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Boycotts aren't the only answer in 'Duck Dynasty' controversy

File-This Nov. 7, 2013 file photo shows Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, holding the 1 millionth duck call assembled for 2013 at company’s warehouse in West Monroe, La. (AP Photo, The News-Star/Margaret Croft)\n

Boycotts might be a nice gesture, but they're ultimately futile, the Washington Examiner notes today. Boycotting a channel may drive away some advertisers, but because of government regulations on "bundling" channels, you're still paying for access. Instead, the ongoing battle over free speech is a perfect opportunity for Congress to reform cable television:

Unbundling has been a popular idea with consumers for years, but it's never gained the political support needed to become a reality, even though cable and satellite operators have long complained about it. The entertainment industry hates unbundling and lobbies hard to block it because they make more money by forcing consumers to pay for dozens of cable channels they don't watch.

And the Democratic politicians preferred by — and financially supported with campaign donations by — most cable industry leaders are happy to make sure the shakedown continues, justifying it by saying that unbundling would harm the diversity of cable offerings.

So the practice continues, forcing people to pay for MSNBC and CNN so they can watch Fox News — or vice versa — and providing steady income for actors, writers, producers, directors, musicians and studio executives who produce "entertainment" that routinely ridicules conservative and religious Americans and shows contempt for their values.

When A&E executives showed Robertson the door for expressing views shared by many in his audience they knew they didn't have to care because they enjoy a government-enforced cash flow that will continue, boycott or no. Why should they care? It's a captive audience, after all.


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