AT&T DirecTV merger is a rubber stamp – like all mergers

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

24 June 2014

Does anyone trust government hearings?

It seems odd that the government even holds hearings on these mergers anymore. The brands of AT&T and DirecTV are waiting on government hearings that might give AT&T the green light to buy the satellite TV service. The brands argue that one has strong TV content and the other broadband Internet— complimentary services on the surface. According to reports, the brands only compete against one another in approximately 60 markets.

My problem is not with the two brands, which I’ve written about here. It’s with the House and Senate and their roles as protectors of free enterprise and competition (remember they believe in open markets). I think they should just rubber stamp their seals of approval.

“In just one moment in time, they proved to everyone that they only care about customers who have the cash to affect change. That is not you and me. It is big business and their lobbies.”


Congressional hearingsThese two deliberative bodies pretend to defend the rights of consumers but we all know they are lying. Any organization that can approve a merger of American Airlines and US Airways can no longer pretend that they care at all about competition and the rights of consumers.

In just one moment in time, they proved to everyone that they only care about customers who have the cash to affect change. That is not you and me. It is big business and their lobbies. The ruling of the airline merger showed that Congress will do what is best for business and not what is best for those of us forced to buy services like airline tickets or TV programming.

Currently, cable providers are almost monopolies in the markets they serve. Few have competing services because municipalities granted monopoly contracts to cable providers. This is not a competitive market. This is a local monopoly. Let them all merge and our services, TV content and broadband would not change at all. The only thing that might change is the name of the brand that bills us on a monthly basis.

In fact, jurisdiction should be moved to the Department of Mineral Services. This is the government agency that tuned a blind eye to the Company Store in the early part of the last century. Heck, this department saw nothing wrong with indentured servitude— which is another term I use to describe those of us that fly as part of our business.

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  1. Mike Oz

    As you’ve noted, Congress seems to have a spine of straw. The American-US Air merger was originally denied, then the lobbyists played hardball. Congress learned its lesson not to mess with the lobbyists.

    • Tom Dougherty

      If they are simply a rubber-stamp in the approval process, think of the money they could save us as taxpayers just by approving it? Obviously they do not see the protection of the consumer as their constituents.

  2. Rachel Lentz

    Tom, I couldn’t agree with your blog more. We as consumers will be left with no choices. Scary.

  3. Corbin

    I agree. Money talks and congress seems to capitulate. However, in this case there may be some benefit to customers.

    I for one have DirecTV and Time Warner for internet. I currently cannot bundle the two services. Perhaps with the merger I will be able to (with AT&T).


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