Opening up a hearing on the Comcast-NBC Universal merger is like discussing sports in a bar: It will inevitably foment heated discussions, potential fisticuffs and some nasty accusations. That's exactly what the House Judiciary Committee got when it opened its proceedings at a field hearing in Los Angeles.
What the committee might not have expected was the comment from one of its own, Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who said she received a call from "somebody at Comcast asking, 'What do you want?'" Waters, a critic of the deal who sought the L.A. hearing, would go no further when questioned afterwards and a Comcast spokeswoman denied any impropriety, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
Other comments at the hearing were more along the lines of what would be expected. The Communications Workers of America reinforced its belief that the merger "would lead to job cuts, aggravate the already anti-competitive behavior of the cable industry and restrict consumer access to the online video content of their choice" in a news release. The union said it opposed the merger as "not in the public interest."
Of course all was not negative. Will Griffin, president of Hip Hop On Demand backed the deal because "Comcast has the best infrastructure of inclusion to build upon in the media industry and African-Americans consumers and policy makers have more potential leverage over Comcast than any other media company."
At least that seemed like a good thing.
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