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Franken hopes opposition to Comcast-NBC deal will help him raise funds

February 10, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn), who was very critical of Comcast's proposed deal to take control of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal at a Capitol Hill hearing last week, is hoping that his opposition will help him raise campaign funds.Kxcbq0ncFRANKEN

In a letter to donors, Franken wrote, "I flat-out don't trust Comcast and NBC to operate in the best interest of consumers in Minnesota and around the country when it comes to this merger." He added that the pairing of the nation's biggest cable and broadband provider with a programming giant "would almost certainly be a raw deal for consumers and independent content producers alike."

A former writer and semi-regular on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and star of a short-lived sitcom on the network called "LateLine," Franken said at the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee hearing Feb. 4 that his experience with NBC has given him cause to be very wary of big media. 

Franken told his donors and potential donors that he came to Washington to "stand up to the lopsided influence of special intersts," adding, "I am trusting you to help me build support for my positions on issues like this one. And as usual, by 'support' I mean 'money.' " Clearly, he hasn't lost his wit.

Comcast, which is the biggest cable operator in Minnesota, gave $5,000 to Franken's recount fund. A Franken spokeswoman said there were no plans to return that donation. "He campaigned pretty clearly that he was going to stand up to special interests," she said. In other words, buyer beware.

-- Joe Flint

Sen. Al Franken poses questions during the Comcast hearing Feb. 4. Credit: Chris Kleponis / Getty Images)