Home | About | Donate

How the AT&T-Time Warner Deal Could Ruin the Open Internet


How the AT&T-Time Warner Deal Could Ruin the Open Internet

Gaurav Laroia

At over $102 billion dollars at close, including equity and debt, the deal combines one of the biggest telecommunications companies with one of the biggest corporate content-creation machines.


The most important function of a news media outlet is to repress the story, distort the truth of the story, and malign one or more parties in the story falsely. This kind of misrepresentation is mostly only outed independent of the news or propaganda outlet. So AT&T and google can just sit on a story and not report it or actively block news sites whose commentary is outside the box they allow their people to report; content moderators or so-called “fact checkers” who omit unpleasant truths.


The commodification of information has been the major single factor in Western censorship for ages. Of the 5 filters to news information that Chomsky and Herman proposed in Manufacturing Consent in 1989, commodification is central to at least 4.

  • The owners (who have put up money, and who own the medium as commodity)
  • The advertisers (who purchase the attention of readers and viewers)
  • The sources (who now produce copy and purchase coverage, thereby reducing the overhead in maintaining the commodity)
  • The audience (whose attention is sold)
  • Ideology. (And for Chomsky and Herman this was “anticommunist ideology,” which would again relate to the matter of commodity).

A major crack emerged with the development and popularization of the Internet, because people could distribute information for practically no cost.

Traditional purveyors of information have responded against the erosion of their power. But simply being able to charge content producers for the distribution of the content that they produce would return the dynamic of the old system–except, of course, for the considerably increased surveillance of the population.


Gaurav Laroia: ‘However, the Department chose to fight with one hand tied behind its back. Due to the administration’s attack on the Net Neutrality rules, it chose to focus on a narrow set of competitive harms regarding access to cable programming — instead of the universe of harms we expect to see with AT&T now able to leverage its market power to discriminate against its competitors’ video content across the internet and other platforms.’

A mouthful. So let me get this straight: Because the FCC under Pai gutted net neutrality, the DOJ chose NOT to argue that the access (ATT) and content (Time Warner) merger creates an inherent bias for ATT to limit consumer access to content it does not own? So Pai contributed to the court ruling allowing this anticompetitive merger?

Do we need more reasons to throw out the Republicans and Corporate Democrats, and thereby throw out Pai, come November?