Democratic gym patron declares war on Fox News
She wants channel off TVs in exercise room
By Larry Carson | firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2009
Ann Geddes doesn't want a "fair and balanced" workout. But the 49-year-old worker for a nonprofit agency is having no luck getting the channel changed in front of her favorite rowing machine at a Columbia gym.
The television happens to be tuned permanently to Fox News. Geddes, a liberal Democrat and former legislative aide to a Howard County delegate, said she can't stomach the conservative lineup that appears nightly as she gets her exercise. Even though the sound is off, the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen infuriate her.
"It makes my blood pressure go up," she said.
Befitting the democratic (with a small "d") pedigree of a planned community founded on the principle of races and classes living side by side, Geddes has taken her complaint up the chain of command, from the attendant at the gym run by the Columbia Association to the new president of the giant homeowners' group.
She's had no success. Now she's going public.
Columbia Association officials say they won't heed Geddes' request to remove Fox from the cable lineup. In order to provide choices and eliminate squabbling among patrons, they say that every gym monitor is tuned to a particular station and can't be changed. Of the 40 large-screen televisions in the general exercise rooms in Columbia's three gyms, three are set to receive Fox.
"There is no way that we can stop showing one channel because of one person," said Phil Nelson, the president of the homeowner's group, in a written response to Geddes' request.
Geddes said she's feeling brushed off and doesn't accept the explanation from association officials that Fox is the highest-rated cable news channel. She says that can't be the case in liberal-leaning Columbia, and she insists she is not giving up.
"When it became really upsetting to me was this summer with all the town hall meetings," she said. "I literally just close my eyes, but the problem I have frankly is, I see out of the corner of my eye. You can't help peeking," she said.