Posted: 04/25/15 09:47
by Dave Mindeman
I went to MinnRoast last night - and if you have never gone to this annual event, get there next time - it is a great evening of fun....but like I say, I went to MinnRoast and got to hear from a lot of Minnesota Democrats plus a little Tom Emmer.
Al Franken was the finale speaker and I expected to hear some much deserved chest thumping about the announcement yesterday that Comcast was cancelling its proposed merger with Time Warner.
But in his usual self-deprecating way, Franken just gave a one sentence mention without talking much about the major role he played in stopping this potential corporate dagger in the heart of consumerism.
Franken was a lonely voice of caution when Comcast made its announcement. Wall Street was happy, the Fed regulators were asleep, and Congress was keeping busy with their usual list of partisan issues. But Al said, 'wait a minute' - is this really a good deal for the American people?
It wasn't. And Al embarked on a one Senator campaign to raise enough questions about the deal that eventually educated enough people and garnered enough attention that Comcast felt it had to withdraw its bid.
If this deal had gone through, the influence of the company would have been enormous....
Combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have given control of more than 50% of the home broadband market -- and dominance in 19 of the 20 largest media markets, says Todd O'Boyle, program director at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. "That is anti-competitive by anybody's definition," he said.
Once regulators finally took a hard look at the deal, the questions got louder....and the debate on net neutrality, (for which Franken also led the charge) gave more scrutiny to this mega-merger.
Franken's early involvement in questioning the merger was not one of those 'red meat' liberal issues, but it is one of those things that affects just about everybody in their daily lives.
Al Franken has become an extraordinary Senator...and extremely funny.
You'll have to hear the story about Al and Amy's Delta flight some day - especially when told by Al Franken.
In the meantime, let's thank Al Franken for doing a great job representing all of us.