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Telling a media company to not buy content is like telling a car company to not buy tires

Earlier today The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T may close on a deal to buy Time Warner. Time Warner (not to be confused with Time Warner Cable) is a content play with popular properties HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. in its inventory. AT&T has seen the light flowing from convergence and is rapidly becoming a media company, an exciting move away from being just a broadband access provider.

The boo birds are out, providing the usual “this is bad juju” arguments against a merger should merger talks go just beyond speculation over the weekend. Michael Copps, former member of the Federal Communications Commission, reportedly refers to talks of merger as an action that would result in monopoly power, a power that is “incompatible with democracy.”

Last time I checked, democracy was simply about the masses having the ability to enter a ballot box and choose the lesser of two political evils. ┬áMr. Copps is conflating a supposed monopoly on content with freedom of expression. If there is a merger, freedom of expression and democracy would not be harmed. To use such arguments is like saying that a car company shouldn’t be allowed to buy a certain tire for its SUVs and refrain from marketing its SUVs as using such tires. AT&T is a media company and should be able to establish an inventory or library of content that reflects its brand. I would argue that it would be undemocratic to stop it from choosing the content that best expresses what type of media company AT&T wants to be,

Besides, there is no monopoly harm here. AT&T won’t get the most out of its content if it does not make it available to as many outlets as possible. Also, the merger doesn’t stop any other content producer or media company from producing and distributing their own branded content.

Content is near infinitesimal in its creation and distribution. This makes the argument of favoritism toward one’s own content ridiculous. What the favoritism argument really indicates that protesters don’t have the talent to compete on quality of content and could do us all a favor by sitting down and taking a chill.

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Americans for Prosperity getting older Americans interested in social media

For the past two days I’ve been enjoying the dry heat of Orlando, Florida. It’s always good to come back to my adopted home state and got the chance to visit with my law school chums as well as witness another type of heat here in Florida: The Seventh Annual Defending the American Dream Summit. Besides the occasional bashing of President Barack Obama’s health care and economic policies, their were panels on how to use social media as a platform for getting their political advocacy messages out. This is pretty standard fare until you appreciate who made up the majority of the audience: older Americans.

You couldn’t help but notice. This group definitely dominated the Summits demographics and presented another reason for broadband adoption: the demand for further democratization on the part of our graying population and another source of energy for individuals who have seen a lot and have plenty to say, not letting a little thing like age take them out of the discussion.

Listening to the questions these citizens were asking about social media while they incorporated their observations about the nation’s political climate in their comments tells me that they were interested in a little more than how to get their kittens down out of a tree.

Look out young Twitter and Facebook users. Grandma and grandpa are coming.

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Broadband shows us how the sausage is made

Posted July 5th, 2013 in Broadband, democracy, digital divide and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

Technology. When I was eleven, I listened to the radio. My son at eleven does the Internet. In 1995, America followed State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson via television. Today, State of Florida v. George Zimmerman is followed on Twitter and Facebook.

The big difference is the instant democratization that social networks bring not only to how we access and engage entertainment, but also to how we engage our forums of government, specifically how we opine on how well it is working.

Today we not only see how the sausage is made, but can comment on how brutal the sausage making is.