Congresswoman Maxine Waters said she received a call from "somebody at Comcast asking, 'What do you want?' "

*(Via One critic likened cable TV giant Comcast Corp. to a plantation, while another pointed to the BP oil spill disaster as what could happen when companies escape tough regulatory scrutiny.

Then an influential congresswoman dropped a bomb by hinting that Comcast had tried to buy her support for one of the biggest media deals in history.

Those were some of criticisms and charges that flew during a field hearing held Monday by the House Judiciary Committee at the California Science Center in South Los Angeles to review the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal Inc. merger. The hearing was convened by committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) but largely run by Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.

The session, attended by more than 100 people, lasted almost four hours and was frequently interrupted by applause, cheers and groans from the audience. The hearing was called to examine programming and workplace diversity issues arising from the merger, which would bring under one roof the nation’s largest cable operator and a TV powerhouse that includes the NBC TV network, Universal Pictures movie studio and cable channels USA, Bravo and MSNBC.

Waters grilled an NBC executive over how many minority producers the network had on its shows and asked Conyers if it was possible to subpoena Comcast if it was not forthcoming on information the committee’s members wanted. Waters, whose district includes Gardena, Hawthorne and Inglewood, made clear that she was not interested in gestures of goodwill or hearing about how much Comcast and NBC Universal had given to the “NAACP, Al Sharpton and the Urban League.”  

Read more of this LA Times report by Joe Flint HERE.