Exposed Emails Highlight Friendly Relationship Between Comcast Execs and the DOJ
Posted on July 3, 2014 10:00 AM by Rob Williams
Consumers who want an open, fair market have good reason to not want a Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger to happen. Both companies by their lonesome are enormous in both the telecom and mass media realms, so to combine them together would create an enormous monopoly – and when is that ever a good thing? Even the Monopoly board game has been known to bring out the worst in people. In business, it can bring out the worst in companies.
Combined, Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be able to provide its services to well more than half of the United States. That’s not what makes it dangerous: It’d be in control of so many of those fat pipes, so it’s not hard to see what the future could bode for both consumers and outside businesses (especially those like Netflix, which heavily rely on smooth content delivery).
From most sane perspectives, a deal like this just shouldn’t happen. It should have no chance of happening. To many, it’d be a monopoly, and neither of these companies have the cleanest track record – especially Comcast, a company that’s a well-known combatant of net neutrality.
Of course, sometimes such realities don’t matter when money’s involved. It’s kind of disturbing, then, to learn that Comcast’s execs are rather friendly with the Department of Justice’s antitrust officials, something unearthed through leaked emails.
As it happens, Comcast invited Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse to a party to celebrate the opening of the Sochi winter Olympics – a great privilege. Hesse declined – smartly – because the “rules folks” would no doubt object. Further correspondence hinted at having a dinner in the near-future. All of this transpired about a month before Comcast made its intention to merge with Time Warner Cable public.
While a simple get-together is hardly a crime, the timing is a little too convenient, and it’s not as though this kind of thing going on is a secret. If this merger does in fact happen, I am not sure anyone will truly be surprised.