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Comcast, TWC Back Away From Controversial Dinner Funding
by Karl Bode 12:59PM Friday Aug 15 2014
Earlier this week Comcast stated they were "insulted" by concerns that the company (alongside Time Warner Cable) was helping to fund a dinner to honor an FCC Commissioner currently deciding on the fate of their planned merger. Comcast was contributing $110,000 and Time Warner Cable was contributing $22,000 to sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner, which promotes diversity in the cable industry.

Both companies have since withdrawn their funding for the dinner, instead giving those funds to the Walter Kaitz Foundation itself.

Comcast insisted that claims that the dinner funding was a conflict of interest “are insulting and not supported by any evidence." Time Warner Cable was similarly offended in a statement to the media.

"It is unfortunate that our long-standing sponsorship of this fund-raising event dedicated to advancing diversity in cable has been mischaracterized by a few," Time Warner Cable said in a statement. "We are redirecting our giving in the cable dinner to the foundation's unrestricted funds for their programs. Time Warner Cable will not be recognized as a sponsor."

Try not to feel too bad for the giant cable conglomerates. While the companies play indignant, they have a long history of throwing money at minority organizations simply so those organizations will parrot company positions, usually in stark opposition to the interest of those the organizations' claim to represent. That these companies were funding a single dinner is the tip of a very, very large iceberg, with anything but noble intentions at its heart.

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bbeesley
VIP
join:2003-08-07
Richardson, TX
kudos:5

2 recommendations

Unfair Characterization

"they have a long history of throwing money at minority organizations simply so those organizations will parrot company positions"

I think it unfair to presume a quid-pro-quo without providing any direct evidence.

Many people and companies give generously to organizations simply because they believe in and want to provide support for them.

Unless, you have something other than conjecture on your part your statements border on slanderous and have a chilling effect on the generosity that organizations like Katz depend on to perform their mission

Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2

2 recommendations

Re: Unfair Characterization

Karl is just reporting how the people in the know have felt about this dinner funding and it seems it was enough for Comcast and TWC themselves to redirect their donations. Like it or not, when these companies have regulatory capture of their audience due to sponsored laws, you need to keep an eye on these people. Lemme ask you why they were, in particular, donating to a dinner in honor of the person holding this anti-consumer merger's fate instead of what they backed off to doing.

fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR

Re: Unfair Characterization

said by Selenia:

Lemme ask you why they were, in particular, donating to a dinner in honor of the person holding this anti-consumer merger's fate instead of what they backed off to doing.

Did you miss the part where Comcast had been donating for over a decade to this dinner, regardless of the honoree?

Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2

Re: Unfair Characterization

What I read is they been donating to the organization, which they still did.

fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR

Re: Unfair Characterization

said by Selenia:

What I read is they been donating to the organization, which they still did.

"Comcast and NBC Universal, which joined forces in 2011, have donated at least $120,000 annually to support the group’s fundraising dinner since 2011, and more than $1 million since 2004."

»www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fed···gulator/

missinginfo

@69.241.122.x

Re: Unfair Characterization

funny how things like that get left out.
Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
That may be so but Brian Roberts could have recused himself from the 2014 dinner committee. The fact he was on the 8 member committee and this is the first time a sitting FCC commissioner has been named as the honoree by the committee raises more questions of impropriety than the donation itself.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

4 edits

7 recommendations

Anybody familiar with telecom policy has watched this occur for much of the last decade. The money sent to minority, disabled, and other rights groups may help in some instances, but all-too often it comes with strings attached (read: we expect you to parrot policy positions even if they go against your constituents' best interests). Here's some baseline reading for you:

»www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/busin···opy.html
»www.techdirt.com/articles/201406···up.shtml
»www.publicintegrity.org/2013/06/···tics-say
»www.techdirt.com/articles/201408···ty.shtml
»AT&T Rolls Out Astroturf to Push for T-Mobile Deal
»consumerist.com/2009/10/27/is-at···trality/

I myself have spent fifteen years watching a large number of civil rights and minority groups copy and paste incumbent ISP talking points on issues and policies that in some cases violently undermine their constituent interests. AT&T's attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, Comcast's attempted acquisition of Time Warner Cable and opposition to net neutrality rules are only three of many, many examples where the disgusting practice has been stark and obvious.

Not all groups of course suffer from this problem, and refreshingly lately I've noticed some minority groups finally coming out in opposition to the practice:

»www.techdirt.com/articles/201407···ps.shtml

It's happening, and it has been documented for a decade.
Expand your moderator at work

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME
Can you provide evidence to the contrary?

Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1
No QPQ? Sure thing. 100k+ for an FCC chair's dinner who happens to be handling Comcast's quest for oodles of money in a merger. Enjoy the onion patch.
--
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elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

1 recommendation

"People" can give for a multitude of reasons to charities or PACs because personally they believe or want something in return. The more money involved, the stronger the tie to reciprocate. Any human that walks this earth understands that.

