Good Sense Or Censorship?

January 15, 2018

By now you’ve probably heard the news that Life Time Fitness has decided to remove the national cable news networks from the programming choices offered at its gyms across the country. No longer will CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC be shown on TV screens, as Life Time tries to implement an “overall healthy way of life philosophy and commitment to provide family-oriented environments.”

Based on some of the other cable channels still in rotation at Life Time, this isn’t about family-oriented programming. This is about politics.

Many have pointed to this move as censorship or that Life Time is promoting ignorance or being uninformed.

The sad reality is that polarizing political views are interjected into nearly every aspect of our lives. A quick peek at the comments that accompany the hundreds of articles about this story show how quickly things spiral into political squabbling and hateful arguments.

Heck, there aren’t many stories about any topic – sports, business, music, puppies – in which the comments don’t get political. And it’s not limited to anonymous web commentary. I’ve personally witnessed multiple instances of people in public settings (airports, bars, barber shops, etc.) making their politically charged feelings known to strangers around them.

So it’s not hard to imagine that kind of negativity escalating in a setting where there are dozens of TVs tuned into talking heads shouting about politics around the clock.

If Life Time wants to be the brand that offers an escape for that, they have every right to do so. They may lose business from news junkies. But they just might attract some folks who want their gym to be a place for relieving stress, not creating it.