According to the Media Access Project, AT&T is running a heavy schedule of television and cable advertising in Washington DC touting its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile as a job creator. MAP says the claim as stated is false and has asked Gannett’s CBS WUSA not to run the ads.
MAP takes issue with the idea that the merger will create 96K jobs and result in $8B in new investment in the wireless field.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman said the MAP challenge was based on AT&T’s own arguments. The 96K jobs, it said, is based on a study that attributed 12K job years per $1B invested. For starters, that would be 96K jobs that last only one year, not 96K ongoing jobs. Further, the $8B was said to be coming over a period of seven years, meaning that more like 14K jobs would be created. And even that is questionable, said MAP, it doesn’t account for the jobs that are going to go away when AT&T starts laying off existing employees to realize the synergies it has been telling investors it will realize. And on top of that, the $8B is $10B less than T-Mobile was planning to invest, which means jobs that would have been created without the merger would not be created with it.
Schwartzman acknowledge that Gannett has historically taken its television licensee obligation to serve the public interest and maintain the integrity of its programming. He suggested this is an occasion which should move it to action.
He also addressed charges leveled at MAP by AT&T that MAP was trampling on its First Amendment Rights. Schwartzman said that AT&T has the right to present misleading information under the First Amendment, and MAP has a First Amendment right to call them on it.
The MAP letter is available here.