Monday, February 25, 2013

Media coverage of antitrust

I find antitrust in general antitrust is both underreported and badly reported in the main stream media, both on its own terms, and relative to other financial and legal issues.  I fully understand our area ranks below war and peace and national electoral policy in terms of newsworthiness but generally find the coverage kind of amateurish and episodic whether on cartel enforcement, unilateral conduct, or mergers. 

I am curious whether you agree and what can be done to improve coverage because without public awareness, competition policy will continue to slide to the fringes of national economic policy.

I also want to single out two examples of recent coverage, one good and one dreadful.   The New York Times book podcast from this Friday had a segment on the new complaint by independent book seller against Amazon and the e-book publishers accusing them of tying ebooks to the Kindle device, effectively foreclosing independent book stores from selling e-books through their own sites.  Trust me, you don't want to listen to this silly discussion.

However, NPR Planet Money has a great recent episode on Mavericks, Monopolies, and Beer on the INBev/Grupo Mondelo acquisition that I thought was terrific.  It explains in plain English the merger laws, market definition, the competitive fringe, mavericks, and coordinated effects.  I plan to assign it in my class and have posted about it on our Institute's Facebook page. 


  1. Antitrust lost its political salience when the L&E folks reduced it to a question of price and profit. Bigness is no longer a curse, so all of the good stories are fraud stories that are viewed through the SEC lens. Indeed, even the Occupy movement which targets malefactors of great wealth has not generated a competition story. . .

  2. Ted really makes an excellent point. Economic analysis does not juicy listening make.

    I once toyed with the idea of a set of podcasts discussing big business litigation in folksy terms. The model was Milton Friedman's chats, which -- whatever one says of Milton Friedman's economic ideas -- were really engaging. Unfortunately, I really do not come across well on a podcast! (But I'm willing to be the producer if runningprofs wants to make that a new feature. How about "Interviews while Running"?)