Politics

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
bribery, maxine waters

Companies:
comcast, nbc universal



Congresswoman Suggests That Comcast Tried To Bribe Her To Support Merger

from the bad-day-at-the-office dept

With plenty of scrutiny still facing the proposed merger between NBC and Comcast, Representative Maxine Waters strongly suggested that someone from the company tried to bribe her to get her to support the merger:
During a House Judiciary Committee that took place in L.A. on Monday, Representative Maxine Waters stated that she had received a call from "somebody at Comcast asking, 'What do you want?'"

Waters, who has been grilling the cable giant on issues of ethnic diversity, claims she replied by explaining the need for greater diversity in media. However, Waters says the Comcast caller responded by saying, "I'm talking about what do you want?"
Comcast, not surprisingly, denies any suggested wrongdoing:
Any implication that anyone ever inquired about what Congresswoman Waters would want personally is completely untrue. We meet and discuss the proposed joint venture with many members of Congress and other leaders. We have repeatedly tried to understand Congresswoman Waters' concerns so that we can address them.
Honestly, I still don't see why there's so much concern about this merger, which strikes me as likely to be another AOL/Time Warner-type disaster for everyone involved. Still, buying off a politician seems a bit extreme, though, I would imagine that many assume this is pretty much standard operating procedures in DC. The only thing "different" is that Waters actually called Comcast on it publicly.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 4:41am

    I threw comcrap to the curb years ago, Why don't they just die! They NEVER cared about their customers!

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

  • identicon
    abc gum, 9 Jun 2010 @ 4:49am

    Vertical integration?
    Anti competitive practices?

    Hopefully it is doomed to failure.

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

  • icon
    noesbueno (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:06am

    obviously, she asked for more than what they were willing to pay. and not in ethnic diversity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:08am

    "The only thing 'different' is that Waters actually called Comcast on it publicly."

    ...and she didnt take the bribe...which is pretty amazing to me but I think noesbueno said it best, they werent willing to give her what she asked so now she's making it public.

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

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:34am

    I hve a friend...

    He worked for Adelphia before it got bought out by Comcast. he misses the old days with Adelphia because it was easier to service the customer. Now they are rewarded for just being diplomats. Telling the user that they will fix it but it never does. when the customer calls back angry they try and offer her services that are free to them but normally charge their customers to "appease" them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:47am

      Re: I hve a friend...

      He could always get a different job instead of supporting unethical business practices. But who cares if you're financially damaging people? You gotta do what you gotta do(TM).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:51am

        You're an ignorant prick

        Congratulations if you're one of the few people that has the freedom to choose his or her own work and still make a decent living. Don't assume everyone has that same freedom to turn down a job without the security of having another one.

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

        • icon
          interval (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:05am

          Re: You're an ignorant prick

          Geeze, temper... I think it was just a flip comment not to be taken seriously...

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

          • icon
            harbingerofdoom (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:21pm

            Re: Re: You're an ignorant prick

            while i understand it was an off the cuff remark, you cant make those kind of comments in this kind of economy and not expect people to have that exact reaction.

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

  • icon
    Comboman (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:42am

    Study your history

    Honestly, I still don't see why there's so much concern about this merger

    If you don't see why there's concern over a content producer being controlled by a distributor you need to study the history of the Hollywood studio system and the 1948 antitrust case that put an end to it. Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:01am

      Re: Study your history

      "Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers."

      Content delivered over satellite has remained relatively flat over the past ten years. In comparison, cable services have increased substantially since deregulation in 1995. So the customers in a way have been subsidizing this merger through the higher rates.

      Should we expect cable rates to decrease, and service to improve after this merger? I don't think so.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:02am

      Re: Study your history

      "Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers."

      Content delivered over satellite has remained relatively flat over the past ten years. In comparison, cable services have increased substantially since deregulation in 1995. So the customers in a way have been subsidizing this merger through the higher rates.

      Should we expect cable rates to decrease, and service to improve after this merger? I don't think so.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:05am

      Re: Study your history

      "Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers."

      Content delivered over satellite has remained relatively flat over the past ten years. In comparison, cable services have increased substantially since deregulation in 1995. So the customers in a way have been subsidizing this merger through the higher rates.