A corporations sole mission--and is specifically in their charter--is for SHE (shareholders equity) which means any dime on the expense column is meant to generate new revenue or profits.

So while the SCOTUS wrongly says corporations are people, anyone with common sense inherently knows that a corporation is NOT in the business of charity.

bbeesley
VIP
join:2003-08-07
Richardson, TX
kudos:5

Re: Unfair Characterization

said by elefante72:

anyone with common sense inherently knows that a corporation is NOT in the business of charity.

no, but the corporations are not autonomous entities....they are made up of people who can and often give to charity just because they recognize that it is the right thing to do.

When I was at Cox, I was heavily involved in the Cox Charities program and I can attest that much of what we did generated no direct impact to profits whatsoever but it was still the right thing to support the communities in which we employees lived and worked.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

2 recommendations

Re: Unfair Characterization

Please note that nobody said that companies don't give to very genuine and useful causes. All that was said is that Comcast and Time Warner Cable have a history of using these kinds of groups as parrots for bad policy, so pretending to be offended by concerns about conflict of interest are disingenuous.

batman

@73.160.110.x
said by elefante72:

So while the SCOTUS wrongly says corporations are people, anyone with common sense inherently knows that a corporation is NOT in the business of charity.

Corporate Charitable Giving most of the time can be seen as PR/Marketing efforts. That is polishing the old reputation so that the customers think they are dealing with a company run by nice people. Was this one of those cases? Maybe, maybe not. But this is just a case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Give to charities and people question your intentions. Don't give to charities and they call you cheap and un-American.
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egilbe

join:2011-03-07

The foundation is still getting the money

So instead of sponsoring the Walter Kaitz Foundations annual dinner, they just give them the money instead. How is this any different? The dinner is still going on, the foundation is still getting it paid for.

train_wreck

join:2013-10-04
Antioch, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: The foundation is still getting the money

said by egilbe:

So instead of sponsoring the Walter Kaitz Foundations annual dinner, they just give them the money instead. How is this any different? The dinner is still going on, the foundation is still getting it paid for.

It's not any different; as TWC said, they're just "redirecting" where in the organization the money was recorded as going, in coincidental timing with the bad press they've been getting for supporting this dinner specifically. The Kaitz foundation is still hosting the dinner, and still getting their cableco donations.

ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4

Re: The foundation is still getting the money

They are just not listed as a sponsor of the dinner.
Bob61571

join:2008-08-08
Washington, IL

1 recommendation

Will the dinner to honor an FCC Commissioner still have the main course be

Filet Mignon - the Lady's Cut ??

davidc502

join:2002-03-06
Mount Juliet, TN
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Reviews:
·TDS

1 edit

Re: Will the dinner to honor an FCC Commissioner still have the main course be

said by Bob61571:

Filet Mignon - the Lady's Cut ??

Too funny!!!! OMG

»www.buzzfeed.com/hillaryreinsber···-of-beef

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

2 recommendations

why promote diversity at all

we have plenty of laws that do that, and the cable industry has such a large and
demographically mixed customer base, that i doubt diversity is even an issue there.

clearly this charity is just a big slush fund to pay for parties and stroke some egos.

fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR

Re: why promote diversity at all

"Why promote diversity at all?"

Because the media and everyone else expects you to; did you not see the recent criticism of Apple for its lack of "inclusion" and diversity?

Apple's workforce is mostly white, Asian and male

BonezX
Basement Dweller
Premium
join:2004-04-13
Canada
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1 recommendation

Re: why promote diversity at all

and the source of the recent criticism is why i say most "right groups" don't survive their second generation.

They employed the people that meet the professional criteria that they were looking for, which is programmers, engineers, and designers, which are predominantly male occupations, want Females and minorities to fill positions in the same field, have them enter the programs if they have an interest in it.

The other thing is the university push by high schools, makes them look good when they generate X number of university students, you enter a program, give them a couple cars worth of income and possibly drop out because you don't like the field your going into, Community colleges and trades are not "pretty" jobs, but it's kinda scary that people would rather go to school for an art degree and flip burgers then go to a community college and pickup a damn trade.

When a company is planning a merger and trying to get financials in a line, why are they putting money out in donations, you would think having a 100% accurate assessment of assets before a sale or merger would be important.
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361

1 edit

MC

(Mignon Clyburn) Don't worry fellas. It's the thought that counts. Ya'll still got my vote.
--
The harvest is nigh past, the summer is nigh ended. Are you saved? bibleprophecytruth.com
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: MC

Don't worry fellas, some of us actually look beyond your "thoughts that count".

I will continue to vote for those who promote freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and individual opportunity, rather than intending to punish success and give special rights to favored groups that they paternalistically condemn, by labeling them incapable of making it on their own.

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

The only thing I want to know is...

What the hell is a $100,000 dinner?????