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McClatchy-Tribune  08/30/2014 12:01 AM ET
TV host Glenn Beck doesn't like Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger [The Philadelphia Inquirer :: ]

Aug. 30--Conservative TV host Glenn Beck says the government should reject Comcast Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. because the two cable companies won't distribute his cable-TV channel TheBlaze.

Beck, a former Fox News Channel host and author, says Comcast and Time Warner Cable are denying TV viewers access to differing political viewpoints and that Comcast is seeking to protect news channels it owns -- CNBC, NBC and left-leaning MSNBC.

Beck also claims that Comcast deleted his supporters' comments from its Facebook page.

Comcast said on Friday that it does not make decisions on what channels to carry based on politics.

"Comcast has a stellar record supporting smaller, independent programmers -- we carry over 160 independent networks and, since 2011, have launched four new minority-owned or managed independent networks, and have substantially expanded carriage of over 120 independent networks," Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen said.

"We are pleased to have the support of a substantial and diverse group of more than 10 independent programmers that have submitted letters in favor of the transaction in comments at the FCC," Cohen added.

Beck filed comments with the FCC this week, one of about 75,000 by those either supporting or opposing Comcast's proposed $42.5-billion deal for Time Warner Cable.

The FCC's deadline for the comments was Monday midnight but Beck's filing appeared late in the week because of what appears to be a backlog of submissions.

Independent cable channels, as a general rule, have a difficult time gaining broad distribution to American homes because they lack negotiating leverage with pay-TV distributors.

Last December, Lynne Costantini of TheBlaze asked Cohen in a letter to consider distributing the network "to further the diversity agenda" at Comcast and add to its slate of independent networks, according to the FCC filing.

The letter acknowledged that other big cable operators also hadn't agreed to distribute TheBlaze, which was launched in September 2012.

Greg Rigdon, Comcast's executive vice president for content acquisition, responded that Comcast's goal for its independent networks is to add two Hispanic-owned cable channels.




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