The New York Times editorial page has moved from a yellow light to a red light on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.
Back in February, the editorial board registered all kinds of concerns, but only advised a thorough review and, "if" the government found that the merger would give Comcast too much power, it "can" demand conditions or "could" sue to block the deal.
"Regulators should block Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable because it would control too much of what consumers watch, read and listen to," the Times web page says in summarizing the editorial, which is titled "A Cable Merger Too Far.”
"There are good reasons the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission should block Comcast’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable," the editorial begins. "The merger will concentrate too much market power in the hands of one company, creating a telecommunications colossus the likes of which the country has not seen since 1984 when the government forced the breakup of the original AT&T telephone monopoly.”
But this week, even before the FCC officially begins the combined review of Comcast/TWC and the related Comcast/Charter system spin-offs, the editorial page has concluded the government should challenge the deal. The board says that while the FCC and Justice could impose conditions to try to address some of the harms the paper sees, the deal would still give a combined Comcast/TWC "too much control over what information, shows, movies and sports Americans can access on TVs and the Internet."
NYT did not ask the government to challenge Comcast/NBCU back in 2010, but it did register lots of concerns, including similar concerns about access to online content. It recommended conditions on nondiscriminatory access, for example, if the deal were approved.