An atmosphere of fear and hostility—the type, say, exacerbated by the shouting heads of cable news—may be bad for your health. So why would people subject themselves to the aggravation of TV news when they’re working out?
That’s apparently the thinking at Life Time fitness, a Minnesota-based chain of gyms that recently pulled the plug on CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and MSNBC on big-screen televisions at its 128 locations across the country, and on most of its cardio machines, though the latter is just a temporary change. The wall-mounted TVs have the sound turned off; audio can only be heard using headphones.
According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, which first reported it, the change took effect with the new year, though it may take time to roll out to some locations. Going forward, the large TVs will be limited to USA, ESPN, A&E, Discovery, HGTV, and local over-the-air stations.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the company said the decision followed “significant member feedback” and reflected its “commitment to provide family-oriented environments free of consistently negative or politically charged content.” Life Time went on to say it sees the change as “consistent with the desires of overall membership as well as our healthy way of life philosophy.”
As with everything in this vale of tears, the move provoked impassioned responses on social media. One suited-man avatar responded angrily on Twitter, writing, “I am a longtime member and this is outrageous. How dare you censor and prohibit my ability to watch news. You are going to lose me as a member.” Several other commenters got their reps in by calling the change censorship, too. A user who claimed to be a 40-year-old man snarked that he’d fight back by watching CNN on his treadmill, then posted a picture as proof. In 2018, we will each find our own forms of #resistance.
But not everyone tripped into a blinding rage at the loss of cable news from one screen in their life. One tweeter thanked the company, writing, “Some of us use the gym as an escape from the news of the real world for even just an hour for our health and sanity.”
People can watch all the cable news they desire on cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals—but maybe not for a few weeks. As a company spokesperson told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, such machines “currently do not have the ability to display these channels.” The second phase in the “viewing shift” to restore these channels on machines will be completed by the end of February, she said. We contacted the company for comment on the policy and why the channels are temporarily blocked for personal viewing and will update this post if we hear back.
Soon enough, though, you’ll once again be able elevate your heart rate by watching Fox News on the treadmill.
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