Reagan/Bush 41 AG attacks satmerger


Discussing XM/Sirius, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh wrote, "To say that this proposed merger is problematic is an understatement." Using the OpEd space in the Washington Times, he noted that there are widespread opponents of the merger, "…pointing out that it is a two-to-one merger creating a harmful effect on other firms and consumers."

Thornburgh, who was named AG by Ronald Reagan and continued to serve under George H.W. Bush until 1991, believes that a key problem with the merger is that it will become "a regulated monopoly" resulting in "a giveaway of concessions to special interests in exchange for a merger approval with price and content regulation heretofore inconceivable under Republican leadership."

For instance, he cited special subscription plans that failed to excite consumer groups, but did get approving nods from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, since "features of that plan fit nicely with the FCC Chairman’s desire to force cable television systems to offer a la carte programming…"

He also argued that the simple elimination of competition between the two will subject "[c]urrent and future subscribers to the whims of a monopoly," depriving consumers of competition in the pricing, programming and technical arenas.

Finally, Thornburgh speculates on the delay at DOJ, and concludes, "But hopefully there is not a hesitancy to act…because of concerns about losing an antitrust case. This case is not even a close call under the antitrust laws — it’s plainly a merger to monopoly."

RBR/TVBR observation: So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It’s one thing for left-oriented activists to oppose a merger. This wholly Republican viewpoint comes down on the anti side in order to prevent setting the precedent of government regulation made up on the fly in a back room of the FCC. We have nothing to add at this time, your honor.