Accuracy in Media

Officials at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport have caved in to complaints from some passengers that the cable networks were politically biased and have decided to drop the networks from the airport’s television screens.

From AZ Central

Fox News and CNN won’t be playing on the flat-screen TVs that bring the world to passengers at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s Charles L. Williams Terminal.

The airport’s governing board is handing the remote control to a firm that specializes in airing flight information and other relevant programming on big-screen televisions.

The contract with ProDIGIQ Inc., approved Monday by the airport’s governing board, removes the board and airport staff from any television network-selection controversy among passengers while creating an advertising revenue stream for Gateway, said Brian Sexton, airport spokesman.

“Fox and CNN generate complaints because some passengers see them as politically biased,” he said. “There are also some passengers who desire to watch one sports game over another.”

Although there have been relatively few complaints about FOX and CNN – a handful or so directed at each network – it’s an indication that there are strong feelings and it’s probably best that the airport avoid the bickering if possible, Sexton said.

ProDIGIQ is no stranger to the “polarizing” channel fuss that has been evident at many other airports, said Arpit Malaviya, the company’s vice president of business development.

He said the company, through contracts with advertisers and communications companies, airs information that is politically neutral and relevant to passengers.

“ProDIGIQ controls the content, which is helpful,” he said. “This removes the airport from the role of determining what stations will be airing while the programming is producing ad revenue. It gives us the option to promote airport messages via a television format.”

“This agreement . . . is unique, in that it offers an ability to place commercials on a closed television network,” Sexton said.

The passengers may regret complaining now that instead of news of any kind they will be subjected to flight information (boring) and airport produced or sponsored commercials (even more boring).

Considering that all the airports that I have passed through over the years have only offered CNN and the fact that I’m unaware of any protest movement against their dominance in this sector I suspect that the complaints really came from a few liberals who hate Fox News rather than conservatives railing against CNN.

In the end it’s much ado about nothing.

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