Al Franken’s crusade to stop Comcast and save media
Most consumers are not fond of their cable companies, but comedian turned US Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, really doesn’t like Comcast.
Since winning his Senate seat in 2008 in what turned out to be one of the closest elections in Senate history, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer, who in his previous profession rarely shied away from stinging political satire, has kept a relatively low profile in his new job. But two issues that have gotten the senator fired up are big corporate mergers and Net neutrality.
These passions have led the first-term senator to face off with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company — not just once but now twice. He was one of the strongest opponents against the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, which regulators approved in 2010. And he is one of the only lawmakers on Capitol Hill speaking out against Comcast’s $45 billion bid to gobble up Time Warner Cable.
Franken’s strong position against consolidation of the media market stems from his days as a writer and performer when he says he witnessed leaders of the major broadcast television markets manipulate Congress to rescind the so-called Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, or fin-syn rules, which were established by the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1970s to prevent the big three television networks from monopolizing the broadcast landscape by prohibiting them from owning any of the programming that they aired in prime-time.
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