Why Trump's Attack on the Time Warner Merger Is Dangerous

Why Trump's Attack on the Time Warner Merger Is Dangerous
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

There are several reasons the Trump administration move to block a proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner raised eyebrows. It was without recent precedent, and was contradicted, within just a day, by the cancellation of so-called net-neutrality regulations, undermining the administration's argument about protecting the little guy.

The relatives merits of allowing the merger—and of blocking it—have been argued extensively by better-versed minds. What worries me is the possibility, airedby AT&T's chief executive among others, that the Time Warner cable channel CNN is a sticking point in the dispute. CNN, of course, is President Trump's favorite punching bag—sometimes nearly literally, as in Trump's retweet this summer of a video featuring a Trump look-alike throttling a CNN stand-in. The Justice Department has denied political interference from Trump, but it's also hard to overlook Trump's public comments that the proposed AT&T/Time Warner deal was “not good for the country,” or to ignore his repeated attacks on CNN as “fake news.”

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