Did the rules change? Sort of. Now there's a secret five-person panel who gets to make these decisions, apparently. And even better, the five people on the panel didn't know they were on a panel and didn't know that their views would be used for this purpose. The panel never convened and members were contacted individually.
This isn't a matter of government simply deciding that it wasn't their responsibility to pay for closed captioning in the first place--that'd at least be a consistent decision. And while I've seen commentary that casts this as social/political conservatives locking out dissenting viewpoints, the list of approved shows pretty definitively punctures that--a quick scan shows PBS's "Front Line", the "Story of Evolution" series, and Pacifica/FSTV's "Democracy Now." (Listen to that show for a week to hear what liberal media actually sounds like. Dan Rather will, in comparison, sound like Bill O'Reilly.) If anyone sees a pattern here, I'm sure curious as to what it is.