Tags: Homeland Security | Rand Paul | Steve Malzberg Show | monopoly | Comcast | Time Warner | merger

Sens. Paul, Graham and Rep. Farenthold Favor Comcast-Time Warner Merger

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 01 May 2014 06:15 PM

Three leading Republican lawmakers are adopting a hands-off policy on the proposed $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, and Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas told Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg the cable megadeal does not appear to be a monopoly.

"One of the good things about the Internet … is there's such of diversity of opinion and so many places to get opinion that all of the old-fashioned rules on merger and acquisitions in media really have become outdated," Paul said.

"[There are] so many places to look for a viewpoint … [so] I'm just not much on having the government get involved.

"Most of the time the government gets involved because another competitor doesn't like it and that competitor is usually an enormous competitor.... So for the most part, I would let [these] mergers occur."

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In the deal, Comcast would sell more than one million video customers to smaller cable rival Charter to sweeten an approval win of its $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable.

Graham agreed the merger does not pose a problem.

"There's no competition between Time Warner and Comcast in a cable market, so you're not creating a monopoly," Graham said.

"There's competition with satellite, with phone companies, with all kind of things."

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Farenthold said while he is concerned about the political views of the companies involved — left-leaning Comcast is the owner of liberal MSNBC — lawmakers cannot oppose the deal on that alone.

"You can't not approve a merger because you don't like the companies' politics. That's just not right," Farenthold said.

"The issue is, is it going to create a monopoly? Well, Time Warner and Comcast don't compete in any markets or maybe very few markets."

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Farenthold said his concern is whether the merger would effectively hurt new stations from getting on cable.

"If I were to leave Congress and want to start Farenthold TV, it would be very difficult. The fewer players there are, the fewer the opportunities to build a big enough audience to get on," he said.

"You add to that the fact the networks own so many stations and so it's part of the deal to put CBS, NBC, or ABC affiliates on, well you've got to take Bravo, and the Disney Channel and all of that.

"As a conservative, the government needs to get out of the private sector's way and I don't think you ought to stay in the way of this merger even though I do have some concerns about it."

Graham, while remaining hands-off on the merger, took a parting shot at left-leaning MSNBC.

"People are in this business to make money, right, these cable companies?" he said.

"I don't think you could increase MSNBC's ratings if you had a gun to people's head. I'm not worried about that."

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