Daily Variety

December 16, 2003, Tuesday

New York — Comcast has tapped a big gun to beef up its D.C. public affairs efforts, naming former Pentagon spokesman Victoria Clarke senior advisor for Communications and Government Affairs.

No stranger to the regulatory causes of the cable TV industry, Clarke is a former vice president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. and is a regulator commentator on CNN.

Cable operators, and industry-dominant Comcast in particular, face increasing scrutiny by Congressional overseers and regulators in their carriage negotiations with programmers. That's in addition to the constant pressure to contain consumer price hikes, as outlined in a recent Government Accounting Office report.

Effective Jan. 1, Clarke will help spearhead Comcast's "integrated strategic communications and government affairs efforts, including helping to coordinate Comcast's efforts in the communications and government affairs arena with other members of the cable industry," Comcast said.

Clarke will report to Comcast executive VP David L. Cohen. She joins the cabler's Washington, D.C.-based team of a half-dozen staffers.

Prior to her most prominent role to date as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Clark served as adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain, was assistant U.S. trade representative during the first President Bush's administration and president of Bozell Eskew advertising. Most notably, Clarke came up with the idea of embedding reporters with military units in the Iraq war.

"Torie brings to Comcast a depth of experience in communications and government, and enjoys a sterling national reputation as a trusted communicator," said Comcast prexy and CEO Brian Roberts.