This festive season – made all the more festive by our Republican victory – marks the one-year anniversary of CNN’s Don Lemon sourly cutting my mic on air because I refused to stop pointing out Hillary’s all-encompassing evil. Sure, when discussing her myriad misdeeds and cover-ups and how they dwarfed the unproven accusations against Donald Trump, my description of her hubby’s intern depredations was a bit colorful. But I didn’t get cut off for being colorful. I got cut off because I refused to abide by CNN’s official narrative. And now President Trump will have to make a decision about whether he is going to let the same people who tried to gag me control the narrative for all of America.
AT&T and Time Warner (the parent company of CNN), now want to merge because, apparently, America’s giant media corporations are insufficiently gigantic. AT&T has the distribution side – a vast mobile network of 130 million-plus smartphone users, a cable company, DirectTV, and more – while Time Warner has the content – CNN, HBO, Turner, DC Comics, and others. So, basically, AT&Behemoth would be like a company that owns the reservoir, the water, the pipes that carry the water, and all the pipes in your house – and that makes you sit on hold for three hours to get a plumber to maybe show up between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., a week from next Christmas.
Think “antitrust” – both in the regulatory sense and in the sense that such a monstrosity deserves the precise opposite of trust from conservatives. Notice anything missing on Time Warner’s roster? How about any pro-conservative outlets? CNN? Oh, hell no. HBO. Nope. Maybe DC Comics is neutral – perhaps Batman can be considered a closet conservative because, unlike liberals, he doesn’t side with the criminals.
The fact is that America doesn’t need another anti-conservative corporate Cthulhu spreading its tentacles through our media culture. Let’s look at AT&T’s track record. If you get DirectTV, you used to get NewsMax, the upstart conservative network that has been growing in popularity and provides coverage of our incoming POTUS that is much more even-handed than CNN’s pearl-clutching slander. Full disclosure: I am an occasional and, frankly, awesome, though sadly unpaid, guest on various NewsMax shows, which have never cut me off even when I am at my most colorful.
But you can’t get NewsMax on DirectTV anymore. Gone. Kaput. Memory-holed. Sure, it has Fox, but I guess in an election year politics probably isn’t a big draw. One channel is plenty. And fear not! You can find a diversity of anti-conservative views. For example, Free Speech TV lurks near where NewsMax used to reside; its programs take on such sane topics as “President-Elect Donald Trump Will Criminalize Protesters Before, During, and After the Inauguration.”
You can still get important networks like Cuppa Coffee Studios, cloo (sic), and the Taylor Swift Network, dedicated to satisfying America’s Taylor Swift-related needs. There’s no NewsMax (or fellow upstart One America News Network), but there is MundoMax – hey, I like heaving-bosomed, Latin telenovela hotties as much as the next gringo – probably more – yet there must be a place for alternative political viewpoints somewhere on the electro-magnetic spectrum. But with AT&T/Time Warner there is not going to be, because they don’t want any alternative political viewpoints on the electro-magnetic spectrum.
Maybe I’m paranoid. The cancellation probably had nothing to do with NewsMax’s conservative politics. It’s not like our nine iron-oriented currently-serving ex-president has been whining that someone needs to control and curate the news so people won’t be exposed to unapproved ideas. Crazy talk! Nor are a bunch of hacks on CNN silencing its guests’ unapproved views and ginning up a fake controversy over “fake news” that seems awfully like a campaign to silence unapproved views. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.
President-Elect Trump must stop this looming $85.4 billion monstrosity – during the campaign he was ready to, telling a rally in October: “As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” Hell yeah it is – and it is a concentration of power that hates our guts and wants to shut us up.
Let’s have some real talk at this juncture and call out the Republican elephant in the room. It’s our tendency to fixate on theory regardless of the reality we face. As conservatives, we reflexively shy away from interfering in the workings of the free market, and the notion of stopping two companies from doing what they want to do feels wrong. Well, get the hell over it.
Conservatism is not a suicide pact. It is not an ideology that requires us to unilaterally disarm in the face of leftist culture warriors who gleefully hide their machinations behind the cloak of the free market when convenient, then burn down the free market once they take power. AT&T and Time Warner don’t want a free market. They want a monopoly, a monopoly on the production and distribution of media, and therefore a monopoly on the narrative. That the pack of leftist elitists doing this will not be an official government agency but a big business changes nothing. We’ll still be silenced. There is no reason why we should tolerate leftists in a corporation doing to us what we would never tolerate leftists in a government agency doing to us.
The question is one of power, power that will be used to beat us down and assure the liberal elite that we peons will never again be able to defy them by electing someone they have not approved. Whether the acronym is “FCC” or “IRS” or “ATT/TW” is irrelevant – we are in a fight against a progressive cabal determined to stamp its Gucci loafers on our faces forever.
Don’t tell me “But … but … but … free market!” Thanks to liberals and GOP squishes, we don’t have a media free market today. We don’t have a system where you can just start up a conservative satellite or cable company; besides the expense, there are steep governmental barriers to entry. A system where you can is a goal to fight for; today, we need to play by the rules that exist, not those we want, and we need to fight on the battlefield we’re on, not a notional one we’d prefer. We are under no moral or ideological obligation to let our leftist opponents win just because today they are pretending to be capitalists instead of the liberal corporatists they are and intend on returning to openly being tomorrow.
If you want to see what happens when they achieve their goal, get my new novel – an independent book that would never see the light of day in the gatekept media world these aspiring arbiters of what can and cannot be said yearn to restore.
If we let this marginalization of conservative thought continue, it’s not just NewsMax that’s gone. It’s every single outlet willing to call foul on the propaganda CNN and the rest of Big Lie spew, from “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” to the climate change scam. Don’t think Fox is safe either; when it’s the last one standing it will draw all the fire – remember how Obama targeted Fox back when it was A-OK for a president to publicly criticize a company? Conservatives, if you never want an outsider to have a chance again at winning the presidency over the candidate of the connected and the crony capitalists, let this merger happen.
Of course, AT&T and Time Warner have hired pretty much every lobbyist in D.C. to push this abomination through. That means this is a golden opportunity for our incoming president to defeat our enemies, protect our friends, and at the same time demonstrate to desperate people who elected him that he will keep his word and that business as usual in Washington is dead. Post their lobbyist noggins on pikes along the Mall. If President-Elect Trump really intends on draining the swamp, this is the time to pull the stopper. And conservatives must demand it.