Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Comcast-NBC Merger

January 26, 2011 -

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued a statement this week concerning the FCC and the DOJ approving the Comcast NBC Universal merger. While Waters comes out swinging in the first several paragraphs of her statement, in the latter part she heaps praise on the FCC and DOJ for their efforts on the merger and throws a fireball or two at Republican lawmakers for their objections to putting conditions on the deal and for adding language related to net neutrality rules.

The statement is confusing because first she says the provisions crafted by the FCC are impudent and have no real value, adding that they expire in 3 -7 years anyway. Then she praises both agencies for doing their best. You can read the entire statement below and make up your own minds (from Slate):

After thoroughly reviewing the FCC and DOJ orders regarding the approval of the acquisition of NBC by Comcast, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) today released the following statement:

"Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week released their respective orders approving the Comcast-NBCU acquisition, I remain deeply concerned about the implications of such a massive merger on our nation's media landscape and the Commission's diminishing capacity to fulfill its statutory goals. In the year since Comcast announced its plans to merge with NBC Universal, I have repeatedly called on both the Commission and DOJ to conduct a thorough and substantive review – showing due deference to precedent and applicable provisions under Federal antitrust laws and the Communications Act. Despite persistent arguments many Republicans may make against federal oversight of the private sector, I firmly believe it is imperative that we have appropriate regulations in place to ensure that corporate goals are not achieved at the expense of the public welfare and our federal interest in promoting diversity, competition, and localism. The combination of a major content provider with our nation's leading cable service provider warranted every level of public and congressional scrutiny it endured over the past year. To that end, I must express my disappointment with the failure of either agency – particularly the FCC – to craft substantive conditions that are in conformity with established precedent and standards on media diversity and localism.

"However, given the steady erosion of antitrust enforcement and laws under previous Administrations, I commend the DOJ's Antitrust Division for its efforts to craft a consent decree containing provisions that can work to ease some — albeit, not all — of the concerns raised during the course of the review. I am also pleased that the Division incorporated network neutrality conditions into its order. For its part, the FCC was obligated to conduct a more comprehensive public interest analysis under the Communications Act. Unfortunately, despite the amount of public participation and input in the Commission's proceedings, it does not appear that the depth of analysis was reflected in the prescribed final conditions. I strongly suspect that the Commission's slight augmentations to rules and administrative proceedings will not satisfy those who are still waiting for the agency to hear their program carriage or access complaints against Comcast. Accordingly, I do not believe the American public can have much confidence in Comcast-NBCU's commitment to launch 10 new independent channels when current networks have had so many challenges negotiating reasonable carriage terms with the cable giant. And while discount broadband, "limited-time" special offers, and philanthropic endeavors are commendable efforts we strongly encourage the private sector to embrace, they are irrelevant to promoting diversity among broadcast viewpoints and FCC license holders. In the final analysis, the FCC's conditions and the DOJ's consent decree will only last 3 to 7 years, leaving even less protection for the American public once these conditions expire. Since no divestitures, separation of corporate authority, or any other stringent conditions were attached to the acquisition, the FCC's 279-page order approving the Comcast-NBCU merger will be even more meaningless than it is today.

"Contrary to my Republican colleagues' claims that the FCC's order is an overreach of regulatory authority, there is nothing in the Commission's order that Comcast-NBC did not agree to or previously offer as their "public interest commitments" early in the review proceedings. In fact, the memoranda of understanding were only slight variations of the same commitments Comcast-NBC submitted to Congress and the FCC in July 2010. Similarly, the network neutrality conditions were taken from the rule the Commission adopted last month – a narrowly tailored compromise with the telecommunications industry that excludes mobile wireless companies.

"I understand that there are many independent networks, writers, directors, actors, and programmers who cynically predicted that the government would succumb to pressure, and fail to truly serve the public interest. It was in this vein that I acted early in the Comcast-NBC merger review process – introducing legislation to encourage the FCC to extend the public comment period so they would have the appropriate amount of time to hear from the creative community, especially those who have felt excluded. I strongly believed that broad public engagement and participation would ensure accountability, even if the outcome was pre-determined. During the course of this review, I have had the opportunity to meet many professionals working within the media and telecommunications industry who all expressed a great deal of uncertainty about their future in a post-Comcast-NBCU merger marketplace. While we can only move forward from this point, I am committed to hosting discussions with the media industry, the FCC, and the public interest community so that we can develop ideas and policies that will truly promote and encourage media diversity, localism, and competition. As a Member on the House Judiciary Committee's new Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet, I look forward to working with my colleagues in our ongoing efforts to ensure that our federal policies balance sensible regulation with the realities of a vibrant and ever-evolving industry."

Source: LA Times


 
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MaskedPixelante"It's not OUR fault that our game doesn't work, it's YOUR fault for having so many friends."12/17/2014 - 9:48pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently tetris did not work because he has a full friends list12/17/2014 - 9:21pm
WonderkarpSo Sony cancelled the release of the Interview. was it ever confirmed that the Sony hacking was done because of that specific movie?12/17/2014 - 8:54pm
MaskedPixelanteWow, Ubisoft went four for four, I didn't think it was actually possible.12/17/2014 - 8:37pm
MechaTama31Oh, ok, I was mixing up "on Greenlight" and "Greenlit".12/17/2014 - 8:23pm
Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.latino-review.com/news/exclusive-viola-davis-bags-amanda-waller-role-in-suicide-squad Latino Review says Viola Davis will be Amanda Waller. History of Latino Review says "wait for a REAL news site to confirm".12/17/2014 - 10:48am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/17/7407869/assassins-creed-unity-glitch-broken-problems-xbox-one-patch -Facepalm- Screwup means Assassin's Creed Unity's patch is the 40GB full game on Xbox One12/17/2014 - 10:17am
PHX Corphttp://www.theverge.com/2014/12/16/7401769/the-mpaa-wants-to-strike-at-dns-records-piracy-sopa-leaked-documents Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet12/17/2014 - 10:05am
E. Zachary KnightA Game being on Greenlight is not an endorsement of said game by Valve, Steam or anyone related to Valve or Steam. Greenlight is a combined sales pitch to Steam and its users.12/17/2014 - 9:51am
E. Zachary KnightThe Life cycle of a Greenlight game: A game gets made->Developer puts it on Greenlight->Gamers vote for it->Valve decides it is worthy of a Steam release->Game is sold on Steam. While the game is merely on greenlight, it is not available for sale on Steam12/17/2014 - 9:50am
InfophileGreenlight games may in the future be sold through Steam. A game there may be "greenlit" and then sold on Steam proper, or it may not, and never actually be sold on steam. That quote refers to them selecting some games from Greenlight which they will sell12/17/2014 - 9:39am
 

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