The Comcast-TWC merger is about as popular among the American public as Islamic State militants, Justin Bieber’s drunken driving and the Ebola virus — that is to say, it’s really not that popular at all. Nonetheless, the merger stands a good chance of passing for two key reasons: Comcast doesn’t care what the public thinks and the government doesn’t care what the public thinks.
To understand just how much clout Comcast has with the government, consider a new report from Bloomberg BNA that shows Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter are now employing “nearly a dozen” former FCC officials whose job is now to help pressure their former employer into approving the proposed $45 billion merger between the two companies.
Included among the list of former officials are “the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, a former policy director to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and an FCC senior counsel who led the agency’s 2011 approval of the Comcast-NBC Universal deal,” Bloomberg BNA reports.
Taken together, this is just another illustration of how Comcast uses its power and money to establish cozy relationships with the people who are supposed to be regulating it. We learned earlier this year that Comcast has also assembled one of the largest lobbying teams ever consisting of a whopping 40 different lobbying firms whose sole purpose is to push lawmakers and regulators to do its bidding. And this is the single biggest reason why the government might actually sign off on a merger between the two most hated companies in the United States despite public opposition.