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Groups Urge FCC To Block NBC-Comcast Merger

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-tv-is-comcastic-enough-thanks dept.

Government 160

GovTechGuy writes "A coalition of media companies, labor groups and privacy advocates have combined to urge the FCC to block the proposed merger of NBC Universal and cable giant Comcast. In a letter sent to the FCC Monday (PDF), the groups argue the new $30 billion entity would have unprecedented control over the media landscape, raising antitrust concerns. Among the threats listed are the potential for the new media giant to violate net neutrality and favor its own content both on television and online."

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160 comments

Makes sense to me... (3, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644406)

I think monopoly is bad enough, but when you have businesses getting both into the content and distribution business, it allows for market abuse.

Re:Makes sense to me... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644560)

really?

I love Steam

Re:Makes sense to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644610)

What about if Valve goes out of business, what then? the "unlock" patch seems like an empty promise. I doubt the creditors would allow it.

Re:Makes sense to me... (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644942)

The community has already provided said patches. You can find them in the usual locations.

Re:Makes sense to me... (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645208)

The rules change when you are talking about monopolies and other powerful companies. People tend to not worry about Valve's integration because they are small enough to not need to worry about. Comcast and NBC on the other hand are two very large companies with significant power behind them. When you get to that scale, they start behaving more like landless states then private companies, and thus governments need to treat them as such.

Re:Makes sense to me... (2, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644778)

Yeah... it's like owning Park Place, Boardwalk, AND all the railroads at the same time. It sucks when it isn't you. :p

Re:Makes sense to me... (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645060)

Yeah... it's like owning Park Place, Boardwalk, AND all the railroads at the same time. It sucks when it isn't you. :p

No, it's a lot worse than that. In Monopoly, when someone else owns a lot of valuable properties, at least it's another player who has the same goals you have, albeit adversarial. When your opponent makes money, although he takes it from you, it at least stays in the game and the rules don't change. Through smart play and careful management, you at least have a chance to get some of that back. There is still capital in the game. You can borrow, you can play.

When corporations own the same monopoly of say, all the railroads and both utilities, it changes the fundamental rules of the game. It doesn't just add to their holdings, it wrecks the game for everybody. They don't want to just beat you, they want to make it so that you can't ever play again. People tend to make some fundamental mistakes when thinking about corporations. They're not people. They're legal fictions with destruction of the market built into their fictional DNA. Their agenda is of a much different nature than yours or mine.

Re:Makes sense to me... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645380)

Well also there's the fact that Monopoly is... you know... a game. When someone owns Park Place, Boardwalk, and the railroads it simply "sucks when it isn't you". You were trying to do the same thing, because that's the point of the game. You're not worried about whether the railroads continue to provide good service to their customers, because that's not part of the game.

But what we're talking about here is telecommunications infrastructure and information dissemination. These are not simply entertainment services, but you're talking about companies that control portions of the Internet and the news. These are essentially vital public services that we allow private companies to perform under the belief that private companies will do a better job. We can't afford to allow them to be abused, since it could have dire consequences for the future of our society. Worse: In an era where we could realistically damage our own planet to the point of making it unlivable for ourselves, abusing telecommunications infrastructure and information dissemination could threaten the existence of our species.

Whereas Monopoly is a game.

Re:Makes sense to me... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645546)

It's better to own the orange properties than the dark blue. The orange are right after the jail, and there is a chance card that sends you to Illinois ave. Not only that, but Park Place is right after the "Go to jail" space, so it's missed a lot.

Re:Makes sense to me... (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645004)

Time-Warner has been doing this for years. This is just the latest entry in a long trend of media consolidation (one almost certain to continue)

Re:Makes sense to me... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645268)

Only thing: I think TWC was spun off into a separate company, and isn't actually controlled by Time Warner.

Monopolies.. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645310)

..are not always bad, but if they aren't well regulated/watched, free market goes out the window and it never turns out good for the consumer.

I'm not worried (3, Funny)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644410)

So what? I don't have Comcast.

Re:I'm not worried (1)

Maarx (1794262) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644462)

So what? I don't have Comcast.

A valid question for discussion. What implications does this have for those of us who use neither the services of NBC nor the services of Comcast?

Re:I'm not worried (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644514)

I find it hard to believe that you don't use at least something in the following list all owned by NBC.

