News Corp./DirecTV deal takes a beating

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With the prospect of higher cable rates as the theme of a Senate Commerce
Committee hearing Tuesday, MSOs and some lawmakers used the opportunity to beat
up on News Corp.'s plan to acquire control of DirecTV Inc.

Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said News Corp.'s massive holdings of
stations, satellite distribution, sports teams, newspapers and cable networks
raised "interesting questions" that need to be addressed.

Cox Communications Inc. CEO James Robbins said the News Corp. deal is "fraught with peril
for consumers" and predicted that News Corp. will force ever higher rates out of
programmers for DirecTV carriage and pass on the costs to subscribers, even if
that means demanding higher rates from News Corp.'s own channels.

News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch will address concerns about the deal Thursday
during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.