      Should we expect rates to decrease, and service to improve after this merger? I don't think so. But perhaps there will probably be some promotional offers that last 6 months.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:07am

      Re: Study your history

      "Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers."

      Content delivered over satellite has remained relatively flat over the past ten years. In comparison, cable services have increased substantially since the Cable deregulation in 1995. So the customers in a way have been subsidizing this merger through the higher rates.

      Should we expect rates to decrease, and service to improve after this merger? I don't think so. But perhaps there will probably be some good 6 month promotional offers! :-P

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:07am

      Re: Study your history

      "Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers."

      Content delivered over satellite has remained relatively flat over the past ten years. In comparison, cable services have increased substantially since the Cable deregulation in 1995. So the customers in a way have been subsidizing this merger through the higher rates.

      Should we expect rates to decrease, and service to improve after this merger? I don't think so. But perhaps there will probably be some good 6 month promotional offers! :-P

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:12am

      Re: Study your history

      This merger will be great for the customer type that enjoys the business model that requires people to call-and-threaten-to-cancel-every-6-months.

      What's wrong with providing a competitively priced product that comes with good service?

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:23am

      Re: Study your history

      If you don't see why there's concern over a content producer being controlled by a distributor you need to study the history of the Hollywood studio system and the 1948 antitrust case that put an end to it. Comcast is clearly trying to create a walled-garden for cable content so that NBC content (NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Weather Channel, A&E, etc) is only (or preferentially) available on Comcast and not on other cable/satellite/internet providers.

      The world is a very different place than 60 years ago. If NBC/comcast tries to wall off that content, they'll find that people route around them.

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

  • icon
    WammerJammer (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 5:46am

    Elections?

    It's election time. Amazing how honest they get at election time.

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

  • icon
    mjb5406 (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:21am

    Doomed

    I've said it before... the worst cable provider buyiing the worst content provider. A death knell.

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

  • identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:26am

    "buying off a politician" -- is ROUTINE.

    You are still living in the fairy-tale world of civics class where at worst mistakes might be made, but are eventually corrected by well-intentioned hard-working public servants, instead of the real world where so much money is sloshing around the system that *everyone* is bought, even though they're all so corruptly intent on a police state that they hardly need to be.

    So now you've got "politician refuses bribe" as the equivalent of the old "man bites dog".

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

  • icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:45am

    I do not know why she did not have the conversation recorded for proof. As a politician that is usually a good idea for situations the law in DC is one party consent for recording since she was a party of the conversation and would have been recording it there is no issue there.

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

  • identicon
    Tod, 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:53am

    What Bribe?

    She kept ranting about some airy "diversity" thingy and they kept asking "what do you want" and not getting any real answer.

    Where's the bribe?

    Not that I like either party involved.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:35am

    Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

    A promise to provide more "Ethnic Diversity" is a great way to discuss how merger getting approved. If "Ethnic Diversity" was truly a driving force and a part of their DNA and company culture, I imagine Comcast would have invested in creating a few "Ethnic Channels" before they created and acquired regional sports networks.

    The whole thing smells like a PR stunt. It's almost as good as a promise for more programming for children, because we should do everything for the Children.


    Mike: "Honestly, I still don't see why there's so much concern about this merger, which strikes me as likely to be another AOL/Time Warner-type disaster for everyone involved."

    When you own origination as well as distribution, many companies will be affected. It changes the dynamics of the industry, and there will be casualties.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:25am

      Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

      When you own origination as well as distribution, many companies will be affected. It changes the dynamics of the industry, and there will be casualties.

      Yeah, AOL/Time Warner was quite a casualty.

      What, specifically, are you concerned about?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:36am

    Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

    A promise to provide more "Ethnic Diversity" is a great way to discuss how merger getting approved. If "Ethnic Diversity" was truly a driving force and a part of their DNA and company culture, I imagine Comcast would have invested in creating a few "Ethnic Channels" before they created and acquired regional sports networks.

    The whole thing smells like a PR stunt. It's almost as good as a promise for more programming for children, because we should do everything for the Children.


    Mike: "Honestly, I still don't see why there's so much concern about this merger, which strikes me as likely to be another AOL/Time Warner-type disaster for everyone involved."

