Sunday, December 30, 2007

CORRUPTION I CAN LIVE WITH. Apparently Pat Leahy and Arlen Specter (with an assist from John Kerry) leaned on the NFL to put tonight's Pats-Giants game on local TV.

National Review culture scold S.T. Karnick is outraged: "This is just the latest example of overweening, overpowering, stifling government regulation of the economy, the society and the culture."

So is Townhall: "Talk about a misuse of political power. Ahhh, wait, that's typical Democrats in action. They always misuse their power and make gains by making threats. Typical."

So is Wizbang, albeit with a bit more shirt-retucking and harrumphs:
Those stations had negotiated with the NFL in good faith, paid good money, and stood to reap the rewards of their foresight and good fortune by having exclusive rights to air what promised to be the most-watched game of the year -- possibly even dwarfing the Super Bowl.

Sometimes, though, there's such a thing as too much good luck. Envy reared its ugly head.

A lot of people hadn't signed up for the NFL network, and didn't live near enough to New York or Boston to pick up the game. They didn't like that one bit. And when they expressed their displeasure loudly enough, Congress heard -- and started making threatening noises...

So, what happens to WWOR and WCVB? The phrase "tough shit" comes to mind. They made deals in good faith, bet a hell of a lot on their agreement with the NFL to pay off in ad revenues and exclusivity, and are now being punished for making too good a deal...
Oh please oh please oh please let this get around.

Because as petty as the whole thing is, it does show Democratic politicians doing something that won them glory and power in days gone by: working the system to bring goodies to constituents.

Being something of a libertarian (i.e., kind of a dork) I understand the conservative good-government argument against the Congresscritters' finnagling. But being something of a human being as well, I think most normal people will not focus on the goo-goo free-market angle, and will instead notice that these Democrats muscled some large and powerful interests to get their peeps access to the Big Game. And I imagine their sympathies will be more on the side of the fans than on those of the media and sports empires that took the hit.

If as the political arm of the conservative movement the GOP is smarter and better organized than I think they are at present, they would flood the zone, claiming this malfeasance hurts all football fans, and producing videos with sinister music showing good Republicans forced to watch government-mandated, Soviet-style sporting events because the liberal fascist traitor Kerry loves Big Gummint. They might even claim that as a young sportscaster, Ronald Reagan once refused to go on the air because a similarly corrupt deal had been made. (He surely must have had a sick day that they can thus portray.) But at present they're too fragmented and busy attacking some crappy Presidential candidate on behalf of another crappy Presidential candidate.

This leaves it to bloggers and other operatives to tell America how awful it is that politicians violated the sacred rights of corporations so that people could watch a mere football game, and to their commenters to announce how they boycotted the game rather than enable statism. Which will earn them all the respect such a stand is likely to generate.

I don't give the Democrats much credit for brains, either, so it's a slim hope that this is a stalking horse for further government interference. They let us get away with changing the broadcast rights to a football game? Cool! Now let's pass a Net Neutrality Act!

But at the very least they've produced a political event that recalls the grand traditions of James Michael Curley and George Washington Plunkitt and the days when the Democratic Party was strongly associated with the common man.

No comments:

Post a Comment