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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Former FCC chairman Julius Genakowski, now a partner with The Carlyle Group, is troubled by the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to block AT&T from buying Time Warner. He tells Axios that yesterday's lawsuit creates "unprecedented uncertainty for media companies" and that AT&T may be coerced into a divestiture that would be "unfair and potentially chilling."

Why it matters: Genakowski led the FCC when Comcast acquired NBC Universal, a merger that both the Department of Justice and AT&T are using to justify their current positions.

Genakowski's full statement:

"This lawsuit creates unprecedented uncertainty for media companies trying to scale in this new media world where cord-cutting is pressuring revenue and they're competing now with multiple, much larger tech companies. And it could be a bad sign for the tech companies as well, though it's hard to point to a time where we've had as many strong and innovative companies competing against each other.

Hard to know what's underneath this lawsuit. Could be the belief that DoJ should impose only structural remedies, though hard to unsee the President's comments on the deal; and confusing that the FCC is moving in the opposite direction, removing structural remedies on media ownership.

The story isn't over - I don't see the government winning this lawsuit based on precedent and facts, including Comcast/NBCu, approved with conditions while I chaired the FCC. But even the unlikely can happen in court. A tough question is whether AT&T would consider a divestiture to put the matter behind them. Possible, though unfair and potentially chilling."

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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