Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

National views: Comcast's 'wonk rock star,' Hershey's fall

The Washington Post and Dan Rather review David L. Cohen and Milton Hershey's legacy, respectively

National views: Comcast's 'wonk rock star,' Hershey's fall

Just in time for Mischief Night: TV newsman Dan Rather, backed by the AXS TV network owned by Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters, Broadcast.com), plans an expose on Pennsylvania's own Hershey Foods and the decline of Hershey, Pa., once "The Sweetest Place on Earth," to run on AXS TV - the former HDNet - Comcast Channel 897 in Center City - at 8 pm EST tonight. 

Rather's "How Sweet It Was" will bash Hershey for its foreign exchange students-as-workers scandal and the demise of the company's iconic Hershey factory (now slated for demolition) as Hershey jobs move to Mexico. The segment won't take up Hershey's long relationship with Pennsylvania's elected attorney generals, starting with the first one, LeRoy Zimmerman.

Separately, Comcast's self-described "consigliere" David L. Cohen is the subject of this profile in the Washington Post, which outlines his clout as boss of a Washington lobbying operation bigger than that of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, in furthering the cause of Comcast's 40% operating profit margins and its mergers.

The piece opens with Cohen delaying the start of a cheap Internet-for-the-poor program so it can be timed to sway the Federal Communications Commission's decision in the NBC Universal deal. It goes on to acknowledge the data-driving onetime Swarthmore student politician and top aide to Philly mayor Ed Rendell has little street recognition, but is respected (and, as a Bloomberg spokesperson says, feared) in Washington's influence market. 

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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