As someone who lives in the Central Time Zone, I notice a lot of Eastern Time Zone bias.
For example, when the TV networks I watch (especially cable channels) want to alert the viewer to when their shows will be on, they often say something like “The Daily Show is on at 11:00… Eastern. 10:00 Central.” That’s fine, I guess, since the Eastern Time Zone may have more people in it than the Central Time Zone, so a slight preference (their times shown first) is perhaps to be expected. However, I notice a lot of cable channels leaving off the last half of this announcement, instead saying (or showing in words on the screen), “The Daily Show is on at 11:00.”
So, basically, the cable channels are deliberately not telling me the correct time for any of their shows. After a while, one gets used to automatically subtracting an hour from any time given by the TV set… but that can be a problem too, since the local channels are smart enough to tell the viewers the correct time for their programs. So, if the TV tells me that a show is on at 8:00, I have to first think to myself whether or not this is a local channel or not… and if not, then I have to subtract an hour.
And I know it doesn’t have to be this way. I don’t get announcements about what time the programs come on in the other continental USA time zones (Mountain and Pacific), so I know they can be more specific if they want to. I guess one of Cecil’s columns mentioned that TV channels tend to send out their programs at two times: one for Central & Eastern, and one for Mountain & Pacific. But even so, I notice on my local cable channel some very local advertisements (ads for restaurants and other services located in this very tiny city). So, it is possible to tailor ads for the local communities… so why don’t they?
Is it really preferable that half of their customers are told the wrong time to watch the programs? Or do they just suspect that us Central-ers are so smart we can figure out when to watch even if told the wrong time?
(I wonder if Mountain Time Zone people have the same complaints.)
But it’s not just the TV companies. National news broadcasters are just as guilty of assuming that people only care about the Eastern Time Zone.
For example, when reporting on disasters, the national news (at least in my experience) tends to primarily report on when these disasters occured in the Eastern Time Zone… even if the disasters did not occur in the Eastern Time Zone.
I mean, sure, it seems reasonable to tell me when the 9/11 disaster happened, using the Eastern Time Zone method of reckoning time, since the disaster happened in the Eastern Time Zone. But when you tell me about the shuttle disaster (which occured within the Central Time Zone) and when I am living in the Central Time Zone, I expect to be told when the disaster happened, using the Central Time Zone method of reckoning time… however, the first reports about the shuttle disaster that I heard first announced the time in the E.T.V. method of reckoning time, only then later mentioning, “By the way, that would be some other time in the Central Time Zone where the disaster occured.”