Ferries Turn Off Cable News Stations After Passengers Complain That Politics Are Too Contentious

The channels are changing on board the Steamship Authority after the Massachusetts ferry line said passengers were complaining about the cable news programming the boats are usually airing.

The ferry line's board voted unanimously this week to change their television policy, saying politics are too contentious. Instead of showing cable networks such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, the ferry crews will stick to channels they think are less likely to cause a battle over the boat's remote.

"Unfortunately, boats are like little isolated islands, and there's no place for anger," Elizabeth Gladfelter, who represents Falmouth on the ferry line board, said. "But I think it is a sad commentary on our society when politics are more contentious than sports."

Examples of channels that will now be playing include the Weather Channel, the Discovery Channel and the Food Network. At the Woods Hole terminal Friday, not everyone was on board with their decision.

"It's just one more thing," passenger Betsy Kaden said. "They take away our rights and our freedom. Why?"

It is a decision the Steamship Authority's general manager said is not about censoring, but is ultimately about making the trip more relaxing after receiving complaints on both sides.

"In the past year or so, we've received a renewed sense of customer complaints about the choices of what we're showing," General Manager Bob Davis said.

The complaints have them steering away from some news programming, but they will still show sports and local news. However, some cannot help but wonder what they won't be able to see at sea next.

"I don't know what happens in the summer when there's a Red Sox-Yankees game," Gladfelter said.

Contact Us