Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"This merger represents a gross concentration of power that runs counter to the public good and should be blocked," Sanders' letter states. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

'Counter to Public Good': Sanders Urges DOJ to Reject AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Merger will 'shrink our media landscape, stifle competition and diversity of content, and provide consumers with less while charging them more'

Nadia Prupis

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday urged the U.S. Department of Justice to block the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger, citing the widespread warnings against creating such media empires.

In a letter to the department's antitrust division, Sanders wrote, "This proposed merger is just the latest effort to shrink our media landscape, stifle competition and diversity of content, and provide consumers with less while charging them more."

"This merger represents a gross concentration of power that runs counter to the public good and should be blocked," he said.

News of the potential $85.4 billion acquisition emerged over the weekend, and media watchdogs and democracy groups like Free Press and Common Cause immediately issued warnings against it and urged federal regulators to reject it.

Opponents noted that previous mega-mergers have offset costs of the deals at their customers' expense, notably by charging more for services and implementing data caps, among other measures. And by consolidating a significant amount of media power—Time Warner owns CNN, HBO, and Warner Brothers, among other properties—the merger could discriminate against competitors and harm media diversity.

"Further entrenching monopoly harms innovation and drives up prices for consumers," Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps said on Monday.

Free Press policy director Matt Wood also cautioned, "Big mergers like this inevitably mean higher prices for real people, to pay down the money borrowed to finance these deals and their golden parachutes."

Sanders' letter continued, "The diversity of programing would be further diminished by truncating the relationship of content and distribution. When one giant company owns both the content and the means of distribution, there is a clear disincentive to provide additional choices to consumers."

"The media and telecommunications landscape is changing. It is important that public policy concerns guide these changes, so that we may preserve our democratic discourse and open competitive markets for speech and commerce," he said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Amid Existential Threat to Reproductive Rights, Congress Urged to Act

"It's the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and if we don't fight like hell it could very well be the last," said one campaigner, who called on U.S. lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act.

Brett Wilkins ·


Black Mississippi State Senators Stage Walkout as Critical Race Theory Ban Passed

"We cannot continue to stumble into the future backwards," said one Black senator who taught for 33 years. "That's what this bill does."

Brett Wilkins ·


Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·


Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo