Steamship Authority Pulls the Plug on National Cable News Channels

FILE – In this March 18, 2016, file photo, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

HYANNIS – Television hosts Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity have been thrown overboard from Steamship Authority vessels.

The boat line’s board this week voted to prohibit TVs on their vessels from showing national cable news channels.

That means CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and PBS will no longer be seen while traveling back and forth from the Cape and Islands.

Steamship Authority General Manager Bob Davis told the CapeCod.com NewsCenter that passengers from both political aisles have been loudly complaining about the content.

“There’s been a renewed sense of customers contacting us to say they don’t agree with us showing some of those shows on board the vessels,” said Davis.

So to avoid any scuffles that could have broken out on board — verbal or more extreme — they decided more sedate and non-offending content would be aired.

That means only local news programs, sports and cable channels like The Weather Channel and Food Network will be shown on board.

“We came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to show local news during the local news hours,” Davis said.

After the local news is over, channels will then be switched to sports programming, or other networks like the Discovery Channel.

“Something that is hopefully not divisive,” said Davis, who did acknowledge that sports can be equally controversial at times.

The boat line manager said that when they first instituted a television policy several years ago, they were only going to air national news programs.

But as the political climate grew increasingly rabid since President Donald Trump’s election, Davis said passengers became more upset with the political content on the cable channels.

And he said those complaints came from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“It’s on both sides of the aisle, so why put our customers in that situation where they’re watching something they don’t want to see,” Davis said.

Memos explaining the new policy went out to all terminals and employees Friday morning.

The Steamship Authority runs ferry service between Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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