    You're not a TV guy, nor do you seem to understand contractual implications. But when you own origination as well as distribution, many companies will be affected. It changes the dynamics of the industry.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:38am

    Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

    A promise to provide more "Ethnic Diversity" is a great way to discuss how merger getting approved. If "Ethnic Diversity" was truly a driving force and a part of their DNA and company culture, I imagine Comcast would have invested in creating a few "Ethnic Channels" before they created and acquired regional sports networks.

    The whole thing smells like a PR stunt. It's almost as good as a promise for more programming for children, because we should do everything for the Children.


    Mike: "Honestly, I still don't see why there's so much concern about this merger, which strikes me as likely to be another AOL/Time Warner-type disaster for everyone involved."

    You're not a TV guy, nor do you seem to understand contractual implications. But when you own origination as well as distribution, many companies will be affected. It changes the dynamics of the industry.

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

    • icon
      Nastybutler77 (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

      "You're not a TV guy, nor do you seem to understand contractual implications."

      And you're clearly not a computer guy, nor do you seem to understand how to make a comment without reposting it up to five times. Hit the "Submit" button ONCE, genius.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

        You see, there's this thing called "Moderating" and it's not done well at Techdirt. I've brought it up a few times.

        Apparently they decided to not moderate all five of my comments.

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

        • icon
          Nastybutler77 (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

          So you're blaming Techdirt's lack of moderation for your innablity to properly use their comments. How about you take responsibility for your own issues? 99% of us seem to have figured out how to post comments just fine.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

            Yep.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is "For Ethinic Diversity" the new "For The Children" PR line?

            It seems to be working again. It's nice to see things get resolved, isn't it?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:42am

    i dont even see an attempted bribe. what i see is a comcast person asking what she wants them to do to make the merger work. what has to be sold, what has to be moved, what has to be changed. that she took it as an offer of a bride only suggests that she is use to being offered bribes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 8:13am

    Asked her the wrong question

    Its not 'want do you want?'. The right question is 'how much is the other side paying you?'.

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

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:08am

    Wonder how many times this happens and isn't 'mentioned'...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:15am

    Comcast is up to something Someone should slow them down.

    Did you see the recent round of letters that are coming out to reclassify internet and network neutrality? One wassigned by 71 House Democrats addressed to FCC Chairman Genachowski, and the other was a letter from 37 Senate Republicans.

    Also, Magic Johnson has been promised a diversity TV network if the merger is approved.

    It makes me wonder if Comcast has been investing in buying politicians, especially when I read about this.


    Why does all this matter?
    If you look into Next Generation Network Architecture (NGNA) which is a technology blueprint devised by Comcast, you'll find that the new cable networks plan to use IP networks fairly extensively, and to classify it as an "information service" means it would be completely outside of regulation.

    But the added merger with NBC, seems weird. How come no one is looking at all this stuff together instead of in parts?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:18am

    Did you see the recent round of letters that are coming out to reclassify internet and network neutrality? One wassigned by 71 House Democrats addressed to FCC Chairman Genachowski, and the other was a letter from 37 Senate Republicans.

    Also, Magic Johnson has been promised a diversity TV network if the merger is approved.

    It makes me wonder if Comcast has been investing in buying politicians, especially when I read about this.


    Why does all this matter?
    If you look into Next Generation Network Architecture (NGNA) which is a technology blueprint devised by Comcast, you'll find that the new cable networks plan to use IP networks fairly extensively, and to classify it as an "information service" means it would be completely outside of regulation.

    But the added merger with NBC, seems weird. How come no one is looking at all this stuff together instead of in parts?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:19am

    Did you see the recent round of letters that are coming out to reclassify internet and network neutrality? One wassigned by 71 House Democrats addressed to FCC Chairman Genachowski, and the other was a letter from 37 Senate Republicans.

    Also, Magic Johnson has been promised a diversity TV network if the merger is approved.

    It makes me wonder if Comcast has been investing in buying politicians, especially when I read about this.


    Why does all this matter?
    If you look into Next Generation Network Architecture (NGNA) which is a technology blueprint devised by Comcast in the past 6 months, you'll find that the new cable technology plan is to use IP networks fairly extensively. To classify it as an "information service" means it would be completely outside of regulation.

