• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Partisans Agree: Comcast-TWC Merger Is Terrible Plan

Robert D. Marcus Brian Roberts Split - H 2014
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images; AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
TWC CEO Rob Marcus and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

The cable TV companies manage the rare feat of uniting opinion among conservative and liberal commentators online.

Give Comcast and Time Warner Cable kudos for accomplishing a rare feat nowadays: uniting the political left and right, both of which seem to hate the announcement that the two major cable TV companies will merge.

On the right, conservative talk radio has been mostly taking pot shots at the plan, and Glenn Beck's TheBlaze rebuked the merger. On the left, Sen. Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota, fired off a concerned letter to regulators.

STORY: Comcast-TWC Execs Talk Overnight Deal, What Consumers Can Expect

And the list goes on.

At the progressive DailyKos.com, a writer is petitioning President Barack Obama to "stop the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and require more competition in the cable industry."

PoliticusUSA.com, also a progressive site, features a lengthy account from Sarah Jones about poor customer service at Comcast, then she asks: "Can Comcast be a responsible corporation if they merge with Time Warner Cable? Maybe. But not without the government investigating their current practices and babysitting them the entire time if they are allowed to merge."

At the conservative HotAir.com, Ed Morrissey writes, "First, the bad news: Another American industry threatens to close up ranks by consolidation. The good news? When we complain about cable service, at least we'll be talking about the same company."

Several on the right are also observing that Comcast is the parent company of MSNBC and are opining that this will help the merger pass regulatory muster.

"The Obama administration allowed Comcast to purchase NBC, which was a huge merger. And we know that Comcast's NBC/MSNBC news divisions have been major Obama cheerleaders," writes John Nolte at Breitbart.com. "This is all in the merger's favor."

Nolte adds: "It is hard to take sides when all you are dealing with are bad guys."

As for Franken, he fired off a letter Thursday to the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC saying that he has "serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America."

Some think that Franken has particular insight among lawmakers, given his past as a writer and performer on television, especially as a castmember on Saturday Night Live.

"Cable rates have risen significantly over the last two decades, and my constituents express frustration at being squeezed by unacceptably high cable bills every month," Franken wrote. "I am concerned that Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable would only make things worse for consumers."

And Chris Balfe, CEO of TheBlaze, issued a statement Thursday reading: "As monopolies in the markets that they serve, cable companies often ignore their subscribers' wishes. Major MVPDs do not have a good history of supporting independent programmers whose content is in demand like TheBlaze, and we are skeptical that giving Comcast even more market power will benefit consumers, promote competition or lead to more diversity of voices or consumer choice on their channel lineups."

Not only has the left and right seemed to unite in their disdain for the prospect of a Comcast-TWC marriage, but so have those who make no claim at a political disposition in either direction, with perhaps the harshest rebuke coming from the "nonpartisan" watchdog group, Free Press.

"Americans already hate dealing with the cable guy -- and both these giant companies regularly rank among the worst of the worst in consumer surveys. But this deal would be the cable guy on steroids -- pumped up, unstoppable and grasping for your wallet," Free Press CEO Craig Aaron said.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com