– At least not in restaurants.

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It used to be, when you visited a restaurant or tavern, you could ask the proprietor to change the television channel to whatever you wanted to watch, assuming you were the first one there. First come, first served. It’s not like that anymore, if you go to a restaurant or tavern today, you will likely not see any news channels, just sports or perhaps something mundane such as cooking, game shows, or home improvement. The one exception might be a local channel featuring weather and traffic reports, but nothing of national significance.

Television news may support political dogma, but like so many other things in our lives, it too has become politicized. Patrons today are quick to ask the manager to change the channel if the news doesn’t fit their political ideology. Because of this, proprietors typically have standing orders for their employees to play nothing more than sports on television as they want to avoid arguments and fights. The one exception is a proprietor who fervently believes in a certain political persuasion and will run the news regardless of what the patrons think. Inevitably, only certain types of political patrons will gravitate to the establishment. More on this later.

Republicans prefer Fox News, while Democrats will watch just about anything else. Their preference though is for CNN and MSNBC. Interestingly, Fox News dominates cable news and even challenges the major networks. Either way, when it comes to patrons in restaurants or taverns, they are insulted by the selected news channel and make their displeasure known to the manager. This presents a “no-win” situation for the proprietor which explains why he/she avoids showing news on any TV set; period.

This phenomenon has been expanding to other establishments over the years, such as gyms. You might be able to watch news on a private screen attached to your exercise machine, but displaying news on a big screen is typically a no-no.

I’ve also seen this in cigar shops where smokers relax with a good smoke and talk. However, the only genre on the televisions, if they have one, is sports.

The waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and hospitals also assume a no-news policy as they do not want to upset any of their patients. Instead of sports though, they will play Soap Operas and talk shows, but even this might also be politically touchy. There seems to be a movement in such environments to eliminate televisions altogether from waiting rooms, thereby leaving patients with cheap magazines to read. Even news magazines are avoided as they have also been politicized, such as “Time.” Instead, these facilities typically feature publications such as “People,” “Better Homes and Garden,” “Southern Living,” “Ladies Home Journal,” “Reader’s Digest” and “Sports Illustrated.” I believe it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a a copy of “Hustler” in any of these waiting rooms.

This all hints at the political polarity of the country and why people tend to avoid discussing politics. The days of calm and civil discourse are, unfortunately, long gone. People simply do not know how to argue politely anymore. Instead, everything turns into a shouting match with profanity and name calling. It’s rather sad.

If you visit a public establishment, do not expect anything other than bland television. Proprietors want to simply keep the peace. You can try to ask the manager to change the channel, but don’t be offended if you receive a firm “NO!” instead. However, if you are allowed to change the channel, make sure you have the approval of everyone else in the facility.

One last note: Some restaurants and taverns today are bucking conventional wisdom by designing their establishments around political agendas in the hopes of establishing a local support group (and increase sales in the process). Some are designed specifically to attract Republicans, others for Democrats. I haven’t seen anything yet for Libertarians, Communists or the Green Party, then again, maybe they don’t imbibe.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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