The responses to the responses are still flowing in, nearly two days after Comcast filed its counterarguments with the FCC to comments from opponents of its pending $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
The continuing stream of statements underscores that the merger review is a free-for-all grandstanding opportunity for companies, orgs and individuals with all manner of agendas. The frustration with the situation is evident in the tone of Comcast’s lengthy replies to critics of the deal that would unite the nation’s two largest cable operators.
On Thursday, Spanish-language TV station owner Entravision, the American Cable Assn. and media watchdog org Common Cause kept up the drumbeat of responding to the response with statements blasting Comcast using loaded language clearly designed to get the attention of the FCC and Justice Department officials handling the review.
“Rather than explain how Latino subscribers will be well-served by having a single provider offering cable television service to 90% (or even the 78% Comcast admits to) of Latino households, Comcast chose to attack the messenger, dismissing Entravision’s claims as merely ‘curious,’ ” Entravision’s statement said.
Entravision’s statement was issued by D.C.-based PR firm Glover Park Group, which is known for its political savvy in positioning clients in public affairs matters.
Common Cause, a longtime foe of media consolidation, demanded an “apology” from Comcast for what it described as the “reckless and unsupported attack on merger opponents.”
The American Cable Assn., a trade org for small cable operators, slammed Comcast’s “high-handed dismissal of legitimate concerns” raised by it and others who logged comments with the FCC.
“Comcast acts as if an FCC merger review is a Lockean state of nature, a place where Comcast, by virtue of its power, gets to define what is and what isn’t a valid merger-specific criticism. If Comcast can get away with that, does the FCC’s public interest standard even exist,” asked ACA prexy-CEO Matthew Polka.
Comcast had no immediate response to the latest comments. But Thursday’s volleys are surely just a warm-up for the formal replies to Comcast’s response that are due at the FCC by Oct. 8.