News Release

AOL-Time Warner Merger

In the largest corporate merger in history, America Online and Time Warner announced a $350 billion deal today. The following analysts are available for interviews:

ROBERT McCHESNEY
Professor at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois and author of “Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times,” McChesney, who participated in a CNN discussion on the future of media with Time Warner head Gerald Levin a week ago, said today: “This deal culminates five years of frantic deal-making that have seen our media culture come to be dominated by less than 10 transnational media firms operating in largely non-competitive markets…. It hammers the last nail in the coffin of those utopians who regarded the Internet as providing the mechanism to radically change our media culture for the better. The Internet was established by massive public subsidies and now, without a shred of public debate, the system has become the plaything of a handful of billionaire investors who use their power to commercially carpet bomb every possible moment of our lives.”

JILL NELSON
Author of “Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience” and a columnist for MSNBC, Nelson said: “This may be good for business, but it’s bad for people and the free flow of information. In our lust for profits, we have forgotten democratic principles. This can only increase the public’s deep skepticism of the quality of the news.”

BEN H. BAGDIKIAN
Author of “The Media Monopoly” and professor emeritus and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, Bagdikian said: “This acquisition is standard in the strategy of media corporations that no significant media company in the country will remain independent.”

JEFF CHESTER
Executive director of the Center for Media Education, Chester said: “[AOL head] Steve Case is the Benedict Arnold of the digital age. Now that he has bought himself a piece of broadband cable access, he is no longer advocating for public policy to ensure open access to the Internet.”

FRANK BEACHAM
A writer specializing in technology criticism, Beacham said: “AOL has focused on making the Internet into a shopping mall. It also has a miserable track record of keeping people’s information private. In the hands of Time Warner, that could be more dangerous. This merger demonstrates the failure of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to provide competition…. AOL was concerned that it didn’t have access to broadband cable lines; now they have bought that access.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167