Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 12:11 PM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told Comcast and Time Warner executives that he doesn’t use their services – he’s a DirecTV subscriber – but he was friendly toward their proposed merger.

(And, he added, he has problems with DirecTV in bad weather).

“Most consumers want as much as they can get as cheap as they can get it – at least I do,” Graham said.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 11:43 AM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), one of the top Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned against too much government intervention in the potential Comcast-Time Warner merger.

“Absent clear evidence of market failure, consumers benefit when the government allows free markets to allocate resources in the most efficient,” way possible, Hatch said at a Senate Judiciary hearing. “Government regulators must be especially careful not to intervene unwisely in such a technology dynamic market.”

Hatch conceded that the merger “raises issues that deserve attention” but in response to his questions, Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen said the company faces a "fiercely competitive” broadband marketplace.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 11:27 AM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) opened a hearing on Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable by questioning how consumers will be impacted by the combination of the two largest cable companies in the industry.

“Consumers,” he said, don’t want complex explanations.

“They just want to know why their cable bills keep going up, they want to know why they do not have more choice of providers. Consumers are trying to find out whether or how this merger is good for them. I want to find out the same things,” Leahy said.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 11:09 AM

WASHINGTON – Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen called his company a representation of the “American Dream” that grew from a small outfit in Mississippi to be in the entity it is today.

Acquiring Time Warner Cable, he told Senators at a hearing on the merger, will give more people Comcast’s better technology and faster internet, expand its program to help low-income families get broadband service and allow the company to innovate and compete.

“Comcast represents the American dream,” Cohen said. “If this transaction is approved, it will give us the scale and reach to innovate and compete against our national and global competitors.”

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 10:44 AM

WASHINGTON -- Utah Sen. Mike Lee questioned whether a combined Comcast-Time Warner would have added power to discriminate against conservative views as the Senate Judiciary Committee opened a hearing on the merger.

"Considering the significant share of the video and internet market Comcat has, and considering the well-known political leanings of NBC, I’ve heard concern that Comcast might have the incentive and the ability to discriminate against certain political content, including, for example, conservative political content, and that capacity could be signficnatly enhanced as a result of this transaction,"  Lee, one of the Senate's most conservative members, said  in his opening statement.

MSNBC has become an openly liberal answer to Fox News.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 10:17 AM

WASHINGTON – Comcast’s critics launched broadsides Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary committee hearing on the company's merger even began.

Veria Living, which bills itself as an independent cable channel focusing on health and wellness, handed out a statement blasting Comcast for shutting it out – a move that the company charges violates the terms of Comcast’s 2011 merger with NBC-Universal.

“We’ve pursued Comcast on a regular basis, but their message has been plain, namely, that they will meet with us as many times as we like, but not give us a deal,” the company’s chief executive, Eric Sherman, wrote to senators in advance of the hearing. “Comcast’s manner of compliance with the fCC NBC Universal consent decree raises doubts about the company’s commitment to supporting truly independent, creative, entrepreneurial networks.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:50 AM

WASHINGTON – Comcast has made its case, and so have critics of the Philadelphia giant’s plans to acquire Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable company in the nation.

Today, we hear from federal lawmakers, who have been quiet so far about the proposed transaction. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hosting the first public hearing on the Comcast proposal, and one member of the panel – Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), is among of the company’s sharpest critics.

Others have been more circumspect so far, though Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told me last week that he hopes to use today’s hearing to “bat down” some “demagoguery” directed at the company.

POSTED: Saturday, March 29, 2014, 12:58 PM
Former Eagles linebacker and current WIP radio co-host Garry Cobb, seen here with former president George W. Bush at Philadelphia International Airport, will announce his candidacy for a South Jersey Congressional seat Monday. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP file photo)

WASHINGTON – Ex-Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb will announce his candidacy for a South Jersey Congressional seat Monday, according to a press release issued Saturday.

Cobb, now a WIP radio sports personality who has never run for office before, has said for weeks that he intended to run for the open seat centered on Camden County, but had not made his decision official. Monday is the filing deadline for candidates.

Cobb will run as a Republican and will face an uphill fight to win the seat that was vacated in February by former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.). The district is heavily Democratic – Andrews typically won better than 60 percent of the vote.

About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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