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Seriously, Congress? DTV?

Congress has pushed back the Digital TV transition (see "Kill Your Antenna," by Jeff Inglis, January 16) from this week until June, ostensibly to allow the estimated 5.8 million still-unprepared households additional time to get the converter boxes they will need to receive digital television signals broadcast over the airwaves.

We have to note the terrible irony that while Congress has moved rapidly to protect the TV-watching of the very last few stragglers (of the 15 percent of Americans whom this transition affects), they fail to take any action when even more Americans - 16 percent of us - have no health insurance. (Not to mention the 1.1 million people who filed for bankruptcy in 2008, the 3 million households whose homes were foreclosed upon in 2008, or the 3.6 million people who lost their jobs in 2008 - Congress is moving to help them, but only slowly.)

The real complaint here is not at Congress, which is what the military call "a target-rich environment," but at the media for behaving as if people's potential inability to receive television signals is some sort of humanitarian crisis. I will grant the TV stations themselves a small amount of clemency in recognition of their self-interest (and government mandates for "public-service" announcements), but overall the attention spent on this silly situation - which at best affects 15 percent of Americans - is beyond ridiculous when even more Americans face a much graver threat to their lives and well-being.


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