While some groups such as Public Knowledge and Common Cause are concerned about the anti-competitive aspects of the proposed merger between Time Warner and Comcast, and how it will affect consumers, Accuracy in Media questions the impact this will have on news and information distributed to viewers. By putting Time Warner’s networks, CNN and HBO, under the control of Comcast, will it pull them even further to the left so that they come to resemble even more the outlook and agenda of MSNBC and NBC?
The two companies recently announced that they will be merging in an approximately $45 billion deal. “The merger will face regulatory review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and probably the Department of Justice,” reports The Los Angeles Times. These reviews could take about a year. “The combined entity would control approximately 38 percent of the high-speed internet market, with 32 million customers,” reports the National Journal. “Consumers could face adverse effects including increased prices, slower data speeds, and more-limited programming offerings.”
Comcast, which owns NBC and MSNBC, has long since thrown in politically with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. We have repeatedly demonstrated that MSNBC doesn’t Lean Forward, as their slogan claims. Instead, they Lean Left. Way left. MSBNC President Phil Griffin even went so far as to say that the news organization doesn’t have an ideology, just a “progressive sensibility” that guides their news-casting. When the far-left journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on MSNBC and remarked that the people on this news channel “defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic Party leaders 24 hours a day,” substitute anchor Kristen Welker inadequately replied, “Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day.” Granted, not 24 hours a day. They do show endless re-runs of crime and prison shows on weekends.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, the leftist editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, and a columnist for The Washington Post, opposes the deal. In a Post column, she cites the size of the new company, and the potential for anti-competitive practices hurting consumers. But she also cites marketplace-of-ideas concerns: “The protection of free speech under our Constitution depends on citizens having access to many ideas, many sources, many ways of getting ideas and information. Letting mega-corporations consolidate control of key parts of the media infrastructure is a direct threat to that access.”
Is the Obama administration likely to approve the Comcast/Time Warner deal, just as it did the Comcast/NBC Universal deal? The answer is probably yes, if it sees the merger as being favorable to how they will be covered and treated by the new conglomerate. And a lot of people connected to the administration will profit handsomely as they go back and forth between the revolving door.
Not long after Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal was approved by the FCC, Meredith Attwell Baker, “one of two Republicans on the five-member Federal Communications Commission” became “senior vice president of governmental affairs for NBC Universal,” reported The Washington Post back in 2011. “Comcast said it did not begin discussions with Baker about a possible job until after the transaction had closed,” reported the Post. Baker, an Obama appointee to the commission, had voted in favor of the merger, and then left after serving only two years out of a five-year term.