The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable into a telecommunications behemoth is the media equivalent of “too big to fail” banking. If the largest cable provider in the United States is allowed to merge with the second-largest, people living in major cities, suburbs and small towns across the country will find themselves even more tightly locked into a dysfunctional relationship with a monopolistic corporation focused on maximizing profits rather than serving local citizens. At the same time, the new cable giant will own national news, entertainment, sports and Spanish-language networks. With its dominance of communications in population centers, its networks and its defining role in digital communications (as a prime provider of Internet service), a single corporation will be in an unprecedented position to dictate the development and character of media content for decades to come.
Media reform groups like Free Press have joined groups representing artists and creators like the Future of Music Coalition, as well as watchdogs like Public Knowledge, Consumers Union and Common Cause, to echo the concerns of former Federal Communications Commission head Michael Copps.