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The End of Choice

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

From Corporate Takeover
Corporate Takeover
(image by YouTube)

NPR and everyone else, please stop lying to us. And please stop reading corporate press releases to us and calling them news.

This morning, NPR took a stab at covering the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger that was officially announced this weekend.

You can listen here at NPR's website.

NPR is completely wrong. This has nothing to do with AT&T or DirecTV "surviving." They're both big, profitable companies, and if the industry is changing they can change to adapt to it. Which by the way, both are already doing.

What this is REALLY about is monopoly.

Just like the Comcast-Time Warner merger, and Sprint's plans to try to take over T-Mobil, this AT&T-DirecTV move is all about MONOPOLY.

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These mergers and acquisitions are about corporations getting so large that they dominate an industry, and limit our choices to a very, very small number of companies -- all which suddenly start raising prices and increasing profits.

This is about screwing the consumer.

And this is all because, in 1982, Ronald Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

It's amazing how much things have changed since then.

Back in the 1970s, Richard Nixon saw that AT&T's monopoly on telephone service was stifling innovation and jacking up prices to consumers. He initiated a break-up of AT&T that ended during the Carter Administration, breaking AT&T into seven regional carriers, known as the "Baby Bells," and spinning off their R&D arm as Lucent Technologies.

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But then came Reagan and the "Baby Bells" began to re-consolidate. And so did everybody else in the industry.

Now, we're all paying twice, three times, sometimes ten times what people in countries that enforce anti-trust laws like France and Germany pay.

If the media had any interest in telling the true story, they'd say, "AT&T is trying to further cement their control over the choices you have for telephone and internet service, and grab a part of your choices about TV, by buying DirecTV. If they're successful, expect your prices to go up while your choices go down, just as has happened pretty much every other time an industry has succumbed to this sort of monopolistic behavior."

But they won't tell you that, because they're nearly monopolies themselves.

NPR has a lock on -- and government subsidy for -- radio stations all across the nation.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)

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