Gates on CSPAN

Robert S. Thau (
Thu, 1 May 1997 11:54:27 -0400 (EDT) writes:

> But I just wonder, isn't CSPAN paid for by MY tax dollars? How do
> [Microsoft] rate to get this type of coverage? (Ok, well I know
> that already)

That's odd... I could have sworn it was paid for by your cable TV
bills, not your taxes. According to their own propaganda at, "C-SPAN is a private, non-profit business venture of
the cable television industry. Even though the network's programming
covers the political process, the network receives no funding from the
government. C-SPAN obtains its operating funds from the cable systems
that offer the network to their customers."

This has been widely interpreted as an attempt to curry favor with
Congress generally by giving them a free, unfiltered broadcast-oid
channel directly into the homes of likely voters and campaign
contributors (which is, of course, not to say that the service is not
valuable and worthy; this is one case where even I can muster two
tepid cheers for enlightened self-interest).

That interpretation, however, does make it a bit easier to guess at
what the minions of Redmond are doing on C-SPAN. Mayhap the cable
industry now feels it useful (particularly in the light of the recent
digital broadcast format fracas and the imminent deployment of the
teledesic swarm) to curry favor with Bill?