Most of Pa. delegation signals support for Comcast-NBC merger

Almost the entire Pennsylvania congressional delegation wrote the FCC on Tuesday in support of Comcast's pending bid to purchase NBC.

Both of the Keystone State's senators as well as 15 of its 18 sitting House members defended that deal, which is still under FCC review, as one that would advance the commission's dual goals of promoting competition while protecting consumers. Their show of support is perhaps expected, though, given that Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia.


"The combination of NBCU's content business with Comcast's media expertise promises many benefits," the two groups of lawmakers wrote in separate but identical letters. "As the parties stated in their Public Interest Statement filed with the FCC, 'the new NBCU will be able to increase the quality, quantity, diversity and local focus of its content, and accelerate the arrival of the multiplatform, 'anytime, anywhere' future of video programming that Americans want.'

"The FCC has the obligation to review the proposed venture and determine whether the public interest benefits outweigh any potential harm," they continued. "We believe the balance weighs heavily in favor of approval of this transaction."

Missing from the letter Tuesday were Reps. Joe Sestak (D), Mike Doyle (D) and Paul Kanjorski (D). Those lawmakers were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Still, the effort frames the Comcast-NBC merger in positive terms that differ quite markedly from how other lawmakers, especially Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif), have come to describe it.

Waters, along with 45 other House members, questioned the deal in her own letter last week to the FCC that called for public hearings.

Unlike the Pennsylvania delegation, Waters' coalition predicted the merger could actually harm competition and diversity, which she pressed both companies' executives to address in six pages' worth of questions.

“I have been concerned about media consolidation and a lack of programming and ownership diversity in media for years,” Rep Waters said after she delivered the letter to the FCC.

“Comcast is the nation’s largest provider of cable and internet services, so the merger’s impact will affect virtually every American," she continued. "My colleagues and I want the FCC to conduct a thorough review of the Comcast-NBC merger, including public hearings, and to have our questions answered in a timely and substantive manner.”