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Senator Sanders Urges FCC to Reject Comcast-NBC Deal

Comcast Corp.’s merger with General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal should be rejected by government regulators, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said today.

“At a time when a small number of giant media corporations already control what the American people see, hear and read, we do not need another conglomerate,” Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission released by his office.

Congress doesn’t have a direct role in reviewing the deal, which is being considered by the FCC and Justice Department. The purchase would give Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, control of the NBC television network, broadcast stations, cable channels such as MSNBC and USA Network, a movie studio and a share of the online site Hulu LLC. The deal was announced Dec. 3, 2009.

More than 100 federal elected officials have supported the merger, Comcast said in a blog posting Aug. 19 as the FCC finished taking comments. Those officials include Representative Rick Boucher, the Democratic chairman of the House subcommittee on communications, technology and the Internet.

“The overwhelming record in support of the Comcast-NBCU transaction shows the significant public-interest benefits that it will deliver,” Sena Fitzmaurice, a Washington-based spokeswoman for Comcast, said in an e-mailed statement. The merger will provide more independent programming, more local public-affairs programming and more viewing options for families and children, Fitzmaurice said.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has filed papers opposing the Comcast-NBC Universal combination as it is currently proposed.

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