Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cable Company Blocks Local Gulf Disaster News

Florida Cable Company Blocking Local News On Oil Disaster

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), July 6, 2010

WMR’s Pensacola sources report that the local cable company, Mediacom, the seventh largest cable company in the United States, has been blocking access to local Pensacola news broadcasts on the Gulf oil disaster since July 2.

WMR has learned that the 5 pm and 5:30 pm local news broadcasts from CBS affiliate WKRG-TV and ABC affiliate WEAR-TV, as well as the 6 pm national news broadcasts on the stations from CBS News and ABC News, respectively, are replaced by a black screen. NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN are unaffected by the cable company’s blockage.

WKRG and WEAR have been providing in-depth coverage of the effects of the oil disaster along the Florida and Alabama coasts.

Mediacom’s website boasts, “Mediacom Communications, the local cable company serving more than 1,500 communities throughout the country, is proud to be a leader in bringing new broadband services to improve the quality of life and drive economic development in America’s smaller cities and towns.” The firm is headquartered in Middletown, New York. The founder of the firm and its Chairman and CEO is Rocco B. Commisso.

A Federal Elections Commission donor search reveals that Commisso, a resident of Saddle Brook, New Jersey, has contributed to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

NCTA recipients include Barack Obama for his 2004 Senate campaign, and Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) [one of the largest recipients], Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), John Barrow (D-GA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Jane Harman (D-CA), James Clyburn (D-SC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Bobby Rush (D-IL), former Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (R turned D-PA), former Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lamar Alexander (D-TN), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

On June 17, the firm announced a plan to go private and hired as its financial advisers, Barclays Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan Securities and Baker Botts, the Houston-based law firm of former Secretary of State James Baker, as its legal adviser. Baker Botts also represents BP, Halliburton, and Transocean, the three firms directly connected to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In 2005, Baker was named chairman by BP of an “independent panel” to “make recommendations for improvement of safety management systems and corporate safety culture at BP Products North America, Inc., the subsidiary responsible for the company’s U.S. refining operations.”


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