Bracket Watch: EA Upset Early, Comcast Beats Monsanto For 'Worst Company' Award

from the cinderella-story dept

It’s the time of year, when victories are had or not, dreams are realized or dashed along the playing surface, and champions are either born or unseated. Being from Chicago, I’ve been through this before. I’ve seen my heroes fall and experienced the heartbreak of having victory snatched from my guys in heartbreaking fashion. Still, even with that experience, it never gets easier.

Which is why we should all be standing up and doing a slow-clap for Electronic Arts, whose “Worst Company” championship string has finally come to an end. And it’s all thanks to Comcast, who narrowly defeated cartoonishly evil megacorporation Monsanto in the final showdown. The road to not-glory, however, was not without its controversy.

Comcast’s road to the Poo started out without a speedbump, as the company powered through the first three rounds without ever giving up more than 30% of the vote. And with two-time reigning champ EA eliminated in Round One by Comcast’s merger partner Time Warner Cable, followed by three-time consecutive runner-up Bank of America’s surprise defeat at the hands of Walmart, Comcast seemed destined for the Final Death Match.

But the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider (which is trying to become even larger), almost got stopped in its track by first-time contender SeaWorld, riding high on waves of negative publicity tied to the documentary Blackfish. Comcast pulled off a buzzer-beater to hold off SeaWorld and earn its place in the Final Death Match. From the onset of the day-long bout, lawsuit-lovin’, herbicide-makin’ Monsanto was within striking distance of the Philly Kid, but Comcast gained a hair-thin edge early on and never ceded the lead.

It’s been a good run for EA these past two years, in which they deftly ran the treat-customers-like-criminals offense and the delete-yo-crap defense. That kind of strategy led to their distinction for being the only two-time winning and repeat “Worst Company” champion. But if Michael Jordan retired (multiple times), Muhammed Ali fell, and the Lakers turned into whatever you call whatever they are now, then it was only a matter of time before a new, more youthfully horrible champion arose to unseat EA. And that example of awful is Comcast, who appears to think that Mr. Potter from It’s A Wondeful Life was a template for how to do things.

And, just so we’re all clear here, they beat Monsanto, a company that is attempting to put a corporate and IP stranglehold on food. Food. You know, that thing you need every day in order to live. That means that if you sat the average voter down and asked them which was worse, a big company getting bigger so they can control how you get your television, or the same scenario but with the thing that lets you live, people will choose the former.

I’m not sure that makes a whole lot of sense, but I’ll refrain from taking away any of Comcast’s glory today. Congrats, you terrible congress-bribing megalith you!

Filed Under:
Companies: comcast, ea, monsanto

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Comments on “Bracket Watch: EA Upset Early, Comcast Beats Monsanto For 'Worst Company' Award”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I love you guys at Techdirt but please educate yourself on the controversies re: Monsanto before making comments.

If you’re a farmer and want to do business with Monsanto, you sign a contract and get to use their patented seed. If you don’t want to do business with them, you don’t have a problem so long as you don’t illegally use their patented seed.

There is no “stranglehold” here.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Maybe we know more about the Monsanto controversies then you give us credit for. Yes, Monsanto has a EULA for their seeds. Yes, they’ve sued people for having seeds blow into non-Monsanto farms. Yes, they’ve sued people for planting legally purchased seeds that were Monsanto’s (but not bought from Monsanto).

Do a quick search on Techdirt for “Monsanto” and you’ll find two pages of articles about them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Actually I’m very well versed on this topic. I used to be on the anti-Monsanto bandwagon a couple years ago but I read up on the other side of this issue and it has, in every case I’ve seen, turned out to be social activists trying to make a name for themselves by playing the faux victim.

Monsanto actually will offer to remove any of their crops that blow into your farm free of charge. Let that sink in for a while.

The people who get sued are those who know that they have Monsanto seed, be it obtained from an illicit source or carried in by the wind, and purposefully sprayed Roundup in their fields so that the non-Monsanto stuff would die off. Let me repeat that for you: they knew they were handling Monsanto seed without permission and chose to kill off the non-Monsanto stuff. These guys aren’t victims in the slightest. They purposefully broke the rules so that they could make a big stink.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And that’s where the controversies lie. They broke patent law by growing plants? The wind blew Monsanto seeds into your farm, don’t you fucking dare harvest them. You legally purchase seeds (and I want to reemphasize legally purchase) and sort them out. Well, fuck you too.

How does patent law cover any of that? That’s the problem. The patent law that allows this is fucked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

you know, Monsanto seeds are supposed to be infertile. Truth is, they aren’t and monsanto knows it. That is where the problem is. The genetically engineered plants can pollinate not engineered plants and so spread the patented genes. Now, if any farmer has (legally) grown plants that have been pollinated, or rather contaminated, by genetically engineered plants and these plants are tested, the farmers are on the hook for infringement.

That is what makes monsanto so evil, they purposefully contaminate the plants of all farmers that are in range of any field that grows genetically engineered crops and because of the way patent law is, this bastard of a company can monopolize seed production by abusing natural growth of the plants in question.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Also… let me see if I’ve got your line of reasoning straight.

1. A large, powerful entity does something sleazy.
2. A person finds out about it.
3. That person takes deliberate action to bring it to the attention of the public.
4. Therefore, that person is the villain here.

