Porn flick about Comcast would be called ‘Insatiable’

Swamp Rabbit and I were reading that Comcast, the nation’s No. 1 cable provider, has bought out Time Warner Cable, the No. 2 provider. I wondered aloud what’s become of the Federal Communications Commission, the outfit that is supposed to prevent media corporations from establishing monopolies that exploit consumers. And where is the so-called Department of Justice? These questions are at least as old as the 1980s, when Ben Bagdikian wrote The Media Monopoly.

“The FCC done got neutered,” the rabbit said. “I been livin’ in this swamp for years, but I know that. Where you been?”

Good question. I try to keep up with change, but I can’t figure out how the feds justify allowing companies like Comcast to make such crudely obvious power grabs. It’s hard to overestimate the effect of Comcast’s multimillion-dollar lobbying efforts, or the power of David Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president. But still…

Here’s part of the explanation, from Guardian UK’s Dan Gilmor:

America’s cable companies grew up in the cozy embrace of local governments that gave them monopoly franchises, which they’ve expanded over the years via mergers and acquisitions, not just normal growth. The noncompetitive local franchise model means that when one cable giant buys another, the customers generally have the same choices as before for subscription TV (cable or satellite) and internet service (cable or phone company DSL).

Whose interest is served by such a deal? The shareholders of TWC and Comcast would be thrilled, for sure. So would the NSA and other surveillance statists, who would undoubtedly be happiest if we reverted to the era when a single behemoth telecommunications enterprise served, for all practical purposes, as an arm of the spy services.

The other main winners would be the remaining telecom “competitors” that would be part of an ever-cozier oligopoly of enterprises that upgrade reluctantly and, compared to providers in other developed nations, grossly overcharge their customers. So look for more mergers, even less user privacy, higher prices and – if this is possible for the generally loathed cable companies – even worse service.

Call it the reality of pervasive political corruption. As City Paper’s Daniel Denvir wrote:

Philadelphia’s elected officials will no doubt line up to back Comcast, which recently announced its plans to build a second (taxpayer-subsidized) skyscraper here in its hometown. This is a company that works hard to make political friends, and which is energetically supporting Gov. Tom Corbett’s imperiled reelection campaign.

But still… Isn’t it the job of the feds to make sure gluttonous corporations don’t morph into entities so powerful they can crush competition by buying the people who write the laws? And wasn’t that a naive question?

Maybe the current FCC commissioners and the DoJ have decided today’s media monsters are too big for quaint anti-trust laws. We should know by the end of the year.

3 thoughts on “Porn flick about Comcast would be called ‘Insatiable’

  1. “…would be thrilled…. So would the NSA and other surveillance statists”

    That gave me a real “D’OH!” moment. I swear to god, I’ve been having a hard time understanding why the gov has been sooo toothless on all this.

  2. Also, when Corporatists have bought most of the pols, and the pols know who pays for their electioneering and their ability to be reelected, for sure the Big Corporations will be allowed to get ever bigger. And more monopolistic. And it’s all good to the buyers and the bought. We, who are renters –or opt out of the monopolistic systems– are not worth even bothering with, much less for pols representing OUR interests.

    Big Money, Big Bidness, Big Bought Pols — we don’t figure in. And that’s why the middle class had to be undermined, which is succeeding beyond the Corporatists
    and One Percenters’ dreams, and made to feel totally insecure.

    We need real representation, which will be difficult given the lack of disposable income….

    Bring on the Revolution!

  3. “A small well trained force will always defeat a larger force under certain conditions.” The revolution has already begun and the 1% is responding by crying out loudly and by consolidating everything it can as quickly as possible. They will fail to succeed.

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