Patrons work out on steppers while watching monitor at the Lifetime Fitness in Commerce Township. Monday, December 22, 2008(Photo: WILLIAM ARCHIE, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo
Some say it‘s an effort to promote good health and wellness and provide people with a place to escape the awful realities of the world around us
Others say it‘s censorship.
But really, it‘s just sad.
Here‘s the situation: Life Time Fitness — which owns 128 gyms in the United States and Canada — announced via Twitter that it has decided to ban national cable network news stations from its gyms‘ TV screens because the programming is bad for our health.
While watching cable news has proven a highly effective way of increasing my heart rate (the screaming, the yelling, the ugh-factor), Life Time believes cable news goes against the gym‘s goal: “to provide family oriented environments free of consistently negative or politically charged content.”
Its new policy, Life Time says, “is consistent” with “the desires of overall membership as well as our healthy way of life philosophy.”
Which means no CNN, no FOXNEWS, no MSNBC at Life Time.
Many people feel strongly about the decision. Here‘s a sampling of their comments to LIfe Time via
♦ Very angry that LT think its acceptable to censor what we watch. …
♦ … With no negative news to distract me, this AM I enjoyed watching the LTV music videos with scantily clad women. Much more family friendly! Thank you for banning the news channels!
♦I agree with you on this. 24 hour cable news is the worst thing that has happened to this country. They all have compromised truth for ratings. It’s very poisonous.
♦ People complaining about a TV at a gym are those January warriors that will be gone in February.
♦ Thank you. There is so much enriching programming on TV, no need to have people on treadmills hating each other because of the news channel they watch/request.
And finally, Pete Hegseth, a Fox News contributor: Hey , why did you cave to a few snowflake whiners and turn off ? I‘m a member, and while I don‘t love watching #FakeNews or Socialist — I‘m an adult and can handle it. America is about CHOICE, not CENSORSHIP. #sad
As near as I can figure, Life Time has every right to makes rules. For example, Life Time in Troy does not, according to rules on its website, permit vulgar or profane communications. It also doesn‘t allow weapons. No problem, right?
And Life Time isn‘t saying that club members can‘t watch cable news on their own personal devices. It‘s saying it‘s not going to show cable news on the big screens it provides.
Now, there‘s no denying the news is miserable: mass shootings, natural disasters, sexual harassment, crime, corruption, North Korea. It‘s scary. It‘s stressful. (And we all need to escape sometimes — I mean, there‘s a reason so many of us spent the holiday season watching those sappy, feel good movies on the Hallmark Channel.)
But add politics — which is the bread and butter of cable news — and its downright horrifying. Why? Because the biggest headline in politics right now . And while he may think he is a the truth is he‘s a hugely polarizing figure who has served to divide the public more than any other president I can think of.
Many, many, many people find him to be a racist, sexist man without any sense of diplomacy or decency — think: “shithole countries” — who lacks the temperament or brainpower to be the leader of the free world.
Others believe him to be the best thing since forever.
And the level of anger both sides feel toward each other is striking.
I can‘t imagine a gym banning cable news at any other time in history. We may have had our differences in the past, but nothing like the abject hate so many of us have for each other now. Hate that in many ways is exacerbated by the leader of the free world and feels sanctioned by him, too.
I know friends who, in an effort to avoid argument and upset, refuse to watch cable news together.
And that‘s why all this, is so sad.
Georgea Kovanis: gkovanis
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