June 17, 2018
Our megacorporation cyberpunk future is coming.
So, the world’s biggest telecom company (AT&T) just merged with the world’s third largest entertainment company (Time-Warner). This new megacorporation will own CNN, Warner Brothers, HBO and a host of other news and entertainment media, along with the internet infrastructure to deliver it to the people.
This is obviously a disaster – Time Warner is a kiked-out company pumping out vicious anti-White propaganda 24/7. This acquisition means that AT&T, one of America’s biggest internet service providers, now has financial incentive to promote their content across these tubes.
AT&T and Time Warner won a historic court victory this week, convincing Judge Richard Leon in the US District Court for the District of Columbia that they should be able to merge over the antitrust objections of the Department of Justice. The deal, now finalized, combines one of the world’s largest telecom carriers with one of the world’s largest media organizations.The resulting company will have unparalleled market power over both content creation and distribution.
Who is this judge? How fat do you have to be to become this corrupt and/or stupid?
Oh. Looks about right.
The Trump administration was rightly like, “yeah, nope” when this deal was first proposed, and sued the two companies to stop the merger.
But this guy apparently thought it was a fantastic idea to have two gigantic corporations merge into a vertically integrated monstrosity.
The decision surprised almost everyone — not necessarily that AT&T and Time Warner had won, but that Judge Leon allowed the merger to go through with no conditions or prohibitions on their behavior at all. In fact, Judge Leon’s opinion seems downright excited for the two companies, while systematically discounting the government’s case at every turn. Honestly, it’s a little strange.
AT&T could flat out block Fox News and MSNBC from their network, and it would be just fine by ol’ Rick here.
And by the text of his decision, it appears he’s either retarded, or pretending to be retarded.
And I don’t know which is worse.
Here’s Leon, glowingly writing about AT&T’s argument for the merger:
At the same time, Facebook’s and Google’s dominant digital advertising platforms have surpassed television advertising in revenue. Watching vertically integrated, data-informed entities thrive as television subscriptions and advertising revenues declined, AT&T and Time Warner concluded that each had a problem that the other could solve: Time Warner could provide AT&T with the ability to experiment with and develop innovative video content and advertising offerings for AT&T’s many video and wireless customers, and AT&T could afford Time Warner access to customer relationships and valuable data about its programming. Together, AT&T and Time Warner concluded that both companies could stop “chasing taillights” and catch up with the competition. Those are the circumstances that cause them to claim today that their merger will increase not only innovation, but competition in this marketplace for years to come.
An excellent summary of AT&T’s pitch to its investors! But did you spot the glaring foundational error? Judge Leon thinks Facebook and Google are vertically integrated, data-informed competitors to AT&T and Time Warner. And that is sort of true, in that Google owns YouTube and pays for some premium content there, and Facebook is doing whatever doomed video thing Facebook is always doing.
But neither Facebook nor Google owns the ultimate distribution layer of the consumer connection to the internet. They aren’t the world’s largest telecom company. Neither is Netflix or Amazon or any of the other companies AT&T and Time Warner are afraid of. (Yes, I know Google owns Google Fiber, but that has been more failure than success.)
Basically, judge Leon doesn’t understand (or pretends not to understand) the difference between an internet service provider and a company with a website.
In principle, an internet platform can’t directly undermine their competitors by blocking or throttling their traffic, or charging customers more for access to their competitor’s services. But an ISP like AT&T could totally do that. In other words, you get free access to CNN and HBO with your internet service package, but have to pay extra for YouTube, Netflix, and so on.
Ajit Pai frowns upon these shenanigans.
Of course, this is now legal due to the abolition of net neutrality (which is obviously a good thing). But a situation in which a single company is both a massive telecom provider and a major internet platform is something completely new and obviously harmful to the freedom of the internet.
This is why the government acted to stop this insane merger.
It’s almost like this absurd decision was an “up yours” to the Trump administration, saying “oh, you abandoned net neutrality? Watch this.”
We can only hope that the Trump administration will take new steps to curtail this emerging megacorp’s dark power.
New FCC regulation preventing ISPs from giving preferential treatment to any of its subsidiaries would be a nice “fuck you” to these people, making the merger nearly meaningless. Even better, reclassifying ISPs as “telecommunication services” would solve this problem, as well as all our censorship woes.
Do it, Ajit Pai.