EchoStar Communications Corp. is offering an inconsistent case to
Congress, the National Association of Broadcasters told members of Congress,
while EchoStar retorted that the NAB is distorting the truth and misrepresenting
EchoStar's publicly made statements.
The NAB said that while EchoStar is offering to carry local TV stations in
all 210 TV markets if its proposed merger with Hughes Electronics Corp. is
approved, it is also telling the Supreme Court it will drop some TV stations if
the court vacates a law requiring satellite-TV companies to carry every local TV
station in any market they serve.
EchoStar replied that the NAB is blatantly disregarding the truth, pointing
to EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen's full statement before the Senate Antitrust
Subcommittee March 6.
'First of all, we will comply with must-carry on a single dish and carry all
stations in all markets,' Ergen said, and the NAB included that part of Ergen's
statement on its March 14 letter to members.
But Ergen went on to say: 'Having said that, we believe the principal of
must-carry may have some constitutional questions,' which EchoStar is pursuing
EchoStar told both the Senate subcommittee and the Supreme Court, 'The merged
entity does not intend to carry all channels in every market unless the decision
below is upheld,' according to a footnote in the Supreme Court brief.
'Our position is clear and transparent and on the
record,' EchoStar wrote back to members in its own follow-up letter.