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The Almighty Buck The Internet Politics

You Can't Kid a Kidder: Comcast's Cohen May Have Met His Match In FCC's Wheeler 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-comcast-hires-wheeler-away dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Comcast's top lobbyist, David Cohen, is known to be a savvy political operator, having pushed through the No. 1 U.S. cable operator's landmark acquisition of media giant NBC Universal in 2011. But Alina Selyukh And Liana B. Baker write at Reuters that although Comcast ranks among the top-ten corporate influencers in Washington, having spent $18.8 million on lobbying last year, Cohen may have met his match in Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. Wheeler headed the cable trade group from 1979 to 1984 and ran the wireless industry association from 1992 to 2004. Since taking over the FCC last November, however, Wheeler has not shied away from stances that have roiled past allies. Wheeler publicly expressed skepticism about a potential merger between wireless carriers Sprint and T-Mobile in one of his most attention-grabbing moves last February.

'You can't kid a kidder. Having been a lobbyist, he knows all their tricks,' says Blair Levin. Comcast will formally request an FCC review of the $45.2 billion Time Warner Cable deal later in March. Opponents say the combined company will have too much power over what Americans can watch on television and do online. As FCC chairman, Wheeler has publicly and repeatedly stated his 'unabashed' support for competition. Wheeler has also hired a heavyweight consumer advocate, Gigi Sohn, as a senior adviser. Colleagues of Wheeler, a published historian, also highlight his subject expertise. 'He knows these issues like the back of his hand,' says one FCC official who works with Wheeler. 'He knows how the business runs. He knows these people, he knows what they think and what policies they want.'"
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You Can't Kid a Kidder: Comcast's Cohen May Have Met His Match In FCC's Wheeler

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  • Nationalise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:03PM (#46493943)

    You can't fight the tide of regulatory capture, and it's always most efficient and least risky to consolidate repeatedly until a monopoly is reached.

    So, it might as well be owned by US residents rather than a few shareholders.

  • by LordKaT (619540) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:08PM (#46493979) Homepage Journal

    ... that he's not gunning for a c-level position at Comcast, Sprint, or T-Mobile? Guess we'll have to see how favorable he acts to Verizon and AT&T.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:09PM (#46493991) Journal
    You can be certain anything he does is benefiting those who give him money, and it's not you.
  • by sudo (194998) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:12PM (#46494015) Homepage

    I just see this as bittersweet, that it takes a former lobbyist to be a match against another lobbyist.
    Makes you think how many bad decisions the government have made due to maneuvering from professional lobbying groups.

  • Re:Nationalise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sudo (194998) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:19PM (#46494071) Homepage

    well that aint going to happen, unless the socialists take over (not in this lifetime)

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:20PM (#46494077) Homepage

    'You can't kid a kidder. Having been a lobbyist, he knows all their tricks,' says Blair Levin.

    So this is what we've been reduced to? The disconsolate wish, having turned the regulatory body over to one of the kleptarchs [wikipedia.org], that he will discover not only his duty to society but also unbiased objectivity, and turn on his own? A ray of hope so thin strains my credulity.

  • Re:Nationalise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:29PM (#46494149) Journal

    > one FCC official who works with Wheeler. 'He knows how the business runs. He knows these people, he knows what they think and what policies they want.'

    yes, because 'these people' paid to have him put there. he can't be a completely obvious shill, but he already has shown his colors w.r.t. net neutrality "we'll just wait to see what happens without it first"

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:58PM (#46494295)

    Cable is too locked down. I consider myself a Cord Cutter. Because now, Every channel on my local Cable company is Encrypted QAM. If back in 1995, you had told people that every single channel, including re-broadcast Broadcast TV, in both the US and Canada would be "Scrambled" like HBO, Cinemax, Disney, and Showtime, requiring a cable box be present in every room, and that VCRs would be next to useless (you can still use a VCR, technically.) and that we would be paying $150+ in bills for it, we would be in outrage mode and be clamoring for revolution in both the US and Canada.

    If the FCC really had a backbone (and it's Canadian a backbone, they would apply a Federal Regulation that all Cable must be decrypted and there would now be a universal access fee of around $65 monthly, .Any Cable or content provider that refused to comply being subject to Federal investigation, arrest, and trial on charges of money laundering, wire fraud, including it's board of directors and CEO

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @03:37PM (#46494523)

    "So what you're saying is that he's not gunning for a c-level position at Comcast, Sprint, or T-Mobile? Guess we'll have to see how favorable he acts to Verizon and AT&T."

    The really telling thing here is that he said he was "skeptical" of the idea. Until the last decade or so, any FCC chairman would have publicly rolled on the floor laughing at the idea.

    That should cause you some concern.

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