Did a Corporate Lobbyist Pen Advocacy Groups’ Oppo to Comcast Merger?

Bloomberg LP is not known as a particularly political organization–its majority shareholder’s job notwithstanding–nor is it usually found in the company of left-leaning advocacy groups. But it joined with groups such as Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America, Free Press, and Public Knowledge in a filing with the Justice Dept. and Federal Communications Commission, opposing the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal merger “as filed.” Even more interestingly, the letter appears to have been written by a staffer at the high-powered lobbying and strategy firm, Glover Park Group.

Bloomberg obviously worries about the distribution of Bloomberg TV, which has to fight for carriage on cable systems. The CWA wants to protect union members’ jobs. Public interest groups such as Free Press and Public Knowledge generally oppose greater concentration of media ownership. But it appears they are all riding on Bloomberg’s dime.

Whoever filed the letter neglected to first scrub the Microsoft Word metadata, leaving evidence that the document was composed by an abenzvi. (Disclosure: The copy of the original Word document was supplied to me by Sena Fitzmaurice of Comcast.) Abenzvi appears to be Arik Ben-Zvi, a managing director at Glover Park who, according to his official bio, “has overseen corporate and industry reputation efforts, major legislative and regulatory fights and national election campaigns.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Glover Park writing such a letter–one of many on both sides of the issue–and nothing wrong with advocacy groups piggybacking on the effort. But anyone writing Word documents that will be released to the public should know enough to wipe off the fingerprints first. Versions starting with Word 2007 make it very easy to remove the metadata, and doing so should be second nature.

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