Franken: Media Companies Are Afraid To Speak Out Against Comcast

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has made no effort to hide his opposition to the pending merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Now the actor/writer-turned-lawmaker is saying he wishes others would be more open about their feelings on the controversial deal.

Franken appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday, where host Brian Stelter asked him why executives at large media companies aren’t more vocal in their opposition of the merger.

“That speaks volumes about how anti-competitive this is,” said Franken. “You know why they don’t speak out? They come to my office and say, ‘This is off the record.’ Then they talk about how it’s going to be anti-competitive, but… They’re afraid of retaliation. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?”

Franken says these companies are dependent on Comcast to reach a customer base that is now around 20 million but could swell to more than 30 million if the TWC merger is approved. Additionally, Comcast will control the lion’s share of broadband-to-the-home, which more and more content providers rely on to reach consumers.

“You can encourage them” to speak out, explains the senator, “but they think they are committing business suicide… that they’ll be retaliated against.”