DeMint and Kerry disagree on effect of the Cable Act


Jim DeMintJim DeMint (R-SC) thinks the Cable Act is no longer necessary and should go away; John Kerry (D-MA) says it did what it was supposed to and is still needed.

DeMint, who has made no secret of his desire to strip rules governing the communications space off the books for some time, said that competition abounds in the video marketplace. He cited the existence of two satellite services to compete with cable as one piece of evidence.

He said that local broadcasting is a key component of the video landscape, but said that the need for must carry/retransmission consent no longer exists. Since they have continued to prove their worth, they should be able to negotiate their own deals with MVPDs without any government role.

Kerry argued that the first thing MVPDs could do under DeMint’s scheme is go out of market to get broadcast programming – it network programming can be had for less from a distant station, it ultimately puts local content at risk. He said he hoped DeMint would keep an open mind on the topic and think through the impacts of removing retrans from the regulatory landscape.

That said, Kerry expressed his strong desire to find a way to settle retransmission disputes without resorting to programming blackouts.