BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 18 -" Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice approved Comcast's bid to take control of NBC Universal from General Electric:
"The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice okayed the merger of Comcast, the nation's largest distributor of video services, and NBC Universal, Inc., one of the nation's largest producers of video content. In approving this merger, these agencies ignored their mandates to protect the public interest and preserve competition and, instead, caved to an all-out lobbying campaign by Comcast and its political allies. Commissioner Michael Copps, who has long warned against the dangers of media consolidation, was the lone dissenting voice at the FCC.
"Needless to say, I am deeply disappointed in this decision. At a time when a small number of giant media corporations already control what the American people see, hear, and read, we do not need another conglomerate with more control over the production and distribution of news and other programming. The mega-merger of Comcast and NBC Universal will lead to less local news coverage, fewer points of view, and reduced competition for viewers and advertising, not just in Comcast's network but throughout the country.
"The merger will also make it harder for consumers to afford cable programming. According to the FCC's former chief economist, consumers will pay $2.4 billion more in cable bills as a result of the merger. As the country struggles to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I find it unconscionable that millions of consumers will spend more for less, paying higher rates while receiving virtually no tangible benefits."