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»  October 9, 2007


Comcast Pulls MSNBC Off Analog Cable in Portland

In Portland, Oregon -- a city known to the Bush family for nearly two decades as "Little Beirut" -- we've got limited options for cable service (just like most other major metro areas). In our case, it's mega-giant Comcast.

We've been toodling along with our old non-digital cable hookup for years. An Expanded Basic program has given us more than enough crap to choose from, especially with a DVR to record anything we might want. News on the three main cable networks as well as the Northwest Cable News, the Travel Channel for Anthony Bourdain, Home & Garden TV to laugh at what people call decor, the Sci-Fi Channel for mindless entertainment.

But all of that's about to change at the end of the month. Along with Oxygen and Hallmark Channel and a couple of shopping channels, as we move into the final months of the primary season Comcast is making one of the cable news networks unavailable to non-digital subscribers. Would that be GOP house organ FOX News? CNN with their steady diet of celebrity gossip and Glenn Beck? Or did I give it away in the title?

There are a lot of possible reasons for this change. I don't really think that Comcast is moving the network that carries the likes of Keith Olbermann, David Schuster, and even Chris Matthews over to digital-only to restrict the number of viewers of their non-wingnut shows. People with digital set-top boxes won't be affected aside from the channel change from 47 to 128 (The Weather Channel is going in at 47 -- it was 50 -- and The History Channel is moving to 50 from 37; don't ask me why). I don't even know if this change is going to be duplicated outside of the Portland metro area.

But it irks me that as we're really getting into the meat of the political season that the most non-conservative national cable news outlet is -- even in a restricted area, if that's the case -- going to require me to pony up at least another $1 a month, after rates have already increased this year. It's like they know people who would watch Countdown and Hardball (even though I'm not a regular viewer of either one) will have to bite the bullet if they want to keep up on the news and not have it filtered through the likes of Brit Hume.

Tue Oct 09, 2007 15:44 -0700