Today, Comcast executive VP and quite possibly the worst person in the business world, David L. Cohen, wrote an open letter defending his company’s proposed merger with Time Warner, which would make them the largest communications-content company in the history of Earth. The letter itself is mostly bullshit, the kind of bullshit that’s gestated in a bath of lawyers, publicists and evildoers hell-bent on ruling the world. But I will call out for you a couple of points so rich in doublespeak that even George Orwell would’ve had trouble conceiving propaganda like this.
Cohen’s strongest argument is that many (MANY!) politicians support the merger:
Among the substantive comments that have been filed in support of the transaction already are those of the governors of Maryland (Martin O’Malley) and Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett) as well as support from the Democratic Governors Association. We are honored to have the support of a bipartisan group of more than 50 mayors, from coast to coast, including both Comcast and Time Warner Cable cities, with a combined population of over 9 million people and representing major cities such as Anaheim, Denver, Jacksonville, Miami, Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and Austin. We are especially gratified for the support of mayors and other local officials underscoring the powerful benefits of this transaction for their cities, constituents, and customers because they uniquely understand their local needs and the impact that the enhanced scale, investment, and innovation of Comcast will have on their local communities.
That’s great, but a random sample Google search (of the local people) shows exactly what you might expect. Oddly, the least offensive thing here may be Comcast’s fight against paid sick time:
A major Pennsylvania Democratic donor has announced that he will back Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s bid for reelection in 2014, according to multiple state news outlets.
As first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen hosted a January fundraiser for Corbett at his Philadelphia home that helped net the governor $200,000 for his reelection campaign.
“I expect to support Gov Corbett,” Cohen told the Inquirer in an email message this week.
At least 16 entities signed up as “platinum” sponsors, chipping in $25,000 apiece, according to a partial list released last week by O’Malley’s inaugural committee. They included Comcast, Marriott International and 1st Mariner Bank.
The biggest opponent of the bill is Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant Comcast. Almost all of the $108,429.25 Comcast spent on lobbying in 2011 was in opposition to paid sick days. It also is a major contributor to Mayor Nutter, contributing $7,500 to his campaign in 2011 and an additional $8,500 in 2012.
Really, it would’ve been best to stop reading there, because any argument that starts off with the arguer citing people ostensibly on its payroll is probably a shitty argument. It’d be like me saying the new Editor’s Commentary is great because Jim (who gets PTO, by the way) agrees that it is great (for realsies, it is great and we’re doing it again).
Cohen explains that even after the merger Comcast will have only about a third of the market for broadband and cable. That’s fine until you consider the fact that no other company will come even close to having a 30% market share in those two verticals and that Comcast will have a presence in virtually every major market in the country:
This means they will hold unprecedented power and negotiating leverage when it comes to content, much of which they will own or in which they will have a stake in one way, shape or form (NBC, CSN, Time Warner properties). Basically, if you’re a content provider or creator and want your content to reach Comcast’s markets, you might be forced to deal with Comcast, a prospect that’s even more frightening when you consider that, in 2018, Comcast’s court-mandated net neutrality shackles will be removed and, as it currently stands, they’d be able to charge content creators and providers, and customers, more to view select content.
Let’s turn our attention to that net neutrality (cable company fuckery) portion, where Cohen tried his own definition of “free and open”:
For our part, Comcast remains committed to a free and open Internet and supports the FCC putting in place strong, legally enforceable open Internet rules, but these rules should apply to all companies, not as unduly burdensome conditions that will prevent us from competing effectively in a highly competitive marketplace. Today, Comcast is the only company in America that is legally bound [editor’s note: until 2018] by all of the FCC’s now vacated Open Internet rules, and we’ve promised to extend these rules to millions of new customers in cities from New York to Los Angeles through our transaction with Time Warner Cable. We remain strongly supportive of the FCC putting in place legally enforceable rules to protect the openness of the Internet. The FCC is also separately looking at backbone interconnection issues, and this is properly an industry-wide issue that shouldn’t be handled in a transaction review.
FUCK YOU! Boasting about being legally bound to do something is like a prisoner boasting that he hasn’t tried to escape his jail cell. Today, I accept my sentence and will continue accepting my sentence even after I’m moved to a minimum security prison, because if I’m on good behavior, I can do whatever the hell I want when I get out in 2018. And that part about “these rules should apply to all companies” means that, in Comcast’s mind, “a free and open Internet” should give them the option to charge whatever they’d like for specific content, or just block it in general, on said “free and open Internet”… something that having a precense in every major market in the country will make it very easy to do.