Barack Obama does nothing to stop the Comcast-NBC merger

January 18, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

At Huffpo, Josh Silver of Free Press points out the utterly painful trend we’ve seen regarding the President of “Hope” and “Change.”

President Obama is being squeezed by a corrupt Washington that is run by industry lobbyists, fake grassroots groups, massive political spending and PR machines that make the most basic public interest protections impossible to advance. But rather than tell that story, dig in, and fight like a true leader would, Obama has chosen to hire corporate-friendly advisers, compromise on the most crucial substance, and attempt to eke out weak, symbolic, half-victories gift-wrapped in flowery oratory and spin. It’s a losing strategy that has become brutally transparent.

But what about all of those protections of the public that the FCC built into the merger terms.

This merger will touch all corners of the media market, and you won’t be immune. Comcast will jack up the prices that other cable and online distributers pay for NBC content, and those prices will be passed to you. That means higher cable and Internet bills, even if you don’t subscribe to Comcast.

Comcast and the FCC Chairman argue that there are “conditions” applied to the merger that protect the public, (details about the conditions are not out yet) but they fail to mention that the key provisions are either voluntary (no, that’s not a typo), or expire after a few years. Then, all bets are off, as the merger squeezes out what’s left of independent, diverse voices from television dials, and forever changes the Internet as we know it.

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Category: Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Dave Jenkins says:

    Meh. Not sure I care that the President (and his White House) wield their executive powers on a deal like this. Don't get me wrong, I think Comcast is Evil Incarnate, but:

    1. The President has more important things to do, like figure out how to deal with China and the looming monetary disaster

    2. Comcast and NBC will try some things, but please: companies don't try to screw over their customers on purpose, they try to maximize profits. Sometimes those actions screw over customers, and the customers go somewhere else (voila!). In the end, it works out.

    3. Lobbyists are bad– absolutely. But this seems like a case where if the White House waded into this, all they end up doing is getting their hands dirty and blamed for things that are beyond their control (see points #1 and #2 above).

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