With Tempers Hot, A Gym Turns Off Cable News

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A man watches election coverage broadcast as he works out at a fitness training facility in March 2016 in Conway, Ark. (Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

An argument over cable news almost turned physical recently at a YMCA in Scranton, Pennsylvania. So now the gym has decided to ban CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, and it’s not the only health club to take such a measure.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks about the decision with Trish Fisher, CEO of the Greater Scranton YMCA.

Interview Highlights

On what has been happening

“Well over the past, I would say, six months there has been a few different occasions where members came up to me and said, you know, ‘They’re arguing in the men’s locker room over the politics,’ et cetera. And one day, a board member came up to me and said that two gentlemen were having heated words, and that they needed some help back there because it was just about ready to go physical, which it didn’t. But we just don’t feel this is the place for that.”

On whether the Y has considered smaller TVs on each piece of equipment

“No, not really. I mean this is specific to the men’s locker room, because all of our equipment in our main wellness center does have individual earplugs that need to be plugged in to be able to hear the TVs. This is specific to the men’s locker room, and we do have a couple of ideas on how to take care of that, because I really don’t want to quote unquote ‘punish’ all the rest of the members because of just a handful or so of men.”

On what the Y has tried to do to address the problem

“Well, we’ve tried to lock the channels and actually they have brought in universal remotes to change them. But I think we’re just going to take the cable boxes right out of the room.”

On reaction from members after the cable boxes were shut off

“Very different. People are emailing me, they’re calling me, they’re meeting me out in our lobby and throughout the Y just saying this is just such a great idea and saying thank you, and ‘I support you’ and you know, ‘I wish we could have done this a long time ago.’ I’ve had a few express concern about censorship, et cetera. But after I explained to them the reasons… At any one point during the day we have at least 100 children in the building and, you know, we’re all about caring, honesty, respect and responsibility, and our core values. We really have to base everything on that.”

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