Well… I suppose Mike Rogers would agree with you, but he’s not really good company to be in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

When it comes down to it, Monsanto has been a bull in a china-shop in their profit seeking behavior. Almost all of their problems could have been avoided by holding out on introducing the technology to market. Their failure to show due dilligence ended up with a self-replicating lawsuit magnet and therein lies the main problem.
They could have avoided their aggressive legal strategy in several ways!
Culpable or not, the cases suffer from the same overall problem: The judges being far too friendly towards the idea of patenting a self-replicating entity and that is actually the crux of the problem: The legal system is terrible at understanding any kind of science!

Self-replicating entities should never be patentable as to avoid farmers having to get their fields abused by their neighbors contracts with a company. Free of charge removal as an argument is an insult to your own intelligence. It is not a good deal for the farmer…

Brazilian Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, they blatantly disregarded Brazil’s law a few years ago, by promoting the use of their GMO seeds on tv adds, back when it was actually prohibited the comercialization and planting of those seeds outside sanctioned fields destined for their studies. By then, farmers started to illegaly plant those seeds, buying then in Argentina, where the GMO cultivation was already legalized. So yes, they are very unethical.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Behold how far we have fallen.

Go back to 50 years ago, and tell people that someone wants to produce a new, genetically-engineered type of seeds that will:

1) be sterile and not yield new seeds for the next year’s crop
2) contain dominant genes, such that they can be cross-pollinated into nearby fields and render that crop sterile as well
3) be the only seeds that are not adversely affected by a special poison sold by the same person

…they would never believe it. They’d think you were talking about the script to the next James Bond movie or something! The fact that we are discussing whether or not a contract makes this sort of Bond-villainy legitimate, rather than whether or not Monsanto execs should be rounded up and put on trial for crimes against humanity just underscores how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone in the last few decades.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You see, this is the sort of ignorance I have to deal with everyday when it comes to the anti-GMO bandwagon.

There is currently no seed company that employs this technology. It was researched and developed but never commercialized. Yet this meme is repeated throughout Internet and social activist circles on a daily basis for years ongoing.

As for the Roundup Ready stuff, Roundup (glyphosate) existed for decades before the technology existed to make Roundup-tolerant varieties of plants. Had RR strains not been developed, Roundup would have simply been another herbicide that people used (just not on the plants they are trying to grow).

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Monsanto is also attacking democracy. Read this little story about one small Oregon county, home to a growing and profitable organic farming industry, that wants to ban GMO planting just in their own community. This is a small, rural place and Monsanto has already spent a million dollars trying to defeat this incentive.

I suppose you don’t care about multi-national corporations buying local elections, either. They’ve got their product in the ground from coast-to-coast, but they just can’t countenance that there’s one little place that wants to decide for themselves.

Monsanto is as evil as a company can get.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You see, this is the sort of ignorance I have to deal with everyday

Does it pay well? If you “have to deal” with “this sort of ignorance” “every day” it sounds like a job to me. Why not step out and tell us about it instead of posting as an anonymous coward. Are they hiring? I’m pretty sure I can suppress my morals and be a paid troll if the money’s right.

Do you have any other accounts besides Monsanto, or do they keep you busy enough putting out fires on the internet?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

1) be sterile and not yield new seeds for the next year’s crop
2) contain dominant genes, such that they can be cross-pollinated into nearby fields and render that crop sterile as well
3) be the only seeds that are not adversely affected by a special poison sold by the same person

Instead of being able to sue the farmer for “cropyright”infringement, Monsanto should have to recompense the farmer for the next thousand harvests.

Whenever you look back in history, you will see civilizations fall as soon as some catastrophe destroys their crops. So what does our society, which may be able to invent environmentally independent farming soon (and thus be spared the fate of our predecessors), do?
It builds a self destruction switch by insane laws!

And you thought the intellectual monopoly was bad.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Tell that to the neighboring organic farmer who’s crop has been pollinated by Monsanto’s “better living through chemistry” seeds and end up having to destroy their entire yield unless they want to pay Monsanto’s license fees for a product they didn’t even want.

Not even bugs want to eat Monsanto crops, and bugs’ll eat anything. And you really, really don’t want a company owning the rights to food. If you can’t see what a bad idea that is, then you’re a little dizzy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually the “owning food”-argument is a bit contrived. Think about the cheese business and bread business, think about the production of several chemically produced ingredients in ie. candy. It is already possible to produce food without needing corn, wheat, milk, potatoes, meat etc. and most of those foods are build upon patent on patent.

The problem is self-replicating entities. Not food.

William McDuff (profile) says:

I personally was pulling for Monsanto as well, but I think Comcast won for two reasons. One, more technical people (the people more likely to vote in Consumerist’s polls) have to deal directly with them. Two, there’s an argument that while Monsanto is trying to control food (globally), Comcast is trying to control information (in the US).

Still, I think if Consumerist had a greater percentage of global readers, they could have snuck in there. (If Consumerist was Canadian, I think Rogers would be a lock for the final four…)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, this is a point that seems to be continually overlooked. The Consumerist audience is not representative of the general public, and when you ask people what “the worst” anything is, they will tend to respond with those things that affect them personally and directly.

Monsanto’s misbehavior affects us all generally, but the real pain of those effects is less immediate and more long-term.

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