NBC, Universal Studios, NBC Universal Television Group, NBC News, USA Network, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC Cable TV, NBC.com, MSNBC.com, iVillage, Bravo, qubo, Telemundo Television Studios, The Weather Channel, Hulu, A&E Television Networks

All from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBC_Universal

Re:I'm not worried (0)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644750)

NBC - nope
Universal Studios - nope
NBC Universal Television Group - nope
NBC News - no need, it's all from AP or Reuters
USA Network - nope
Syfy - nope
CNBC - no need, it's all from AP or Reuters
MSNBC Cable TV - no need, it's all from AP or Reuters
NBC.com - hell no
MSNBC.com - hell no
iVillage - WTF? no
Bravo - nope
qubo - WTF? no
Telemundo Television Studios - no
The Weather Channel - nope, better and more accurate forecasts elsewehre
Hulu - nope
A&E Television Networks - nope

Of course, I watch very little TV, and virtually no movies. It's not hard to avoid a company when you're not part of their target audience.

so you are ok with missing the 2012 games? 2010 me (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644858)

so you are ok with missing the 2012 games? But the 2010 mess says that NBC better drop it orlet comcast do it they do a much better job with sports.

Re:so you are ok with missing the 2012 games? 2010 (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644960)

Since they play more human interest crap than events, I think many folks would be ok with missing the olympics.

I realize those pieces are cheaper, but they are pointless.

Re:so you are ok with missing the 2012 games? 2010 (0)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645112)

Yes, I'm fine with missing all of the olympics, regardless of the year. I don't find sports all that interesting.

Re:I'm not worried (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644860)

It's not hard to avoid a company when you're not part of their target audience.

Is it hard to act so smug about it, or does that come naturally?

Re:I'm not worried (2, Funny)

tibman (623933) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644894)

*gasp* You don't watch stargate?!

eek, what about when battlestar was running? what about farscape! The outer limits? oh god.. the horror

Re:I'm not worried (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645544)

Don't worry, he was just playing the devil's advocate to make a point.

But if he really never watched those shows and is still reading /. then he might be the devil himself.

Re:I'm not worried (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644938)

Hey look, you're famous: Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television [theonion.com]

Of course, you probably don't have any friends. Its not hard to avoid people when you're not part of their target "friendship demographic" am I right?

Re:I'm not worried (0)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645128)

I've got a TV, I just don't spend all evening camped out in front of it. Nice try though.

And I've got enough friends, thank you.

Re:I'm not worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32645202)

Wow, your so cool that even though this conversation has nothing of interest for you, you decided to drop in and let us know how much cooler you are then us.

Re:I'm not worried (2, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645252)

AP and Reuters represent an indirect effect. Both organizations sell their content to downstream providers like many of the sub companies owned by NBC. As NBC/Comcast become more powerful, they become larger consumers of what AP/Reuters put out. Once a downstream becomes powerful enough, they can start exerting pressure upward on content and focus, or potentially (if they find another source they prefer) cut them out and reduce their exposure, which reduces their funding/strength, which results in worse services. So while they do not directly effect you, the merger effects companies that you do interact with.

Re:I'm not worried (3, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645356)

So you're among the very few people who exist on the internet who don't access any of the regular forms of entertainment. Even I don't watch TV but given the movies I've SEEN in my lifetime let alone what I may want to see in the future, its nearly impossible to miss universal studios. Even if I had somehow managed to dodge every VCR, DVD, and Blu-ray in the world and never visitted a movie theatre I would have somehow played one of the video games loosely based off of one of their movies.

And all of its really a moot point though - even if YOU aren't DIRECTLY affected, perhaps half of your friends are affected by NBC and with anti-trust media practices you'll get very 1 sided opinions forming, so you'll either have to ditch half your friends for being narrow minded, or you'll have to be annoyed by your friends every time they're around, or you and your friends will become the social outcasts of society. You know the kinds, who don't work well with others in the work-place because they can't talk about current events and if they do, they upset other people when they tell them they are wrong, and it won't matter if you're right because your manager will get pissed that you are refuting the very facts they believe coming from their "trusted source". It's like if you don't jump on board you're "That guy" that no one wants to invite out to lunch.

However, if you live under a rock, like to play chess by yourself by torchlight, and only visit the internet by tapping binary into a magnetic rock that sends signals to an access point, than you probably won't be affected by this merger too much.

