It was only a matter of time before one of the giant telecommunications companies went for a monopoly, we are living under corporate capitalism after all. But Comcast’s behavior has been so blatant one has to wonder how no one in the government charged with preventing monopolies has not even raised tacit objections. For now Comcast is seeking to take over Time Warner in a move that could ruin TV and the internet.
Allowing the cable companies to run rampant has already proved it creates regional monopolies – most Americans have only one cable provider to chose from. Allowing Comcast and Time Warner to merge will create an even larger national monopoly. There was a theory, advanced by the giant telecom companies, that light regulation would allow competition for customers. The reality is that the giant telecoms yielded each other turf and were not interested in competing.
But where the monopoly will really hurt is on the internet where Comcast can use it’s power to influence content and attack what remains of its competition. Especially after Net Neutrality has been defeated in the courts.
So where are federal regulators? Silent at the moment, though many of them once worked for Comcast.
The recently installed head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, William Baer, was a lawyer representing GE and NBC in their push for the merger with Comcast. At the time, Baer was an attorney with the firm Arnold & Porter. To his credit, Baer said last month that he is skeptical of further consolidation of the cable market. Disclosures reviewed by Republic Report show that Baer will continue receiving payments from Arnold & Porter for the next eleven years as part of his retirement package.
Maureen Ohlhausen, one of four commissioners on the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees antitrust enforcement, provided legal counsel for Comcast as an attorney just before joining the FTC. She also represented NBC Universal in the year before before becoming a commissioner in April of 2012. NBC Universal completed its merger with Comcast in January of 2011.
Also there is the other side of the coin, people now working for Comcast who once worked as federal regulators. That revolving door just keeps on spinning.
So media will now be even more concentrated as the few megacorporations happily collaborate with the (now exposed) massive surveillance state that wants to suck up all our personal information. Taste the freedom.