Comcast and NBC Must Not Mate

A friend emailed me and asked if Comcast is really going to buy MSNBC.

Comcast isn’t buying NBC, they’re merging… which is kind of like buying. Anyway, it seems like it and it will likely go through even though there’s heavy opposition for the merger to not happen. It’ll happen anyway because they’ll get enough support from enough legislators to get it through. If that happens, it’s yet another step towards hell on earth.

Imagine this.

Net neutrality is something people have been fighting over for years. If net neutrality was law, no internet provider (Comcast is the largest seller of cable broadband service) can mess with people’s access and speed. With net neutrality, an internet provider can make certain sites less accessible or even blocked. An internet provider can simply make certain types of internet protocol (like http, ftp, https, etc. are all internet protocols) work slow or faster than others.

If Comcast owns NBC, that means they will own MSNBC. That means that they might decide to favor the MSNBC website over Fox News or CNN sites. That means they can make Fox News and CNN sites go slow, making it frustrating to anyone trying to access those sites.

That’s the net neutrality aspect of what’s bad about Comcast merging with NBC. There’s worse, though.

Consider how much influence Fox News has had on the Tea Party movement. They didn’t create the TP movement but they sure as hell fomented it into something bigger and kept it going when it would have probably died off earlier last year. Cable news networks can have a lot of power behind their channels.

Imagine Comcast owning MSNBC and several other networks when they own NBC. They could make it so MSNBC and other NBC networks favor the interests of Comcast, like a super powerful lobby firm on tv. MSNBC might report news in a way that only Comcast likes, becoming a propaganda arm of Comcast–a lot like Fox News is a propaganda channel for the Republicans.

Imagine a company owning this much power. Merging with NBC, they get to control and own: Weather Channel, Sundance, NBC, A&E Television, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Sci-Fi Channel.

They get the internet sites MSNBC.com, CNBC.com, NBC.com, iVillage.com, and a stake in Hulu.com.

They get all rights to all music, film, and television properties currently owned by Universal.

They get control over local station affiliates in all major markets along with resorts in Florida, Japan and California.

Let’s pick a few. NBC has news shows throughout parts of the day–Comcast-owned shows. Telemundo is a Spanish-language channel with news shows throughout parts of the day–Comcast owned shows. CNBC is the finance NBC channel, meaning they can make them make Comcast-owned properties/investments sound better than they should sound–and if Comcast has major stock in anything, you’d better believe they’ll pull support for those on a Comcast owned CNBC.

All those websites except Hulu.com are news/information sites.

Basically, they would own a huge market of the news/information medium. This is bad enough but the fact is that Comcast is a PIPELINE to these things. They are how we access these channels and sites. Not only would they own these companies but because Comcast is a television access provider and an internet access provider, this gives them an incredible power play over what news and information we can hear–and it can give them the power to make these sites more prominent and accessible over its competitors.

In the end, worst case scenario is Comcast gets so large that it becomes the primary provider of entertainment, news and information in the country. If you’ve ever heard of Big Brother, this is how it begins.

When entertainment, news and information are controlled by the same people who provide access to that entertainment, news and information, you’re effectively selling them access to propagandizing your brain.

Start panicking.

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