial breaks for entire shows with the touch of one button.

At a Wednesday hearing on video distribution held by the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and CommerceCommittee, Dingell complained that the service will allow potential voters to skip past important commercial messages.

“I’ve got an election coming up, like all my colleagues,” Dingell said, during his questioning of Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen. “We all put political ads on the local stations to reach our constituents. The Hopper potentially limits the ability of every member of this subcommittee to reach constituents to help them make up their minds on Election Day.

“Do you understand and appreciate the concerns that the politicians up here on the dais and other politicians everywhere will feel about that, yes or no?” Dingell asked.

Yes, Congressman. Because the voters are clearly unable to make up their mind without being exposed to endless hours of your dumb commercial.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Phillip says:

    Uh-oh, future sponsor of the Digital Video Recorder Freedom Act.

    “Do you understand and appreciate the concerns that the politicians up here on the dais and other politicians everywhere will feel about that, yes or no?”

    “Congressman Dingell, I fully appreciate the concerns of my customers, in fact I hope their disgust with the commercials bombarding the airwaves is so overwhelming that they wear out their “Hopper” skipping over political ads and horrid commercial adverts so that the machine wears out and that they have to replace it”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    If we were presenting the case for term limits wouldn’t Rep. Dingell be Exhibit A?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. James H says:

    So let him buy an interstital during The Price is Right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Alan says:

    Are we now going to be forced to watch and
    listen to these lying politicians? If I pay
    for a service that allows me to skip commercials
    I have every right to use it! Why don’t you lazy
    professional political types come and
    speak directly to your constituents!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Phillip says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: You would have to number the exhibits for that trial, not letter them; there aren’t enough letters in the alphabet to cover our political class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Franklin says:

    Not a surprise from the same people who exempt themselves from Do Not Call.

    Now if political commercials had some sort of actual useful accurate information, I might change my mind on this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    I would think that advertisers and television networks would be upset and scared to death that viewers now increasingly have the ability to skip most of the advertising. This is a model that for decades has paid off handsomely for television and cable networks, and now it’s increasing in question.

    Dingell? He’s only saying what most of the politicians have to be thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. This is actually kind of hilarious given that Dingell has been very vocal about his hatred for the Citizen’s United ruling. If your view is that political ads are not free speech, but merely attempts by corporations to corrupt the election process, shouldn’t you be encouraging people to skip over them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Even though I’m a liberal, I think Congressman Dingell just shoved his foot in his mouth. No, Congressman, just because you spent a heck of a lot of money to a bunch of political ad agencies doesn’t mean that you have the right to force me to sit there and watch your tripe. Next you’re going to be bitching that people get up and use the restroom during ad periods. The absolute horror.

    (I still prefer the Austrian method of political campaigning. Talking heads on a channel devoted to politics. Nothing else allowed, period.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Titanius says:

    I do not understand politics very well but I know that Charlie Ergen is in this fight on the behalf of anyone who would like to watch TV the way they want to. Ever since I have worked for Dish I have never seen such a game changer. I am a good husband so, per request, I watch Pretty Little Liars with my wife every week. With the new Auto Hop feature on my Hopper I have longest hour of my week practically cut in half. I wish I could say it did the same for her but I always watch football live.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Titanius says:

    I do not understand politics very well but I know that Charlie Ergen is in this fight on the behalf of anyone who would like to watch TV the way they want to. Ever since I have worked for Dish I have never seen such a game changer. I am a good husband so, per request, I watch Pretty Little Liars with my wife every week. With the new Auto Hop feature on my Hopper I have longest hour of my week practically cut in half. I wish I could say it did the same for my wife but I always watch football live.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Craig says:

    There are a lot of childish people posting here. By that, I mean people who don’t understand how things are paid for and expect ‘free’ and will destroy the content they want.

    Charlie Egan is a leech to take away the funding for the shows on commercial televasion, who depend on advertising for paying for the shows, so that he can make the money instead.

    It doesn’t work. It’d be like having someone sell you a phony ticket to get into the movie theatre for $4, so the movie and theatre get nothing, while the seller gets the $4 – and then you scream and whine when the theatre complains, saying that you paid your $4 so you deserve to get to watch the movie.

    If the tv shows don’t get money from advertising, there will be big changes – along the lines of far less budget for shows. You think all these ‘reality’ shows like watching people bid on storage lockers and staged ‘towing’ shows are garbage? Get used to it. That’s what the low budgets will allow. It’s the same issue with online piracy, if it’s too much, the products are not made.

    The only thing helping is that there are a lot of viewers who don’t skip ads, so the leeching is limited, but as more do, it’ll be a big problem for shows.

    People need to understand the shows have to be paid for. One option is the commercial model, which, shock children, means people have to watch some of the ads; another model is very low revenue and budget shows (more of that ‘reality’ crap); another is in-show advertising, get ready for CSI to have long dialogues every episode about how Dell is so great at helping them, and Preperation H is really useful for what it helps with; another is subscription TV, like HBO.

    But all this whining that people deserve’ to watch shows made for the commercial model and how they should be able to skip all the ads is childish, and a threat to the tv shows.

    The one poster does have a point that our political system has become horribly corrupted with the money from Citizens United (not that it wasn’t already dominated by money before), and that this might help reduce the impact of those propaganda tv ads that literally billions of dollars will be spent on this election. But the larger issue of funding shows isn’t addressed by that.

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  13. Craig says:

    @grumpy realist:

    ‘Grumpy’, I’m picking your post to reply to; you’re a liberal, I’m a liberal. But you use logical fallacies.

    For one, you say you are ‘forced’ to watch the commercials. No, you’re not; no one makes you watch any television. It’s you CHOOSING to watch the tv show – and, shock, there’s a price!

    That price is watching some advertising, not skipping all of it.

    So that one is less a fallacy than just a false statement.

    For another, you say ‘next they’ll not let us go to the bathroom during commercials!’ That’s what’s called a ‘slippery slope’ – a false exagerration.

    There is ZERO CHANCE of what you say will happen happening. The commercial model allows for how people watch ads – they catch some, they go to the bathroom, they grab a snack – it allows for all that and it’s never been a problem, and there is nothing true about your statement that they’ll next say you can’t go to the bathroom.

    People who are upset about the political ads should do something to limit THAT, which is very difficult given the constitutional right to free speech, and the distorted interpretation of it by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision wrongly handing over our political system to the special interests, which pretty much means supporting a constitutional amendment, which is next to impossible to pass on this because Republicans who cheer the corruption control a record number of state governments, and will not pass such an amendment. But that’s the correct fix.

    Newspapers (when they existed) relied on advertising for most of their revenue. A device that would hide all the ads would have destroyed them as a business. Same with commercial TV.

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