A fearsomely bad monopoly: Comcast and Time Warner

I’m sure a few other people besides Paul Krugman and me are greatly worried over the proposed Comcast-Time Warner buyout deal.

Krugman put his highly educated opinion, as always, in clear language yesterday:Barons of Broadband – NYTimes.com.

My opinion is merely that, an opinion. Not even a mildly educated opinion. I know very little about the laws governing monopolies, by whom or how they are administrated, and how dangerous monopolies can be to us individuals.

My reaction to monopolies is entirely personal. I do not appreciate Microsoft’s virtual domination of the computer operating system business, primarily because I think Windows is lousy with glitches (every time I have a problem with my software, I sputter, “Fuckin’ Bill Gates”).

I did, however, deeply appreciate the monopoly that was AT&T — a monopoly strictly regulated by the U.S. government, which delivered a vital service efficiently and at reasonable cost.

But when I think with a shudder of Comcast buying out Time Warner (for one thing, people I knew who were stuck with Comcast complained a lot about it, and I think Time Warner is, for the most part, a responsive company), I think: Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, The New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Since, as I’ve admitted, I understand nothing about monopolies and how our government is currently set up to bust trusts, I never did understand how Murdoch was permitted to own a TV network with a politically unbalanced “news” component ; a New York tabloid newspaper converted (and destroyed) by Murdoch to the same political imbalance; and the world’s most influential business newspaper, also based in New York, which always had a politically grossly imbalanced editorial lean that, one fears, now leaks into its strict news reporting.

What is monopoly, if not that?

And that’s my fear for the potential Comcast-Time Warner union.

Let me, too, link this worry in with my Neu Wannsee Conference attendees list, because on that list are several Sniders — Jaime, Tina and Craig — at least two of whom are children of Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, and who are also linked to the Ayn Rand Institute.

Ed Snider owned a lot of Comcast stock and, as one can infer from the name of his current company, he still must have a connection to Comcast. And, to my disgust, he was just featured in the Daily News (Philadelphia Flyers owner will take $8.7 million check for Gramercy Park pad – NY Daily News.) because he had put his Gramercy Park apartment on the market.

It’s no accident that rich guys with rotten politics move to New York City — we are or should be enemy territory — and buy into our cultural, philanthropical-socialite life; they must believe they are buying us. (My guess is Snider will soon give a heap of millions to Lincoln Center, or Memorial Sloan-Kettering or another such organization and get his name carved into the lintels, as David Koch has done with Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater. I and several other people I know boycott the State Theater while Koch’s name is on it. What a shame, since this means never seeing the New York City Ballet.)

So if the FCC permits Comcast to buy Time Warner — and control not only a large slice of the country’s cable business but my own personal cable business — it will be turning over control of my internet, TV and telephone connections to a web of poisonous spiders who are themselves connected not only to the dangerously simplistic free-market nonsense propounded by Ayn Randers, but to the Koch Brothers Neu Wannsee “Final Solution.”

Gee, I’m seeing what I just wrote as possibly reading like paranoid conspiracy crap. For which I apologize.

But do read the Krugman piece. He is wise and not paranoid.

UPDATE 4/14/2014. I read with great appreciation this Times article that is more about Al Franken’s opposition to the merger than it is about the headlined “Senate panel:” Senate Panel Expresses Caution on Merger of Cable Giants – NYTimes.com.

Hurrah, Al. And, as the piece notes, Franken has received contributions from Comcast, but apparently is a model of integrity in government: he offers us all some pitiful hope that the disastrous Supreme Court “hey, anybody or company or whoever can buy — oh gosh how did that slip out of my fingers? — give, I meant give as much money to political candidates as they’ve got in their deep pockets and nobody should worry that this money will cause elected representatives to do whatever the money wants them to do” decisions won’t work as we fear they will.


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