Washington

Coalition of the Unwilling: Comcast/NBCU Critics Unite

21 groups including Bloomberg, Writers Guild join to oppose merger 7/08/2010 10:37:38 AM Eastern

Comcast/NBCU
critics have joined to form a new group, the Coalition for Competition In
Media, which they announced with, among other things, full-page ads in the
Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times Thursday morning in advance of the House
Communications Subcommittee field hearing there on the deal.

The
coalition of 21 organizations, which says it opposes the deal "as
proposed," comprises a host of familiar deal critics including Free Press,
Bloomberg, Media Access Project, the Parents Television Council, and the
Writers Guilds East and West.

That
group ranges from ones that outright oppose the merger to those who are seeking
conditions like access to online content and carve-outs for independent
programming.

In
a letter to Subcommittee Chair Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and subcommittee member
Bobby Rush of Chicago (D-Ill.), the groups play off the title of the Chicago
hearing, "Comcast and NBC Universal: Who Benefits?," to answer that
question: "Not the American consumer; not small businesses; not media
industry workers; not the cause of diversity in programming; and not the
ongoing effort to build a more competitive media industry."

The
coalition says the merger's "threats" need to be "mitigated
through energetic applications of the government's regulatory authority."

The
group has also launched a Web site, http://www.competitioninmedia.org/.

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