I’ll be the first to admit that anti-trust law is not my strong suit. The myriad implications of cable giant Comcast’s proposed acquisition of NBC are complexities beyond the grasp of most mortals. Legions of attorneys will put legions of children through college with the fees that this transaction will generate. This is the kind of stimulus that will inject much-needed capital into the private country club sector of the economy.
But beyond the regulatory and legal minutia that technically govern this proposed deal, one obscenely crass, downright offensive action by Comcast’s CEO warrants the application of withering scrutiny to the merger.
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A day, one single day, after the two media giants announced their deal, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts proudly weighed in to strongly support the Senate Democrats’ health care reform bill.
Now Comcast is a big company, with about 100,000 employees. I’m sure health care costs have a big impact on their bottom line. But the bottom line impact on Roberts’ personal net worth will be much greater if the federal government, with a big say-so from the US Senate, approves the $13 billion deal.
So Roberts’ heartfelt letter to the president in support of the Democrats’ singular policy issue was the first action he took in what is expected to be a twelve-month regulatory review process. This is an action with absolutely no relevance to the vast intricacies of the merger, but a move that sets a new standard for blatant pandering aimed at a group of people for whom pandering is the new coin of the realm.
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