A seed company and a cable company are all that remain of the 32 bad businesses that paraded into the Worst Company In America Arenadome only a few weeks back. One is a battle-tested vet with a Golden Poo on its mantlepiece; the other a tournament newcomer who doesn’t seem put off by its competitor’s years of experience. Both of today’s Final Death Match contenders dream of a world where they are the only supplier in their respective industries, and will go to any means necessary to make that dream a reality.
VOTING IS NOW CLOSED… CHECK BACK TUESDAY MORNING TO SEE WHICH OF THESE TWO COMPANIES WILL TAKE HOME THE GOLDEN POO!
Voting is now open in the Final Death Match 2014 Battle Royale Extraordinaire Deluxe Supreme. The poll will close at 5 p.m. ET today and we’ll announce the results tomorrow!
For those who are still trying to make up your mind about which contender deserves your vote, there is more info about the competitors below. The rest of you can vote right here:
KABLETOWN; POPULATION: EVERYONE
Not so long ago, Comcast was just another inept large cable operator that, like its kin, didn’t care about shoddy service; techs who may or may not show up; questionable billing procedures; and charging fees for everything under the sun. But in the last five years, Comcast showed that it could somehow convince federal regulators that it should also be allowed to buy a major broadcaster/movie studio/cable network by promising it wouldn’t suck as much and paying lip service to the notion of providing Internet access to low-income families.
The extent of Comcast’s hubris became clear shortly after the NBC merger was approved, when the FCC commissioner who helped push the deal down her fellow regulators’ throats left public service for a fancy new job as a lobbyist… for Comcast.
Now, only a few years down the road, Comcast has a whole new slate of commissioners and legislators to schmooze so that it can go through the completely unnecessary process of buying Time Warner Cable.
The major argument made by Comcast and its defenders is that because Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t overlap, there’s really no loss in competition if the two merge into one.
But that completely overlooks the obvious — that there is almost no overlap for most terrestrial cable providers. By Comcast’s logic, it would then be perfectly okay for Comcast to be the only cable and Internet provider in the country, since there isn’t really any competition among the players in this marketplace to begin with.
Comcast loves to omit important facts when making its case for the merger. Like when it claimed that it was the biggest backer of net neutrality and bragged about being the only ISP that is still abiding by the FCC’s recently gutted neutrality rules. Comcast simply forgot to mention that it’s never actually been a supporter of strong net neutrality and that the only reason it’s still abiding by the old rules is because it agreed to do so when it merged with NBC.
Comcast also failed to mention in that story how it realized last summer that it could get around net neutrality concerns by allowing Netflix traffic to bottleneck, slowing things so badly that Netflix ultimately agreed to pay a pile of cash for more direct access to the Comcast network.
The fact is that, no matter what Comcast and its merger-happy supporters may state, many consumers just don’t believe that anything good will come of a merger between the two companies.
We just hope Comcast HQ doesn’t get the stupid notion this year to try to rig the vote like its sad 2011 attempt.
Just like Comcast employees couldn’t hold back on telling us about that stab at gaming the contest, here’s a little NSFW clip that even the folks who work for Comcast couldn’t help but share:
THE CASE AGAINST MONSANTO
For more than a century, and long before it ever got into the seed business, Monsanto was pumping out a long list of products — some of which it created, some of which it manufactured for others — that history has not been kind to: saccharin, PCBs, Agent Orange, DDT, AstroTurf. Then there are those items that are currently the subject of much heated debate, like recombinant bovine growth hormone and, of course, genetically modified plant seeds.
Monsanto hasn’t done itself any favors by trying to quiet the public debate on these controversial topics. Among the more notorious instances involves a Tampa TV station’s planned 1997 report on a bovine growth hormone product Posilac (which has subsequently been sold off to big pharma company Eli Lilly). Before the story aired, Monsanto allegedly put pressure on the station to alter the piece. It never aired and the reporters involved were subsequently fired, though the station claimed it was for insubordination.
The company has also spent millions of dollars in its push against legislation that would require labeling of food with genetically modified content, while at the same time lobbying for rules that would ban producers of hormone-free dairy products from labeling their items accordingly.
It’s also complained to the Federal Trade Commission that companies who labeled their products as “hormone-free” were misleading consumers by implying that hormone-free is somehow better than regular milk.
While Monsanto isn’t a household name, its Roundup herbicide certainly is. The company not only created the herbicide, it also makes a ton of money off of its patented, genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds, which can grow crops that are resistant to the chemical in Roundup.
Roundup Ready seeds now account for the overwhelming majority of corn, soy, canola, and other crops grown every year. And it’s Monsanto’s methods for maintaining that dominance that have earned the company a huge heaping of hate from the public.
Monsanto’s most notorious practice is suing — or at least threatening to sue — farmers whose crops may have been inadvertently contaminated with patented Monsanto seeds. The company claims that it only goes after those farmers who deliberately infringe on the patents, but a number of Monsanto’s detractors say the legal threats are a strong-arm tactic to get farmers to use Monsanto seeds.
This Daily Show piece from a few year’s back probably sums up the feelings of many of the Consumerist readers who are voting for Monsanto: