The First Draft: Blank screens

June 12, 2009

BASEBALL/Millions of Americans could be staring at blank TV screens tomorrow, when broadcasters switch to digital signals.

The U.S. government has spent years preparing for the switch, which aims to free up airwaves for broadband and enhanced emergency communications.

The change-over will only affect those who get their TV over the air, rather than through cable or satellite connections.

But many consumers probably still haven’t gotten a converter box which will allow them to watch the new digital signals with their rabbit-ear antennas.

That means they’ll miss out on the frothy mix of news and entertainment (newsertainment?) of NBC’s “Today Show,” where this morning Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared she’s “absolutely not necessarily” the future of the Republican Party.

In case you’re wondering, Palin’s still steamed at talk show host David Letterman, who made sexual jokes about her daughter a few nights back.

“It was a degrading comment about a young woman and I would hope people really start rising up and saying it’s not acceptable,” Palin said.

In Washington, the CEOs of General Motors and Chrysler appear before Congress to explain the process of closing dealerships — not a popular move with lawmakers who have taken millions in campaign contributions from car sellers.

President Barack Obama meets Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the White House at 3:30.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (Palin joins former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and wife Judith Nathan at a Yankees game, June 7)

For more Reuters political coverage, click here.


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I am in process of “deprogramming” from the one-eyed salesman that hawks everything from so-called male enhancement (not an esoteric exersise in growth) to the latest infomercials pitching things, “you deserve”, to complete the collection of things for your yard sale. Heaven Forbid the adbotnerds should fail in a quest to convince everyone their purpose is not to be good citizens or parents but good consumers.. enough already!
Insight and Intelligence is a by-product of Hard Work & Diligence: Wisdom is Seeing things from God’s Perspective. — Proverbs 19:8 —

Posted by Folklight | Report as abusive

Well I have a converter box and whether or not I can tune in a station seems to depend on time of day, whatever other electronic things of any kind are anywhere near the setup, the direction the rabbit ears are pointing, the dial setting on the antenna’s base, and where I’m standing in the room. I’m getting to think this was all one big ploy by the cable companies to destroy broadcast TV, make us pay for something we previously got for free. Next it will be water; they already have us believing bottled water is that much better than tap water.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

I guess it’s one thing if you live in an urban or suburban area or have cable but out here in the sticks it’s a different story. We choose not to have cable TV, cable internet but not TV, so far I can’t get two of the major networks. I probably won’t bother to figure it out till this fall. There is to much to do outside this summer to sit and watch TV.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

i can tell by your one sided view of the issues eric that you don,t get fox news,(fair and balanced)but to a more somber note, your side were screaming last year at bush when gas prices went up,profit tax,and accusations about collusion between bush and the oil companies.are we going to see the same double standards from the liberals that we are accustomed to,is obama going to get a free pass?is the party line now,we need high prices to make alternate energy research more necessary?not a mention from the lefty pundits up till now ,here in CA gas 3.20 a gallon for the low grade and rising.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian, if I wanted to watch the train wreck that is Faux News I could watch it online. We do have cable internet out here in the woods. The woods can be a scary place sometimes but not as scary as the fear mongering O’Reilly types that “report” the “news” on the 24 hour news networks. Wasn’t it Faux that referred to the Obama fist bump as a terrorist fist jab? Which one was that fair or balanced?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

I think it was Pew who did a study of the major cable news networks and found that they invite twice as many Republicans on as Democrats to discuss the economy, and consistently favor conservative commentators and politicians on the Sunday political talk shows.
The surprise in this survey was that of all the mainstream cable networks, Fox actually invited the largest percentage of liberal and progressive guests onto its shows than any other news channel. The difference, however, is that Fox invites liberal guests on, and then two or more conservative hosts or other guest commentators gang up on the liberal and ridicule and talk over them for the entertainment of the viewers. It’s called ambush journalism.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

hi getplaning have you got the networks right?i think if you had a word with sarah she might disagree with you.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive