I've said before that the case against the AT&T/T-Mobile deal makes no sense. Not only does the historical record suggest that the merger will increase competition, but the actions of key players are the opposite of what we'd predict if the merger were expected to reduce competition and raise margins.
There's something more to it, though. That something is astroturf pushing a basic agenda of an expanded government role in the media. Why yes, the same forces were behind Net Neutrality that are now behind the anti-AT&T coalition, in addition to Sprint who wants to keep prices higher and competition lower, by preventing AT&T and T-Mobile from getting together and being more effective.
As Amanda Carey says at the Daily Caller:
The new coalition is called NoTakeover.org, and was launched soon after the announcement of the merger with the support and backing of Sprint. It also includes many of the pressure groups that took part in the net neutrality battle: Public Knowledge, Media Access Project and New America Foundation.
But while NoTakeover.org is passed off as a public interest group looking out for consumers, it recycles the same media reform activists. One of its features is called the “Angry T-Mobile Customer-of-the-Week,” where average citizens are able to blow off steam and explain why they’re against the merger.
The first angry customer was someone named Ben Byrne. But Byrne is far from the average consumer. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Creative and Technical Manager of the media reform group Free Press. Byrne did not return TheDC’s request for comment.
Funny how we just linked in Free Press, the final part of the Marxist Media Reform band, with the rest of the gang already involved with No Takeover. Public Knowledge is openly OSI/George Soros-funded. Free Press won't disclose its funding despite promising the House to do so.
But, astroturf and deception are all the opponents have, because as AT&T points out, they don't have the facts on their side:
Unfortunately for merger opponents like Sprint, facts matter. We have presented a detailed fact-based showing of the enormous benefits of this transaction to consumers, workers, rural Americans, and others. It is for that reason that I am confident that we will win approval of this transaction. And as we move forward with the process, we will continue to focus on the facts.
AT&T shows that Sprint knows the market is strong and healthy, but is skewing the facts for corporate gain at the expense of the public. I'm all for free competition and the profit motive, but using government to try to harm a competitor is out of bounds in my book.
The deal must go through. Astroturf and bad behavior must not be rewarded.