The Coronavirus versus the “cost virus,” the public is paying for it
As American’s continue to suffer through the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, the virus continues to create opportunities for industries like Cable TV for price gouging and requires fees for everything. It’s not subtle. But Americans are being forced to pay a steep price to survive the coronavirus and the Cable TV companies are a part of the problem
By Ray Hanania
The presidential election results are meaningless for most of us. The media makes us think the election has meaning, but it really doesn’t.
In the end, whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden won — the media says Biden won and no one has the right to challenge them without being bullied — your life isn’t really going to change.
The real factor impacting our lives is coronavirus. COVID-19 has changed our lives. Those who buy into the politics of the pandemic are dying. Instead of putting “people over politics” like they claim in Orland Park, for example, the mayor there is putting “politics over people” by discouraging the use of face masks.
Failing to use face masks, maintaining social distancing or constantly washing hands pretty much increases the odds of fatality. The CDC says that using Face Masks has significantly reduced the spread of the infection. And data shows that where Face Masks are not being used, the infection rate has increased, like in Orland Park, the poster child for irresponsible government example by an irresponsible politician.
Most of us severely restrict our activities, working around the house, barbecuing in the backyard or spending time on the Internet fuming over news, envying our friends on Facebook, spewing hate on Twitter, or sending messages and greetings online.
For the first time, I bought a pair of shoes off the internet. Great brand and a third of the price. I still spent money. For many of us, money is getting tight.
Some of us are spending time talking together using technology like Zoom, which has taken online video conferencing to improved but very expensive heights. I host a live radio show in Detroit on Fridays using Zoom and I stream the show on my Facebook page. The old way of actually talking to someone is more satisfying than just ”Tweeting” stupidity or posting angry meaningless comments, or rolling out the photos on social media.
Of course, we spend a lot of time on the boob tube watching the “News.” It’s hard to find a good news channel that is objective or fair.
So, we hunt for entertainment. That’s getting difficult because Hollywood is not making movies. Plans to release the new 007 film were delayed until next year. A debate about diversity is slowing things down. Talent, not color, should drive movie success, but that’s no longer the case.
My TV re-run preferences are fun. Nothing is better than the “Golden Girls.” Every line is a laugh. There is “King of Queens,” the modernday version of “The Honeymooners.” And there is “Seinfeld,” where “nothing” is more compelling than something.
Even then, powerful sitcoms are not enough to fill the empty void. The weekend is supposed to be when we relax and unwind and enjoy something. It’s an important social habit to pack our fun into the weekend. Separating the work week and the weekend is important, especially when our options for travel have become a “stay-cation.”
We can order a pizza, or maybe cook our own “special meal” — I make lamb-stuffed grape leaves or shrimp ceviche — but we find ourselves left in front of the TV where we waste a lot of time searching for something to watch. Something exciting. It’s just not there.
Our primary cable TV provider, Xfinity-Comcast, isn’t good enough. Remove the crappy news programs, and the originality is gone. We’re left watching re-runs. Worse, Xfinity and other cable companies are price gouging, charging us for things that used to be free.
So, we do what we do whenever we face any crises these days. We spend money and subscribe to more cable TV options. I already pay $300 a month for Xfinity (phone, internet and cable access.) I added Apple TV, a little black box connected to the TV where I used to easily buy new movies and watch them from the comfort of my home.
Well, Apple TV is forcing you to purchase a new little black box for $200 — for each TV – to access Apple+. That’s expensive. And then you have to subscribe for $15 a month to get access to the best shows.
There’s Hulu. AmazonPrime. Disney Plus. Each one is a costly monthly subscription. It all adds up. Other channels we get from Xfinity are also spinning off like Showtime, HBO, National Geographic, The History Channel. FX. They want you to pay more for the “better” programming. Oftentimes what you are forced to play for is definitely NOT better.
They offer “basic” programming for the subscription fee, and then they charge you more to get the “better” programs. Yes. You have to pay a subscription fee first in order to be able to hav the privilege of paying even more for the “better” programs and “better” movies.
Xfinity is doing it, forcing you to pay more to watch “better” programs on top of their outrageous monthly fees!
There’s no vaccine to control this infection of greed, exploitation of talentless entertainment or the price gouging that is taking place in the cable industry. There should be. But who is going to fight for us?
Politicians don’t care about Cable TV because the cable companies are pouring money into their campaign accounts. The line is getting crowded with lobbyists for the cable companies, Insurance companies, auto industry, road contractors and other special interests. They all want their piece of our hard-earned tax dollars.
In the end, if coronavirus doesn’t get us, the “cost virus” will. It won’t kill us right away. It will be a slow death as our pennies dribble out of our pocketbooks into the hands of others.
Maybe someone should make a movie about that!
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- Writing my very first news story that ran in the Messenger Press - March 19, 2023