Tantalizing titles

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WASHINGTON

Do America Online and Time Warner executives plan to give their in-house content an unfair advantage over unaffiliated programming? Some of the companies' filings, just listed on the FCC Web site, may shed some light on their post-merger intentions, but don't expect the public to get a chance to decide.

Time Warner on July 17 gave the FCC 178 memos, e-mails and other documents detailing various aspects of the merger's possibilities, all of which are being kept confidential under the common practice of protecting merger applicants' trade secrets. The commission did, however, make an inventory of the documents public.

The titles sound especially intriguing given the "playing favorites" issue facing federal regulators. Some intriguing titles: "Cartoon Network Opportunities with AOL," "America Online and Turner Networks Cross Promotion," "CNN & America Online Plan for Cooperation," "Memo on Synergies," and "AOL/HBO Meeting."

Center for Media Education President Jeff Chester said he will press the FCC to lift the documents' confidentiality.

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