Trump Whines About AT&T, Ignores His FCC Has Spent Two Years Kissing The Company's Ass

from the ill-communication dept

While there are countless news outlets that justifiably criticize the President, Trump has long been particularly fixated on CNN. So fixated, in fact, that it’s believed this disdain for the network (in addition to Rupert Murdoch’s competitive desires) played a starring role in his DOJ’s bungled effort to try and block AT&T’s $86 billion merger with CNN parent company Time Warner.

This week, Trump doubled down once again, proclaiming that the public should stop using AT&T services as punishment for CNN’s criticism of the President:

The tirade resulted in a fairly feeble effort to get the #DumpATT hashtag trending on Twitter, and some consternation and furrowed brows among journalists who took the rambling Tweet a bit too seriously.

The irony here, at least if you’re an adult who has actually paid attention to this administration’s policies, is that AT&T has received a near-endless list of favors from Trump’s administration, many of which it’s not entirely clear that Trump is even aware of. In fact, AT&T has probably received more regulatory handouts from this administration than any other administration in American history. Which, if you tracked the favors doled out by Bush-era FCC boss Michael Powell (now the top lobbyist for the cable industry), that’s saying something.

AT&T was a massive beneficiary of the Trump tax cuts, now saving $3 billion annually in perpetuity. According to AT&T, that money was supposed to go back into the company’s network and employees, but instead resulted widespread layoffs. Trump’s FCC also gave AT&T a massive regulatory handout when it helped kill broadband privacy protections, killed net neutrality rules with popular bipartisan support, and voluntarily eroded its own authority over ISPs like AT&T at lobbyist behest. Trump’s FCC has also routinely turned a blind eye to AT&T scandals like its failure to police location data sales.

There’s countless other favors AT&T has gleaned from the Trump administration as well, whether it’s the FCC decision to weaken the very definition of broadband competition or the killing of plans to bring more competition to the cable box. The Trump administration fealty to AT&T is so severe, we’re at the point that when reporters contact Trump’s FCC for information, they’ve occasionally been directed to US Telecom, a lobbyist organization spearheaded by… AT&T.

People tend to look at the Trump DOJ’s decision to sue to thwart the Time Warner merger (which again had more to do with helping Rupert Murdoch and hurting CNN than any disdain for AT&T) as a sign of Trump’s “opposition” to AT&T, but you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a company that’s done as well under Trump as CNN’s new parent company. That quickly forgotten $600,000 AT&T’s lobbyists paid now-imprisoned Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for broader access to the administration seems to have been money well spent.

The entire fracas once again highlights how Trump’s Twitter tirades are only tangentially related to reality, and very rarely tethered to his administration’s actual policies. In fact, based on his comments on net neutrality, it’s not really clear the President of the United States has the foggiest understanding of what his own FCC is doing. If Trump really wanted to hurt AT&T and CNN, a good first step would probably be to stop kissing the Dallas-based telecom giant’s massive, monopolized ass.

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “Trump Whines About AT&T, Ignores His FCC Has Spent Two Years Kissing The Company's Ass”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Classy

However tangentially they’re related to his policies, having the sitting president of the US call for a boycott on any company based on outright lies is still a government action. He’s the president 24/7, not just when signing papers in the oval office. In addition to probable libel there has got to be some kind of law against this activity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Classy

having the sitting president of the US call for a boycott … is still a government action.

Except that trump never directly called for a boycott. Trump opined: "I believe that if people stoped using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN" — which is a few steps short of saying "As president, I’m officially calling for a boycott of AT&T."

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Classy

Oh absolutely, just like the nice gentlemen that talk about how ‘dangerous’ fires are, how it would be a ‘real shame’ were something to happen to the store they’re in and how if the store owner would just pay ‘proper respect to the ‘respected businessman’ said businessman would strive to ensure things like that didn’t happen aren’t engaged in a protection racket, they’re just offering some friendly advice.

