News of January’s FCC-approved merger between Comcast and NBC Universal was met with a lot of hand-wringing about the resultant “media powerhouse” having way too much control over not only the fine programming at NBC, but also quite possibly the Internet, with the looming threat of its “cable-ization.” But “shhhhh, nuh-uh” said the FCC—or the members of the FCC who weren’t senior Democratic commissioner Michael Copps, anyway, what with his dire predictions that it would drive “a stake in the heart of independent content production.” Fortunately, Copps and his fellow band of Chicken Littles will have a familiar voice to reassure them that all that stuff won’t happen: Former FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who just landed a plum job as one of Comcast’s top D.C. lobbyists, totally coincidentally a mere four months after she voted to approve its multimillion-dollar merger.
Naturally, some folks have suggested that Baker’s move represents an ethical breach that’s all too typical of “revolving door” Washington politics, where sometimes legislation is backed purely to serve business interests, and the lines between the public and private sector are all but nonexistent. But more likely, during the merger hearings, Comcast executives just realized how much they really enjoyed talking to her. Why do we always have to jump to the most cynical conclusions?
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