Thursday, November 5, 2009

Comcast should stop interfering with elections

A few months before the 2008 national election, Comcast removed MSNBC from our channel line-up. Of the three 24-hour news networks, MSNBC was the only one at that time that did not appear to be a full-time propaganda arm for the Republican party.

Shortly before the 2009 local elections, Comcast removed our public access channel from local subscribers with TiVo service. At that time, our public access channel was running content about the candidates for local office. Now that the election is over, Comcast has restored our public access channel.

What’s next? Selective elimination of televised political ads? Only showing C-SPAN when Republicans are speaking? An emergency alert saying that Republicans should vote on Tuesday and Democrats should vote on Wednesday?

I have other criticisms of Comcast for their lousy service, price gouging, utterly incompetent employees at every level of sales and support, and fraudulent business practices. I’m unhappy that they bought my mayor, with the result being that we can’t have FIOS here. But it seems like interfering with national and local elections is an entirely new level of evil, and should be punished harshly. It’s a shame that nobody actively regulates either elections or cable providers.


ruthling said...

Is it worth a call to someone at the state level? Do you think it would help? Martha Coakley might be interested :)

I didn't notice the loss of MSNBC or TV3, although I wasn't looking during the relevant time periods. Next time you see something like this let me know and I'll check to see if I can confirm it.

Oddly, my experiences with Comcast (I can't even get DSL at my house) have been pretty positive -- I've gotten useful friendly service when I've called and haven't had unusual outages, billing problems, etc. I think the business is based on scamming people for things they don't want, but my level of personal satisfaction is reasonably high. Maybe I'm lucky or maybe my standards are way too low.

Michael said...

I've tried the Department of Telecommunications and Cable, but they simply feed all complaints straight about Comcast back to Comcast. It's kind of like calling the BBB, except with less follow-up by the DTC. I specifically complained to the DTC about Comcast interfering with access to local election information 2 weeks before the election, and they were comfortable with Comcast not replying until Election Day. I may send a formal letter of complaint to the Secretary of State's office, since they oversee elections.

Michael said...

Comcast lied to Mrs. McCoy at the DTC about the nature of the problem, apparently. And in any case, Mrs. McCoy at the DTC isn't very clear on why I'd be dissatisfied with Comcast removing local election coverage before a local election and not addressing the problem until Election Day.