by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
al franken, brian roberts

comcast, nbc universal

Comcast CEO Argues Rules Will Protect Customers In Merger, While Comcast Lawyers Argue Rules Are Unconstitutional

from the how-it-works dept

Earlier, we had a story about NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker being caught lying in his Congressional testimony on the Comcast/NBC merger. And a bunch of folks have now been sending in the news of Al Franken blatantly calling Comcast boss Brian Roberts for also being less than honest, specifically about the FCC rules to protect consumers:
"In other words, looking to get approval for this merger, you sat there in my office and told me to my face that these rules would protect consumers but your lawyers had just finished arguing in front of the Commission that it would be unconstitutional to apply these rules."
You can see the video here:
Of course, this is nothing new for Comcast. It has been playing the same doubletalk game for a while now -- always insisting that it shouldn't be subject to more regulation because the FCC's rules keep it in line... while at the same time fighting the FCC in court and saying that those rules are unconstitutional.

All that said, I have to say that I'm not particularly concerned about Comcast and NBC merging. I'm all for it. If two companies that poorly run are getting together, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a disaster. We've seen this game before, and it was called AOL-Time Warner. While it's difficult to think that anyone could screw up that badly again, if anyone can, it's the folks at NBC Universal.

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  1. identicon
    wishes to remain semi anon, 5 Feb 2010 @ 5:27pm


    I like Franken

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    :), 5 Feb 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Simple it is not.

    I see those kind of merger with great concern.

    It is not something people don't see coming, when those merger happens interests shifts and out come out abuse, lock in and the end of competition, that damages the business ecosystem.

    Business with competing interest should not be eligible for mergers it kills the very thing needed for a vibrant environment.

    Even when it doesn't work for the companies the end result is not good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2010 @ 6:45pm

    Yes but...

    While I think Franken brings up some good points, I surely don't like his attitude, sitting up there in his high chair. He a likes to ask questions - in fact, he goes on and on after his time is up, talking about the questions he wanted to ask. But he surely does not want answers. He told MrZ "NO" when asked if he could answer the question.

    Franken likes to hear himself talk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Yes but...

    I thought the Comcast's guys attitude was the problem. He talked about their reputation. They've scored the silver for worst company in America 2 years running over at the consumerist. So the reputation is bad.

    Anyway, Franken's concerns are extremely valid, and they were never going to answer his questions anyway.

    As we routinely see in example after example on this very site, large companies do not want to fight and struggle for survival. They want to cash checks.

    Franken explains (and it might be another clip at the same hearing) about his experiences with relaxed regulations and how the entertainment quality (and at NBC profits) have suffered on behalf of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Tom Landry (profile), 5 Feb 2010 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Yes but...

    Oh c'mon, how can you not crack a smile when seeing a lying sack of shit CEO like Roberts getting his own words fed back to him on a steaming platter of smart-ass?

    I'm far from being an Al Franken fan but I could watch this kind of stuff all day long.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Brandon (profile), 5 Feb 2010 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Simple it is not.

    I agree. It always seems that even though large mergers like this can (and have) failed, they always seem to set a whole host of issues from regulatory changes to large power voids that seem to be filled up by other monopolies, also it always seems some laws get changed for whatever reason due to either the company itself or as a result of something the company has done.

    I'm all for Comcast and NBC going bye-bye. Comcast is in my opinion so big they mis-manage for a while before failure. A quick read around the internet (dsl reports, consumerist) shows many issues with even basic treatment of their customers. In their time before they fail they could easily set various nasty industry-wide practices that become the norm.

    I just can't see it being a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 6 Feb 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Can we get more "Comedians" as "Politicians", please?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Brandon (profile), 6 Feb 2010 @ 4:50pm


    I vote for Christopher Titus and Jim Gaffigan! Hell, I'll even take Dane Cook in place of any of our current politicians in Florida!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Fred McTaker (profile), 6 Feb 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Bad Precedent

    "All that said, I have to say that I'm not particularly concerned about Comcast and NBC merging."

    While I appreciate the humor in the paragraph past this statement, I must disagree with it completely. A NBC-Comcast merger would set a horrible precedent. Just imagine if AT&T and Fox decide to get together! The biggest communications monopoly that ever existed, combined with the biggest monopoly on *making up "facts" to suit an agenda* that ever existed.

    I'm already looking for jobs with work visas in Canada. I don't want to be anywhere near any metropolitan area in U.S.A. when Fox decides WW3 might be good for ratings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    yozoo, 8 Feb 2010 @ 10:31am

    poorly run?

    Im not a big fan of comcast, but to call a company that successful "poorly run", simply hurts your own credibility. NBC sure, Zucker is maybe the worst CEO in broadcast television history(and NBC has suffored accordingly), but Comcast has enjoyed rediculous success over the last 10 to 20 years. I doubt too many shareholders consider it poorly run.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2010 @ 12:57pm

    I agree withe commets of the Senator. Comcast has been allowed free rein with the cistomers for a long tme. They provide poor service, poor customer service, and mislead theor customers on most issues. Not a nice company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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