April 22, 2005
Knee-jerking jerks

Today's Seattle Times carried an article in the business section about a proposed buyout of bankrupt Adelphia Communications, in which Adelphia's 5.3 million customers would be divided between Comcast and Time Warner, currently the nation's two largest companies. What caught my eye was this paragraph near the end of the piece:

Several public-interest groups said Tuesday that they'd oppose the deal because it furthers what they consider to be anti-competitive media consolidation.

Adelphia is BANKRUPT: its assets need to be sold to the highest bidder or bidders. Consolidation is going to occur, since Adelphia is going to go away. As to competition, for the most part, competition in the cable industry is nonexistent due to geographical monopolies granted by local governments. Does it really matter to the general public which corporation provides service to an area? Note that the pressure groups are not arguing on grounds of substandard service (something which I can relate, considering last week's woes with Comcast. They are arguing the tired "media concentration" meme without stopping to consider that it doesn't matter one whit in this case. Mindless opposition to anything relating to corporations is sadly typical of self-identified "public-interest groups", who invariably believe that the profit motive causes corporations to screw over their customers.

I'd like to see these groups push to deregulate the industry further, eliminating the government created geographic monopolies that shield the corporations they distrust from competition. It's not likely to happen, however, because the same mindset that opposes corporate profits also loves the nanny state and its byzantine bureaucratic rules. Opposing deregulation actually harms the consumers these groups are claiming to champion.

posted on April 22, 2005 09:21 PM


Oh, yeah, like the Mrs Grace L. Ferguson Storm Door and Cable TV Company is going to be able to make a bid for the remains of Adelphia.

And what's the practical difference even if they could? It's still the same bunch of channels.

posted by CGHill on April 23, 2005 07:40 AM

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