New at Brainwash

by on December 19, 2005

In my latest Brainwash column, I take on the silly movement for “a la carte” cable programming mandates.

I focus pretty much exclusively on the economics of the situation. Unfortunately, I fear it won’t be terribly persuasive to a lot of the idea’s supporters, because at root, I think the a la carte issue appeals to some deeper emotional issues–people don’t like the idea that “their” cable dollars are going to pay for channels they don’t approve of. That argument doesn’t make a lot of sense, because there’s no reason to think that “family-friendly” programming would do better than the alternatives in an a la carte world, but when has an economics lesson ever changed anyone’s mind about a “moral” issue? As Adam has argued, the fundamental goal of a lot of a la carte activists is to crusade against smut, not to save consumers money, so the anti-smut activists are unlikely to care that “a la carte” is bad for consumers.

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