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Tuesday, November 1, 2016
CNS Rushes Out Op-Eds Defending AT&T-Time Warner Merger

After the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner was announced last week, quickly rushed out a pair of right-wing op-eds, both published Oct. 27, pre-emptively complaining that federal officials might block the merger.

In the first, the Cato Institute's Daniel Mitchell insisted that "monopoly power generally exists only when government intervenes," insisting that the feds shouldn't judge whether the merger raises any antitrust concerns:

In other words, let the merger proceed. It may be a wise business decision. Or it may be a foolish business decision.

But that outcome should be determined by the preferences of consumers in a competitive marketplace.

The heavy foot of government shouldn’t play a role. Especially since, as noted by this cartoon, antitrust laws are so broad and vague that companies can get in legal trouble for charging more than their competitors, less than their competitors, and the same as their competitors.

In the second, the Heritage Foundation's James Gattuso made a similar argument, insisting that "AT&T and Time Warner do not compete with each other" and "despite popular rhetoric to the contrary, there has been no general trend toward mergers in the telecom and media marketplaces."

He goes on to complain that "the knowledge that government may intervene in mergers without regard to their likely competitive effects will prompt wasteful expenditures by special interests opposing particular transactions, causing a further diminution in economic welfare," adding that "by arbitrarily intervening in proposed mergers that are not anti-competitive, government disincentivizes firms from acting boldly to seek out new opportunities to create wealth and enhance the welfare of consumers," and asserting that "Absent a strong showing of likely harm to the competitive process (which does not appear to be the case here), the government has no business interfering in corporate acquisitions."

We don't have an opinion on the merger -- we just found it interesting that CNS would rush out these op-eds making ideological snap judgments on the merger before the full ramifications have even been examined. That's another reminder that CNS is much more about pushing an ideology than reporting news, despite its pose as a "news" organization.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:13 PM EDT

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