Accountability in politics is an ancient tradition. Currently, the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is under review by the FCC. That did not stop Comcast and Time Warner Cable from funding a dinner honoring current FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
First, let’s look at the details of the merger. If the $45 billion merger is approved, Comcast will provide service to 30 percent of U.S. “pay-TV subscribers and 40 percent of the country’s broadband market.” Certainly, the company has an invested interest in this deal being approved and they did not hide that fact when they decided to fund the dinner recognizing a woman who will have a major say on whether or not the deal goes through.
Naturally, Comcast defended their actions and they criticized the critics who highlighted the blatant conflict of interest. Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurce stated, “We absolutely dispute the notion that our contributions have anything to do with currying favor with Commissioner Clyburn or any honoree. Such claims are insulting and not supported by any evidence. They are purely fiction. We have supported the organization year in and year out regardless of who the dinner honorees have been.”
Comcast also claims that they have supported the foundation for decades. Not surprisingly, this is the first time a sitting FCC Commissioner has been honored. This is not coincidental and Comcast is only defending their actions in an effort to legitimize them. Their motives are clear. A merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable will not benefit the consumer. Consumers will be faced with outrageous prices, poor service, and the typical Comcast antics of mistreating their customers and treating them like zoo animals.
Unfortunately, our current system does not punish blatant bribery and curtailing, even in situations where obvious conflicts of interest exist.
Photo credit: Comcast Corporation