The Federal Communications Commission's press release approving the Comcast's acquisition/merger of NBC Universal is worth a look for the conditions it imposes:
As part of the merger, Comcast-NBCU will be required to take affirmative steps to foster competition in the video marketplace. In addition, Comcast-NBCU will increase local news coverage to viewers; expand children's programming; enhance the diversity of programming available to Spanish-speaking viewers; offer broadband services to low-income Americans at reduced monthly prices; and provide high-speed broadband to schools, libraries and underserved communities, among other public benefits
More: "Comcast will make available to approximately 2.5 million low income households: (i) high-speed Internet access service for less than $10 per month; (ii) personal computers, netbooks, or other computer equipment at a purchase price below $150" and "we require Comcast-NBCU to increase programming diversity by expanding its over the-air programming to the Spanish language-speaking community, and by making NBCU's Spanish-language broadcast programming available via Comcast's on demand and online platforms."
The Obama administration couldn't get an immigration reform through when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, but its FCC is sure ready to require more Spanish-language programming on American television. Nothing against Spanish, which I took in high school and is a fine language, but why not Chinese-language programming? Why not Yiddish?
These FCC requirements are a back-door way of passing laws and mandating spending that could never make it through Congress in a million years. If Congress tried to pass a law saying the government is going to fund high-speed internet access for the poor for less than $10 a month and mandate more Spanish-language television channels, it'd have a hard time. But if the FCC tries to do it as part of imposed conditions on a merger that two big businesses badly want passed, it can get away with it. Instead of just looking at the merger on antitrust grounds and either approving it or denying it, the merger becomes an opening for the FCC to require all sorts of stuff from the merger applicants.
Meanwhile, the deal is approved yesterday, and today, GE chief Jeffrey Immelt (he's the guy selling NBC to Comcast) appears at the White House with President Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao. On Friday, Mr. Immelt will reportedly give Mr. Obama a tour of GE's operations in Schenectady.