Help Stop The Merger Madness

My friends at Free Press have set up this page to file comments opposing the AT&T/BellSouth Merger and the Comcast/Time Warner/Adelphia deal.

I won’t go over old ground again in detail here. You can read why I think the FCC should stop Comcast and Time Warner from dividing up the bankrupt Adelphia cable, the disappointing go ahead from the Federal Trade Commission, and my growing hope that the FCC will impose strong conditions or kill the deal. With a deadline for the companies to walk away from the deal fast approaching, you can help push the FCC to do the right thing.

The Adelphia Transaction has now entered the home stretch. Time Warner and Comcast face a deadline of July 31 to get the deal closed and approved by the bankruptcy court or face the possibility that Adelphia’s creditors may exercise their right to pull out of the deal. Rumor has it that FCC Chairman Martin has given up waiting for the Senate to confirm Robert Mcdowell as the third Republican and will instead negotiate a final decision with the two Democrats — even though that means accepting significant conditions to gain their approval.

With Comcast and Time Warner under the gun with a July 31 deadline, and the FCC split 2-2, powerful conditions to curb Comcast’s and Time Warner’s market power become a real possibility. But only if the public make it clear they care. If Martin and the Democrats see “the whole world is watching” whether the FCC protects people or corporate interests, it will strengthen the hand of the Democrats to demand tough conditions to preserve network neutrality, protect independent programmers and PEG access, and promote competition by forcing Comcast and Time Warner to give up exclusive control over “must have” local sports programming.

A final thought- I know people wonder whether these comments matter. Consider the story of Naaman and Elisha from the Book of Kings II. Naaman, the great Syrian general, went to the prophet Elisha to cure his leprosy. Elisha told Naaman “wash in the Jordan 7 times.” Naaman went away angry that Elisha would have him do such a trivial thing as wash to cure such a terrible disease. But Naaman’s servants replied “if Elisha had asked you to do something really hard, would you not have done it? So why not try something simple simple and painless?” Of course, this being the Bible, Naaman washes in the Jordan seven times and — against all logic — his leprosy has vanished.

While I can’t claim any direct communications from the Almighty, I do ask the same question as Naaman’s servants. What would you give to stop the current consolidation in the media from getting worse? So if you might make a difference by clicking this link and filing a comment, why not take 30 seconds to do it?

Stay tuned . . . .

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