Did he explicitly call for a boycott? No. Is his statement pretty clearly in that direction? Very much so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Should it surprise us that Trump’s repeated campaign promise to "Drain The Swamp" turned out to be nothing more than a repeat of Obama’s failed "Change the Way Washington Works" promise?

Did many supporters of either Trump or Obama really believe that cleaning up the deeply entrenched corruption in Washington was even remotely possible?

PaulT (profile) says:

He was throwing a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get Faux News in the UK, was exposed to a non-propaganda station (CNN International being very different to the CNN you get in the US, by the way) and also couldn’t conceive of any of the many news outlets actually made in the UK. He’s a scared child who poked his head out of his bubble and was exposed to people who thought differently. Don’t expect such a reaction to contain factual information.

It’s also worth noting that the reason Fox is not available in the UK is because the parent company pulled it after it failed miserably to gain an audience. That’s the free market in action, orange one.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I thought Fox News was taken off the air in the UK because the government (rightly) saw it as opinion-based when it tried to claim it was unbiased news.

And while Trump was in the UK, did he watch any news from BBC or Al-Jazeera (the horror- a Middle East news station!)? I’d bet he’d be more than shocked to see how those stations reported the news.
Though this assumed Trump’s parents, I mean handlers, allowed him to watch these station. After all, these are the same handlers who told the navy to move the USS John McCain in case the name offended Trump.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"I thought Fox News was taken off the air in the UK because the government (rightly) saw it as opinion-based when it tried to claim it was unbiased news."

You thought wrong.

"On August 29, 2017, Sky dropped Fox News; the broadcaster said its carriage was not "commercially viable" due to average viewership of fewer than 2,000 viewers per day."

Oh, they certainly were in danger of violating regulations if they went anywhere near the amount of stuff they pull in the US, and I do believe there were already lawsuits against them. But, the reason they failed is because nobody wanted to watch it.

"And while Trump was in the UK, did he watch any news from BBC or Al-Jazeera (the horror- a Middle East news station!)?"

I don’t believe so, although all I have to go on are his tweets where he first whined about not having Fox, then went on a tirade against CNN directly afterwards. I don’t know if he even tried watching Sky News (the local Murdoch-owned outlet), let alone something that’s actually impartial.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Not believing.

I hypothesize the sooner the public realizes that our alleged democratic rule (by the people, for the people) is a fiction, that we live in a neofeudal oligarchy, the sooner we might endeavor to change that.

I also hypothesize the sooner that the public realizes our rule of law is bullshit; that our system uses overreaching laws and selective enforcement to funnel marginalized peoples into our expansive jail system; that police murder with impunity; and enemies of officials are disappeared with little question or oversight, that we might endeavor to change that too.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not believing.

Effecting such a change requires that people get politically engaged, but when campaign fatigue sets in easily if "da peeple" don’t get their way at once, good luck with that.

This is why we keep getting advocates for violent revolution popping up in the comments. They want a quick fix, but as Chip keeps pointing out, we’re not willing to band together and work together to make that happen.

If, in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, in the democracy of the free, the organised are in control.

dickeyrat says:

No Good Guys

First let me assure you I am no fan of AT&T. I have previously posted here about my own experience with AT&T, and the simple, effective & eternal way I told them to fuck off. I am sorry to see they now own CNN, for which I have had a somewhat healthy respect for nearly forty years. But what’s "sad" nowadays is the United States of America, for having placed this orange assclown in its Uber-ruling position. Yes, the country IS stupid enough to actually elect Thump for a second term. But if the numbers don’t hold up for him, he will then retain his Emperor-ship by force–with the full support of his one-hundred million drooling, knuckle-dragging, wife-beating, booger-snarfing, ass-scratching worshipers, who respect and love their very own Dictator de la Republica Banana. And roughly ten years from now, watch for concentration camps that empty regularly into sit-down ovens. That’s the Amerika this vast constituency wants, and will ultimately get. Our problems are much, much larger than CNN.

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