WGA urges government officials to say no to Comcast-NBCU mergerThe Writers Guild of America has expressed concern that a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal could lead to lower-quality television news, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The guild sent an urgent letter to Washington officials investigating the merger deal, explaining that the combination of the two companies would encourage pandering to certain political bases and contribute to the further degradation of objectivity in broadcast news reporting.

"True investigative reporting has almost vanished completely from commercial on-air news or has often been reduced to sensationalized, trivial coverage of no lasting significance," Michael Winship, president of the guild, and Lowell Peterson, executive director, wrote. "Instead of a town square where ideas flow freely, the news business becomes more like a shopping mall dominated by a small number of megastores. This thwarts the public's ability to engage in robust, well-informed discussion of the critical issues of our times."

The acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast's entertainment assets "would result in a single company producing content and acting as sole distributor of that content - both on cable and online - for tens of millions of Americans," the letter continues.

Comcast was quick to respond, saying that it would "make local news and other local programming available to consumers at more times and on more platforms than ever before and to facilitate and encourage the creation of new local programming and to add even more independent networks."

The WGA isn't the only outspoken critic of the Comcast-NBCU merger. Other opponents have expressed concern that the deal will raise prices across the board and seriously damage competition in the television broadcasting world. 
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