Faced with a choice between corporate consolidation of ownership of newspapers and no newspapers at all, Madam Speaker bites the bullet:
In the carefully worded letter, Pelosi urged the Justice Department to take a broader view of media competition in the Bay Area. Rather than seeing The Chronicle’s main competitors as other newspapers, she urged the department to consider television and Internet media sources and online advertising outlets as competitors as part of any future anti-trust review.
A broader view of competition could smooth the way for future discussions of a merger or a consolidation of advertising, distribution and other business operations between The Chronicle and the Bay Area News Group, which owns the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune. Hearst has a nearly one-third stake in the non-Bay Area papers of MediaNews, the Denver-based chain that owns the Bay Area News Group.
“I am confident that the Antitrust Division, in assessing any concerns that any proposed mergers or other arrangements in the San Francisco area might reduce competition, will take into appropriate account, as relevant, not only the number of daily and weekly newspapers in the Bay Area, but also the other sources of news and advertising outlets available in the electronic and digital age, so that the conclusions reached reflect current market realities,” Pelosi wrote.
I have a hunch Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers are reading this story very carefully, given the rumors about his interest in the Times notwithstanding the fact that he already owns the Journal. Exit question: If all forms of media are competitors with all other forms, does that mean HA is a competitor of National Review? That doesn’t mean a right-wing media mogul won’t be able to buy us out eventually, does it? Heart-ache.