Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Comcast Refuses to Run FISA Ad Critical of... Comcast.


Two weeks ago, the Blue America PAC submitted ads to numerous cable television stations, newspapers and radio stations criticizing Blue Dog Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa) for his support of a bill to expand dramatically the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers and to immunize telecoms (such as Comcast) which broke the law in enabling the Bush administration to spy on their customers with no warrants. The ads also documented that several of the lawbreaking telecoms which would benefit most from the amnesty Carney advocates donated substantial sums to his campaign (with Comast being the largest such contributor to Carney).

[...] Quite predictably, Comcast's legal counsel, David Silverman of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Washington DC, wrote an email late last week (here) claiming -- laughably -- that Comcast has decided to reject the ad because it "would face potential liability for any defamation contained in the spot."
Comcasts attempts to block the ad are understandable. Their justification of why is not, nor is the FCC's apparent silence on the issue.

Even if we put aside the horrible precedent granting retro-active immunity creates (despite what Chris Cannon might tell you), and the underexposed illegality of warrantless wiretapping of Americans, there remains the issue of companies like Comcast, Verizon, etc. who provide a large part of the backbone of our popular media, internet access, and general information exchange.

The possible consequences of unchecked self-serving discretion are staggering.


  1. Greenwald did a good job in his post of exposing Comcast's self-serving behavior regarding Rep. Carney. The message, "you bad-mouth someone we donate money to, we won't publish you comments." Am I the only one who sees a serious problem with this?

  2. You're killing me, Smalls! Killing me!

  3. Sorry Jeffrey. But is there someone you can talk to there to get this ad run? Perhaps set a desk on fire?

    Obi Wan, I think you're right to be concerned. I am.