Free Press: Trump's CNN Threat a Potential Abuse of Power

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This is a lousy deal that would raise prices and give AT&T way too much power. The Justice Department should reject it. Making AT&T sell must-have content properties like the Turner Networks and CNN, or even divest a nationwide video-distribution platform like DIRECTV, could be legitimate ways to soften the concentration harms if the deal goes through. While there are plenty of good reasons to oppose AT&T’s Time Warner takeover, punishing CNN for trying to hold this administration accountable isn’t one of them. No matter where you come down on this merger, everyone should agree that the government shouldn’t base antitrust decisions or FCC rulings on whether it likes a newsroom’s coverage. If today’s news is just cover for an attack on CNN, it’s only the latest example of how Trump is all too willing to abuse his power to intimidate the press. He’s also threatened to yank NBC licenses as punishment for critical coverage even as his FCC bends over backwards to remove all obstacles to right-wing broadcaster Sinclair’s takeover of Tribune Media. It’s certainly a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment. This is how leaders behave in dictatorships, not democracies.


Free Press: Trump's CNN Threat a Potential Abuse of Power