The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday issued a draft order approving Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal. Sanders called the development "very bad news for the future of American media and, in my view, for the future of American democracy. A vote by the full commission is expected early next year. "Time is running out to stop this deal. I hope the American people will take notice and stand with me to demand that the FCC change course, vote down the order, and reverse the disturbing trend of media consolidation."
"If approved, this new media giant will be the largest cable provider, the largest Internet provider, and one of the largest producers of content in the United States. At a time when a small number of giant media corporations already control what the American people see, hear, and read, we do not need another media conglomerate with control over the production and distribution of media content. What we need is less concentration of ownership, more diversity, more local ownership-and more viewpoints.
"By law, the FCC may only sign off on the merger if it determines that it serves ‘the public interest, convenience, and necessity.' Far from meeting the public interest standard, Comcast's takeover of NBCU would create a monolithic media superpower and cause irreparable damage to the U.S. media landscape and society as a whole. In addition, the merger of these two media giants would likely precipitate other media mergers and make an already bad situation of media consolidation far worse. Despite the public interest standard, Chairman Genachowski appears to be charging ahead, pressuring his fellow commissioners to approve this deal.
"Some take solace in the fact that Chairman Genachowski's order would approve the merger only subject to certain conditions and regulations. This in no way changes my opinion about the scope of the damage. If this merger is approved, I have little doubt that Comcast-NBCU will retain hundreds of attorneys and lobbyists to exploit gaps and loopholes in any conditions and regulations. Once we allow companies to become this powerful, the FCC does not regulate them. They regulate the FCC."