Free Press' Push to Stop Comcast-NBCU Merger Swells Public Comments

Free Press' full court press to stop the Comcast-NBC Universal merger has begun to fill the FCC's public comment file on the proposed joint venture.

According to the latest tally, which is likely to change quickly, that docket has swelled from about 1,500 comments three days ago to over 9,000 comments and climbing by Friday (May 21) midday. The most recent overwhelmingly consist of a form complaint, or some variation of that complaint, from Free Press' Web site.

Free Press has produced a video on its site likening the deal to a killer asteroid headed for the earth that needs to be destrouyed.

While Free Press advises Web surfers to supply their own comment on why the merger is a bad idea, a quick poll of the submission shows that many are simply signing on to Free Press' form comment, though some are adding emphasis or elaboration.

There also appear to be a number of duplicate filings. For example, one name is repeated four times in succession (and apparently mispelled each time since the first name is "Ricihard"), all with the same Free Press-generated comment.

The FCC is scheduled to re-start its informal shot clock on vetting the merger beginning June 3. FCC staffers have said they want to get the review done by year's end, which now would be about the same thing since the clock was stopped April 16 after only 29 days.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.