Re:I'm not worried (3, Insightful)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644844)

Personally, I only use one from that particular list (SciFi), and I wouldn't care too much if I lost it. Regardless, I'm still very concerned about NBC-Comcast because of the dangerous precedent it might set. If the merger went through and NBC-Comcast was able to start favoring its own content (even in a small way), you know it would only be a matter of time until Time Warner and such start making similar deals. By then, it may be too late to stop without turning the market upside-down.

Turning the market upside-down may not be a bad thing, but I'd hate to have to find out that way.

Re:I'm not worried (2, Interesting)

Que914 (1042204) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644968)

Many people who are customer of Comast are out of necessity, not choice. All the same, it has a couple of implications for non-customers with an overriding theme of big media maintaining their control on culture distribution.

Prior to the Internet broadcast video content had something of a natural monopoly simply by the limited bandwidth over the airwaves. The Internet has a lot of potential to change that because it doesn't suffer from the same limitation. I consume a great deal of "TV Show" like content that's not on TV so my Internet connection is essentially competing with the TV Networks.

To demonstrate, hypothetically say I'm a recent film student grad who has a great idea for a TV show (and for the sake of argument lets pretend it is good). I've enough money to produce it myself, but I have no notoriety and have zero chance of getting a network to distribute it. Alternatively, I could put it up on the web, try and get some ad revenue, or maybe if good enough charge users to download. But now, I'm competing with Comcast/NBC and since Comcast/NBC is in both content and distribution, they may well 'traffic shape' in such a way that interferes with traffic of competing products, so out of the gate my potential audience is reduced by 30% (or whatever Comcast's market share is).

That's the problem with this, and what's more important, that why they want to merge.

Re:I'm not worried (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645358)

While I make very little use of the content that NBC provides, I am a Comcast customer. I really do not like that Comcast is both a service provider and a content provider. I am not happy that the precedent was set with Time-Warner. I would like to see the roles of content provider and service provider separated. Unfortunately, I have little confidence in government regulation accomplishing that in a way that is consumer friendly.

Re:I'm not worried (3, Funny)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644464)

So, it's okay for Comcast and NBC to merge then? What about Fox and Cox? Would you claim that rocks?

Re:I'm not worried (3, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644502)

They could have a very successful Furry channel together...

No sir, I do not want green eggs and ham (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644862)

What about Fox and Cox?

Fox already has plenty of cocks in their news division. I don't see what such a merger would get them...

Re:I'm not worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644990)

So, it's okay for Comcast and NBC to merge then? What about Fox and Cox? Would you claim that rocks?

I would not watch that in a Box.

Re:I'm not worried (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645096)

"Fox and Cox" is pretty funny! But FOX has been linked up with multichannel programming providers before.

NewsCorp (which owns the FOX Broadcasting Corporation) already has a 39% stake in BSkyB. Before 2008, NewsCorp held a managing interest in The DirecTV Group (which has now been sold off to Liberty Media). NewsCorp also has a 25% interest in Foxtel (Australia), a 44% interest in SKY Network Television New Zealand, a 45% interest in Sky Deutschland, a 20% interest in Tata Sky (India), as well as outright ownership of Sky Italia and STAR TV (300 million viewers in 53 countries).

Re:I'm not worried (3, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645292)

What about Fox and Cox? Would you claim that rocks?

That Fox and Cox! That Fox and Cox! I do not like that Fox and Cox. The merger rocks for Fox and Cox. But put them both into a box. And keep them both secured with locks.

Re:I'm not worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644472)

And once the merger goes through, you won't have NBC either!

Let it happen (4, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644478)

I vote to let it happen and then watch it fail. It may take a few years, but it will most certainly fail. If history is any indication, the bigger companies get the more out of touch they get with their customers and the more fragile their success becomes.

Re:Let it happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644496)

Because that's worked so well with Microsoft?

Re:Let it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644690)

Becoming huge... Worked well for AIG. We paid for them to fail again...it may take a few years....

Re:Let it happen (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644702)

Because that's worked so well with Microsoft?

The sheer size of a company doesn't neccessarily make it fail, and may even be a benefit under certain conditions. What helped kill companies like the mega TW-AOL merger is making a huge company out of such dissimilar parts and cultures. TW both overestimated and didn't understand the value of AOL, nor of the Internet at all. It looked good on a balance sheet, but didn't work well in real life. Compare this to a company like Boeing that buys a competitor (McDonnell-Douglas for example). It's one airplane maker buying another. Same market, similar cultures, and a greater liklihood of success.

