Sounding like Muhammad Ali minus the cheap poetry, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow promised to fight the Baby Bells at every turn to ensure that their negative advertising campaign against cable does not result in lopsided legislation passed by Congress.
“You should know that I have some fundamental views about policy fights. First, no false claim is going to go unchallenged. And second, no false and negative ad campaign is going to go without a response," McSlarrow said in National Show remarks delivered in the middle of one of cable's most serious policy battles in a decade.
In a few weeks, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to pass a bill that would award national cable franchises to phone companies and allow them to target affluent communities.
Cable, which has had to meet build-out requirements for decades, has complained that allowing the Bells to cherry-pick rich suburbs is unfair competition.
"The Bell monopolies want a different result. They don't want to play by the rules. They want a different and more advantageous set of rules for them," McSlarrow said.
In order to pass favorable legislation, the United States Telecom Association has been running TV spots and newspaper ads asserting that cable's real motive is to delay phone-company entry into video, led by AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
"Rather than debate the merits of the video-franchising process, they are putting millions of dollars behind false and negative attacks on the cable industry with the same old tired rhetoric in order to get their way. It is undoubtedly one of the most expensive negative campaigns seen in years in Washington, D.C.," McSlarrow said.