Federal regulators said yesterday that Comcast Corp. may have discriminated against a regional sports television network by refusing to carry the network’s broadcasts of Nationals games.
In a 10-page opinion, the FCC said it found that MASN had made a “prima facie showing” that Comcast had discriminated against the network and had “indirectly and improperly demanded a financial interest” in the network in exchange for carrying it. The FCC also said, however, that there were factual disputes on both points that would have to be decided by a judge.
Media lawyers said the FCC’s finding shifted the burden to Comcast to prove that it has not broken any of the agency’s rules. The lawyers said it was possible that the judge could find Comcast had played by the rules and was justified in declining to carry the network.
I don’t know the specifics of the rules, but shouldn’t we first be asking whether or not the FCC should have rules governing this? Is this regulatory burden in the interest of customers, or is it in the interest of regulators? Let’s all ponder that for a long nanosecond.