    But the added merger with NBC, seems weird. How come no one is looking at all this stuff together instead of in parts?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:20am

    New technology path

    Did you see the recent round of letters that are coming out to reclassify internet and network neutrality? One wassigned by 71 House Democrats addressed to FCC Chairman Genachowski, and the other was a letter from 37 Senate Republicans.

    Also, Magic Johnson has been promised a diversity TV network if the merger is approved.

    It makes me wonder if Comcast has been investing in buying politicians, especially when I read about this.


    Why does all this matter?
    If you look into Next Generation Network Architecture (NGNA) which is a technology blueprint devised by Comcast in the past 6 months, you'll find that the new cable technology plan is to use IP networks fairly extensively. To classify it as an "information service" means it would be completely outside of regulation.

    But the added merger with NBC, seems weird. How come no one is looking at all this stuff together instead of in parts?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2010 @ 12:52pm

    How does this not become antitrust?

    Next Generation Network Archetecture huh?

    Well, if Comcast wants to be a technological standards body, own content, as well as all distribution channels for a well known brand, and delivery channels, I guess that's not an antitrust issue if you can bribe the congress.

    Good For Brian. Must have an ego the size of Pennsylvania.


    http://www.multichannel.com/article/441185-The_Life_of_Brian.php

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

  • icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 1:17pm

    sorry all, but its maxine waters. to be completely honest, there is no way of knowing who is lying.

    maxine waters is the very definition of a carrier politician and has done little else since 1976.

    she has made the CREW list multiple times
    called the 1992 riots an acceptable rebellion
    has tons of nepotism surrounding her
    requested the FCC to not renew KTLAs license stating that they had an 'undue influence over public opinion' which created harm to the community... the harm? reporting on the nepotism surrounding her.

    she has been very confrontational several times in public and she is pretty much the absolute worst politics has to offer.

    as far as comcast goes, we all know who and what they are & how they operate...

    you tell me who the more trustworthy person here is?

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

    • identicon
      out_of_the_blue, 9 Jun 2010 @ 7:04pm

      Re: harbingerofdoom

      Maxine Waters isn't my favorite politician -- none are -- but what I see of her strikes me more favorably than most. You're SO over the top that I'll defend her.

      "she has made the CREW list multiple times"
      What's that? Sounds like lightweight left-right paradigm.

      "called the 1992 riots an acceptable rebellion"
      Was that the one over the thugs who beat Rodney King getting acquitted after a lame prosecution? If so, it's acceptable to me too.

      "has tons of nepotism surrounding her"
      Is there a politician who doesn't?

      "requested the FCC to not renew KTLAs license"
      This is the "absolute worst"? Evidently invading Iraq based on a pack of lies, killing hundreds of thousands of people, shredding the Constitution here and abroad, and instituting an Orwellian "Homeland Security" doesn't count with you.

      "confrontational"
      I assume you mean contrary to your views, but that for an accusation of wrong-doing is... feeble.

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

  • identicon
    Spike, 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:10pm

    Merger

    Why are cable company's aloud to have monopolies,no competition means outrageous prices.And why are merger's aloud to go through,people lose their gobs,and even less competition.Like when they busted up AT&T for a monopoly,then they allow them years later to buy one another up again.It's the crooks in office that allow this to go on,throw them all out of office.They are making millions off of us and we get NOTHING in return.

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

  • icon
    lvann (profile), 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:14pm

    Merger

    Why are cable company's aloud to have monopolies,no competition means outrageous prices.And why are merger's aloud to go through,people lose their gobs,and even less competition.Like when they busted up AT&T for a monopoly,then they allow them years later to buy one another up again.It's the crooks in office that allow this to go on,throw them all out of office.They are making millions off of us and we get NOTHING in return.

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

    • identicon
      sheesh, 9 Jun 2010 @ 6:43pm

      Re: Merger

      "Why are cable company's aloud to have monopolies"

      I DO NOT KNOW WHY CABLE COMPANIES ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE MONOPOLIES

      I DO NOT KNOW WHY CABLE COMPANIES ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE MONOPOLIES

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


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