Comcast/NBCU: A lunch interrupted, a pundit opinion offered


Comcast and NBC Universal don’t even have to do anything to get in the news these days as their proposed wedding wends its way through regulatory channels at the FCC and DOJ. Such as Bloomberg exec Daniel L. Doctoroff bringing it up during lunch with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Or during televised remarks by Fox News star Bill O’Reilly.

The Bloomberg filing came from Patton Boggs, filed in “an abundance of caution” to chronicle the chance encounter between Doctoroff and Genachowski at a luncheon in New York City 10/27/10. The discussion of the Comcast/NBCU merger, which Bloomberg has opposed, was said to be spontaneous and brief.

“During their brief conversation,” wrote Patton Boggs’ Stephen Diaz Gavin, “Mr. Doctoroff advised the Chairman that Bloomberg has invested substantially in order to offer strong competition to CNBC, but that the merger had changed the competitive situation. Mr. Doctoroff remarked to the Chairman that the merger must be structured so as to permit that competition. There was no further discussion of the merits of the Bloomberg position.”

The caution was simply because Patton Boggs did not believe this chance encounter rose to the level of a true ex parte presentation, but was nevertheless taking no chances.

Meanwhile, The Hill’s Hillicon Valley flagged comments from Bill O’Reilly, who was discussing the alleged liberal slant of MSNBC with guest Bernie Golberg, also on the Fox payroll, and said that once Comcast takes over the cable network, it would start to change that. “Comcast takes over soon. I think they are going to change that whole thing over there. That’s what we hear anyway,” said O’Reilly according to Hillicon’s article, which noted that O’Reilly’s opinion on this matter was diametrically opposed, as it often is, to arch rival Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, who was said to have used his Twitter account to speculate that Comcast would make MSNBC even more liberal than it is now.

Comcast/NBCU also was splattered through no fault of its own during the recent retransmission battle between Fox and Cablevision, which inspired Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to once again go public in opposition to the merger.