NBC-Comcast will in no way be a monopoly... there's plenty of competition out there. So let them merge. If they suceed, great. If not, let their investors bear the burden of the decision. That's how commerce works.

Re:Let it happen (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644800)

They are be a monopoly in some areas. Only one cable company gets control of the wires in a certain area.

Here in the US, a person usually has two choices, perhaps if lucky 3, perhaps if unlucky, none: Cable, DSL, or WiMax. Switching may not be an option. So, it may be that people get Comcast or dialup.

I might not spy monopoly, but I can see collusion happening. Get another ISP and then start charging for bandwidth. Unless the site is a "premium" site. Guess what? People will get worried if they exceed their quota, and hit the "free" site because it is "just as good". With net neutrality dead, there is nothing preventing ISPs from doing this.

Or perhaps the ISP would just not allow connections to anything other than the "blessed" sites, unless the person pays a fee per month and per kilobyte to go outside of the walled, paid for, garden. Perfectly legal, and unless someone steps in, this eventually will become reality.

Re:Let it happen (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645490)

TW both overestimated and didn't understand the value of AOL, nor of the Internet at all. It looked good on a balance sheet, but didn't work well in real life.

AOL bought Time-Warner, not the other way around. AOL bought TW when AOL was on the top of its game, but everybody could see the writing on the wall. At the time, TW was struggling, it was heavily invested in print media, where revenues were falling precipitously. AOL thought they could use TW's content to save themselves. It is not clear to me if AOL failed to obtain sufficient control over TW with the purchase to execute its plan, or if AOL just didn't have a clear plan in the first place. However, even though the purchase failed to save the AOL side, it was a great move because AOL shareholders became TW shareholders at a time when TW was looking ready to fail (and probably would have without the cash infusion from AOL).

Re:Let it happen (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644920)

Yeah, look at how they dominating the new mobile market.

MS can use lockin, these guys really can't. Without lockin MS would be out of business already.

Re:Let it happen (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644650)

But if you control the entire entertainment and delivery vertical for a population that has only one choice in delivery, then there is no need to be in touch with your customer. Remember ATT? "We're the phone company, we don't have to care."

Re:Let it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644684)

Exactly. The more out of touch they are with customers, the more customers fail.

Re:Let it happen (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644714)

Until a vocal majority of people stand up to oppose mega corporations they will continue to exist and thrive. The only way, or so it seems at least, to motivate people into action is putting them into a position of desperation. The sooner that happens the better.

Re:Let it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644950)

so you want to artificially exaggerate the negative consequences in order to coerce people to your way of thinking, and you see this as a benefit?

save me from people who are trying to save me from myself. there is nothing more evil in the universe.

Re:Let it happen (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645088)

I'm not trying to save you from anything nor am I trying to "coerce" you in any way. Your opinion is no greater or less than my own. Deal with it.

Re:Let it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32645162)

I suppose the main difference would be that I'm not seeking to "motivate" people to adopt my opinion, nor am I making flippant comments about how people would be better served by being put into a bad position so that they come around to my opinions.

In other words, you're so full of your own shit, you don't even recognize that it stinks.

Re:Let it happen (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645616)

"Ok, so we're going to let everyone be blind to the consequences of the decisions made in this country, and just hope it improves on its own"

-AC

Re:Let it happen (2, Interesting)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645232)

This is partially true for Natural Monopolies (e.g. electrical companies), but not so much when there's competition. NBC's biggest competition is the web. Hulu is probably their most valuable asset for viewer retention, but because they didn't have the balls to go in it alone, they have to share their earnings with Disney, Turner/Time Warner, and others.

NBC's content is not out of touch with their viewers (excluding the NBC broadcast network), it's their delivery system that's out of touch. The future most likely has TVs that are connected to the internet and movies/shows/video content is moving to an on-demand model that goes with the viewer (e.g. mobile phones), not static. The big media fought tooth and nail against their content on the internet; however, Hulu is proof that people are willing to sit through a few ads and watch video legitimately than download it off some file sharing site/protocol. CBS is the only network that wants to go against the current and it's why they're shows are the most pirated. Movies will forever remain a problem because of the way Big Media is persistent on distributing content internationally. But I would still prefer to pay a flat fee per month for all I could eat (netflix), or a small fee for instant gratification (Amazon On-Demand, Red Box). I refuse to pay $5 to return a movie within one day by 6:00 PM at a location out of the way. Theatrical releases are different. I go to theatrical releases because I don't have a 70 foot screen at home and a surround sound system that kicks like a theater, but I do have $10 to spare for that experience. Even then it's on movies I think will entertain me. Avatar was the last movie I saw without knowing what I was in for and viewing any trailer, glad that turned out great for my eyes.

