As an independent gay blog, we are always watching warily as the giants gobble up whatever is in their path. We were not exactly thrilled when the FCC approved Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal, because now they control the content and the distribution. What’s going to stop them from slowing down Internet speeds for content that is not their own? What is going to stop a tiered Internet from emerging? Who is going to ensure the continued democratization of the Internet – and not just the complete crass commercialization of the entire entity?
As content creators, it is essential for us to have fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive distribution. We already spend hundreds of dollars on server space monthly; we cannot afford to pay a gatekeeper like Comcast a premium to ensure that our content will be delivered at the same time or same speed as content that the gatekeeper itself owns. It is a complete conflict of interest, and has the potential to seriously impact independent content creators.
And while you may think this is conspiracy talk, we assure you its not. These corporations are sneaky. Case in point: Meredith Attwell Baker, the FCC Commissioner that approved the Comcast-NBC deal, is now going to work as a lobbyist for the very same company she helped to create! This revolving door between the government and private industry is simply frightening. Spend some time in government, make connections, grease the wheels, then get a cushy private sector job and call in all those favors!
Attwell Baker released a statement, saying that she was “privileged to have had the opportunity to serve the country at a time of critical transformation in the telecommunications industry. The continued deployment of our broadband infrastructures will meaningfully impact the lives of all Americans. I am happy to have played a small part in this success.” And not to mention the opportunity to turn her service into an incredible payday – and a conflict of interest!
Comcast’s official announcement is equally lame, saying “Commissioner Baker is one of the nation’s leading authorities on communications policy and we’re thrilled she’s agreed to head the government relations operations for NBCUniversal. Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills.”
We prefer the reaction from advocacy group Free Press.
“No wonder the public is so nauseated by business as usual in Washington—where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows,” said Free Press’ Craig Aaron.
“The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy. We hope—but won’t hold our breath—that her replacement will be someone who is not just greasing the way for their next industry job.”
If you’re interested in learning more, visit Free Press right now.
(via ars technica)