Comcast Corporation is the largest cable television provider in the nation. It is also one of the largest providers of internet and home telephone services. Their last revenue report was for 2011 where they grossed $55.8 billion. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast services can be found in 40 states and Washington D.C. In many of those areas, they are the only cable option available.
In addition to being the largest cable provider in the nation, Comcast also holds shares of small cable networks such as NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel, G4,E! Entertainment Television, and Style Network. More recently, Comcast purchased 51% of NBC Universal in 2011 and the remaining 49% earlier this month. They have been the PacMan of the cable industry, devouring smaller companies that lie in their path.
In the wake of all of the gun control talk and legislation, Comcast executives decided to enact a company-wide ban on all advertisements from gun or ammunition manufacturers, retail sales distributors or even sporting events that have anything to do with firearms or weapons. NBC Universal had a similar policy when they were acquired by Comcast and the new parent company expanded those policies throughout the company.
The ban on advertisements even affects local businesses that have been advertising on the local Comcast cable company in the past. As of February 8 of this year, Comcast has cancelled all existing advertising and will refuse to take any others in the future. A statement issued by the company said:
“Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward. This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations.”
The ban was made company wide, but was kept a secret from the general public until Canadian American Corp, an advertising agency, attempted to purchase an ad on the local cable channel for Williams Gun Sight, Inc. located in Davison, Michigan. The company had placed ads with the cable company in the past. Dan Compeau, COO for Williams Gun Sight, said he believes the ban is unconstitutional and told CBS News:
“We’re a perfectly legal company selling a perfectly legal product and they have chosen us out of all the industries out there to make a stand on what’s right or wrong.”
“We were totally caught off guard by it. All these TV stations are taking millions, if not billions, from alcohol companies — and alcohol deaths, alcohol sickness, way outpaces anything a gun can do. [Comcast] is two-faced.”
John Kupiec, President of Canadian American Corp, said that he believes that Comcast represents a monopoly since they garner two-thirds of the domestic market. His company is considering taking legal action against Comcast. He also wants Congress to investigate the company. He explained:
“The next step is we want to get the lawmakers on Capitol Hill to review the monopolistic rights this company (Comcast) currently enjoys as the largest cable provider in the United States.”
“If you’re a gun range, if you sell firearms, ammunition, whatever, they will not accept your advertising. I’m an avid hunter and I believe this is a direct threat on the Second Amendment, a direct assault on legal businesses in the United States, and I think it’s antitrust.”
If Comcast decided to ban all advertising that supported companies like Target and JC Penney or others who supported gay rights, there would be a firestorm of attacks and accusations of being hateful and insensitive. But when they take the same action against the gun industry which the Obama administration would like to put out of business, little is done or said against them.
If Comcast is allowed to refuse to take orders from anyone involved in the gun industry, then a bakery should be allowed to refuse to take orders from a homosexual couple. If the action of the bakery is considered to be wrong, then so should the actions taken by Comcast.
I agree with Kupiec in that Congress needs to investigate Comcast on violations of the anti-trust laws in that they have become a monopoly in many areas. I recall when Congress forced AT&T to split apart because it was a monopoly back in 1974. Perhaps they need to force Comcast to do the same thing.