Re:Let it happen (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645748)

NBC's biggest competition is the web.

And Comcast IS the web for a lot of people. See where this is going? The goal is to create an entertainment monopoly by leveraging a communications monopoly (or frequently, a duopoly). And the communications monopoly being a natural monopoly, it's quite possible to make that happen.

Re:Let it happen (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645352)

Comcast is already so out of touch with their customers. They recently started advertising about how nice their installers are and how they wear booties over the boots on your carpet. They have never done this, until AT&T started doing it and competing head-to-head in their market with U-verse.

What totally pisses me off and sends me into a blind rage is the Ben and Shaq commercials. I would love to know how much those douchebags are getting paid (adding to my cable bill). I've been thinking of writing a letter to cancel citing those commercials and the obvious wast of money they illustrate. Come on, TV is a commodity, don't pretend there is a premium brand.

Re:Let it happen (1)

cycleflight (1811074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645656)

There's a difference there... NBC and Comcast deliver services, at least at the core of their business, that people just don't need. Comcast has branched out to phone, which people probably need some form of to function, as well as high speed internet, which of course is very useful, but the point stands.

Most people don't truly need cable internet (there are other ways of internet) or cable/VOIP phone (there are other ways for phone). No one needs TV and movies. It's a nicety, and if this proposed conglomeration decides to be forceful enough, people will learn that they never really needed it in the first place. In that sense, it lies in the hands of these two companies to respect their customers, if they want to keep making money.

Re:Let it happen (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644988)

If history is any indication, the bigger companies get the more out of touch they get with their customers and the more fragile their success becomes.

So then they get too big to fail and it's on to a bailout, subsidies, etc. And then we pay for it again with internet service.

AOL Time Warner? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644490)

how is this different than the AOL / Time Warner merger that was ultimately allowed?

Re:AOL Time Warner? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644594)

Because AOL was easily undercut by different ISPs. Don't like AOL? Dial-in to a different server! Don't like NBComcast? Oh wait! I have no other "high speed" internet option in my area.

Re:AOL Time Warner? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644850)

so this company... the only company able to execute well enough in your area to provide you with the service that you seemingly demand... strictly based on the fact that no other company was able to do the same thing, even though many competing technologies exist that have competed well in many other areas, that the company should be denied the ability to join into official partnership deals regarding to the very heart of their business?

what good is the cable without the content? NOT making deals to preserve the perceived quality and value of the content should get the company's executives sued by their shareholders. any argument about deals with a specific content provider is simply an admission that that specific content providers "content" is "too important to fail". "to fail WHAT?" is my response. free speech can certainly hurt when it is used against you. complaining about it, or attempting to stop it with the justification of preserving your own free speech is hypocritical and ignorant.

Re:AOL Time Warner? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644776)

how is this different than the AOL / Time Warner merger that was ultimately allowed?

AOL basically bought Time Warner with the Monopoly money that was their .com-era stock.

Other than that, probably not much. :-P

Better TV (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644494)

If this makes it easier to get Coco back on TV, I'm all for it.
It'd be pure comedy gold to have Conan turn up as the Cable representative to tear down the Peacock.

Have to admire their gusto (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644568)

They apparently think that a glorified letter-writing campaign is a match for the lobbying (aka "bribing") money that a major corporation can throw at Washington. That's almost as adorable as an environmentalist in Texas or Alaska writing his Congressman asking him to oppose big oil. Even if you could get the FCC to listen, the lobbyists would just get their slaves in Congress to override them (just like they did [cnet.com] on net neutrality).

Re:Have to admire their gusto (2, Insightful)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644848)

Well if 90% of people are against something and lobbyists do buy votes and the voters are angry enough they can vote the representative out of office, something money can't do directly, and he will no longer be in a position to take bribes. Once you think you have no power you're right.

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644904)

Once you think you have no power you're right.

The inverse, however, is not true.

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645258)

That would require people to actually go out to the polls to vote, instead of just complaining bout the status quo... That is also assuming that the new person elected doesn't take the "bribes" from the lobbyists (GLWT).

