To paraphrase, when in Washington do as the Washingtonians do. In the case of Comcast and its ongoing bid to acquire NBC Universal, this means bulking up with as much political muscle as possible.
An analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop of the School of Communications at American University said that 78 former government employees registered as Comcast lobbyists in the final quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010. Most were former congressional staffers but four are former Congressmen: Reps. Robert Walker (R-Pa.), William Gray (D-Pa.) Chip Pickering (R.-Miss.) and Sen. Don Nickles (R.-Okla.)
As if this wasn't enough muscle, the MSO also got support from a well-known bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician, The Terminator, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined up with Pennsylvania Gov. and Comcast sports icon Ed Rendell, New York Gov. David Patterson and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour supporting the acquisition and noting that "the significant benefits associated with the creation of this new joint venture far outweigh any political harms."
Comcast's connection with Mississippi is tenuous but historical; the company's first cable system was in the state, Barbour pointed out, while urging deal approval so Comcast can spread its "positive corporate culture" to the new company. Interestingly, when asked about a Comcast culture at The Cable Show in Los Angeles, Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts averred: "We don't even have a Comcast way, so to speak."
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