Jan 25, 2017

Senators to AT&T: Show us benefits of Time Warner merger​

Kim Hart, author of Cities

Senate Democrats want AT&T to prove to them that the benefits of the $85 billion merger will outweigh any harms to consumers.

Why? Typically, this kind of merger goes through an FCC review, during which the merging companies demonstrate how the deal will serve the "public interest." In this case, AT&T and Time Warner have opted not to transfer spectrum licenses, thereby skirting the FCC's review process. So Senators including Bernie Sander, Ed Markey, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Patrick Leahy and Cory Booker — who are generally skeptical of industry consolidation — are trying to fill that void. They said:

AT&T is already the world's largest pay-TV provider and the largest telecommunications company. Combining it with one of the world's largest producers of content gives AT&T-Time Warner both the incentive and the ability to use its platform to harm competitors, and as a result, consumers.

AT&T says: "The merger will create more competition for cable TV providers, giving consumers more options and accelerating next generation wireless broadband."

Of note: AT&T also said it's handing over "millions of documents" as part of the DoJ's antitrust review of the deal. However, most documents in that process aren't made public.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.