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645322)

Yeah, but it represents a very asymetric situation. It takes a huge percentage of voters to override the influence of what is essentially a few hundred people. Esp when those few hundred people ALSO control the primary mechanisms at raising awareness/urgency of an issue, i.e. media access.

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645056)

Indeed, when was the last time Washington blocked a supermerger that forms at our expense? I'm actually asking.

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645184)

The FTC blocked a Staples and Office Depot merger in 1997. AFAIK, that was the last time.

Re:Have to admire their gusto (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645134)

And that's why at this point violence is the only answer. They can shit all over our rights, they can buy any law they want, they can bypass any democratic process, they laugh at our votes but death is the great equalizer. No amount of money can bring them or their loved ones back from the dead.

How much is your money worth when your son is dead? That's how the war must be fought.

I want CN100 on Directv as well as CSN phlly / NW (0, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644614)

I want CN100 on Directv as well as CSN phlly / NW.

OR no blackouts why do they get black stuff out that you can't view?

Re:I want CN100 on Directv as well as CSN phlly / (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645110)

Why is this modded Offtopic? It shows how Comcast is already abusing a monopoly position on something, which is the fear of the article.

Re:I want CN100 on Directv as well as CSN phlly / (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645188)

Money. Either not enough people in the stands (sooo, you can't watch it either) or some other mis-arrangement with the entities involved. In Cali, the Oakland Raiders would not allow broadcast of their games unless a certain percentage of seats were sold for the specific game in question (or at least that is how I understood it, not a fan.) It all boils down to money...

Re:I want CN100 on Directv as well as CSN phlly / (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645406)

That's an NFL rule, not the Raiders. The NFL blackout policy states that games sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff can be televised in the home city.

still more than 1 channel? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644726)

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boeing, boeing, gone.

Bargain chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32644828)

It is simple,

FCC to NBC/Comcast: you two want to merge? well guess what you need to agree to our Net neutrality provisions or we will NEVER let you two merge...

Govenor David Patterson supports the merger?! (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644832)

Why would New York Governor David Patterson support a merger between two companies primarily invested in video entertainment?

Re:Govenor David Patterson supports the merger?! (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645024)

Maybe he has the vision to see what such a merger would mean? He can clearly see that this could change the market in a big way.

Considering what Comcast did to TechTV... (2, Funny)

leonbev (111395) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644900)

Do you really want these guys taking over several major TV networks?

They would probably cancel all of the news shows, and replace them video game reviews and badly edited Star Trek reruns.

Re:Considering what Comcast did to TechTV... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645296)

Are there any real news shows left on TV? I know there are multiple 24-hour "News" channels and plenty of "News" shows, but do any actually engage in responsible reporting?

Re:Considering what Comcast did to TechTV... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645350)

They would probably cancel all of the news shows

As far as I can remember, the FCC requires broadcast TV stations to carry news and E/I broadcasts. Or are you trying to say NBC will move to cable?

Re:Considering what Comcast did to TechTV... (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645412)

> >They would probably cancel all of the news shows, and replace them video game reviews and badly edited Star Trek reruns. >

You make it sound like this is a bad thing!

Comcast Sports Net Chicago is good but that is onl (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644912)

Comcast Sports Net Chicago / Comcast Sports Net Chicago + and + 2 is good but that is the only comcast channel that spend much time viewing comcast only owns 20% of it. I did see the NHL plays offs on VS but that is small next to most of the other carp on that channel. G4 has some good VOD stuff but Comcarp killed most of the good stuff there.

Agree with the FCC (2, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32644982)

Given Comcast's strong anti-net neutrality stance and propsensity towards censorship, I agree with the FCC. The merger should be blocked because it does not serve a really good purpose. It just creates a giant media conglomerate with far reaching arms into government. Comcast and NBC Universal should remain separate entities.

Re:Agree with the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32645072)

Comcast and NBC Universal should remain separate entities.

they would be... under an NBCComcast / ComcastNBC umbrella.

Re:Agree with the FCC (1)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645736)

Comcast and NBC Universal should remain separate entities.

they would be... under an NBCComcast / ComcastNBC umbrella.

However, Comcast would own a majority of the new company, so they get to set the agenda. They already do this in partnerships (or Joint Ventures) with other companies, including mine.

What about the FCC? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645444)

In a letter sent to the FCC Monday (PDF), the groups argue the new $30 billion entity would have unprecedented control over the media landscape, raising antitrust concerns.

The same FCC that's trying to regain control of the internet and tax major websites? Where are the concerns over that?

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