Members of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday sharply questioned Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBC chief Jeff Zucker about the impact of the proposed merger of the two companies. Several lawmakers challenged records on labor issues and racial diversity, with California Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling Zucker "Many of us are searching, looking for black programming and having to enjoy shows that are very old or repeated because we can't find any programming that reflects us." The committee also heard from Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, who said that when Comcast acquired AT&T Broadband eight years ago, "they made a commitment to me that they would respect their employees' right to a union voice on the job." Instead, he said, one executive declared, "We're going to wage war to decertify the CWA." Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, insisted that the merger was not in the public interest and predicted that the merged entity would increase cable prices. Jean Prewitt, president of the Independent Film and Television Alliance, claimed that Comcast was interested in controlling NBC in order to "own more TV shows and feature films" and thus avoid having to deal with independent producers.

26/02/2010