Hulu Pulls Ads From ‘The Laura Ingraham Show’

Hulu has pulled TV commercials from “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Fox News following the conservative host’s tweets mocking a high school student survivor of the recent Parkland, Fla., shooting.

“We’d like to confirm that we are no longer advertising on Laura Ingraham’s and are monitoring all of our ad placements carefully,” Hulu said in a March 29 Twitter post.

The subscription streaming video service, co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox, Comcast and Time Warner, joined a growing group of advertisers (including TripAdvisor, Expedia, Wayfair and Johnson & Johnson) that have pulled spots.

The controversy involves David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who survived the Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) mass shooting where gunman (and former student) Nikolas Cruz allegedly killed 14 students and three teachers with an assault weapon.

Hogg, along with other students, has become a face of the tragedy and emerging gun control activist, speaking out on national media. He is a founding member, along with 19 other students, of the “Never Again MSD” advocacy group that has spearheaded movements against gun violence, including the March 24 “March for Our Lives” demonstration that attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters nationwide.

Ingraham, along with other conservatives in the media, have criticized Hogg as a mouthpiece of a liberal agenda aimed at curbing gun rights they claim are guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.

But Ingraham went one step further, attacking Hogg personally on social media.

The former MSNBC host, who worked as a speech writer for President Reagan, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and guest-hosted the former “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, called Hogg a “whiner” for not getting accepted into UCLA, despite reportedly having a 4.1 grade point average.

“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.),” Ingraham tweeted, linking it to an online story about four universities that reportedly rejected Hogg’s college admissions application.

“In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency. As such, we have made a decision to stop advertising on that program,” a spokesperson for TripAdvisor.com said in a statement.

Home furnishing company WayFair, in a statement, said it supports open dialogue and debate on issues – with restrictions.

“The decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values. We do not plan to continue advertising on this particular program,” the ecommerce company said in a statement.

Ingraham – who courted controversy last month criticizing NBA superstar LeBron James’ comment about President Trump not understanding black people – made no comment of the Hogg controversy on her March 29 show and has apologized for her comment, tweeting:

“Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David…”

 

AT&T May Put DOJ Antitrust Boss on Witness Stand

AT&T reportedly plans to put Makan Delrahim, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice, on the witness stand in next month’s federal trial regarding the telecom’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ filed suit against the merger, claiming the deal would negatively affect consumers and the market.

In a twist, AT&T seeks to question – under oath – the government official responsible for the lawsuit.

Iranian-born Delrahim, who was nominated to the antitrust division by President Trump, and infamously gifted a baseball cap with the slogan, “Makan Antitrust Great Again,” upon his arrival, previously served in the position under President George W. Bush.

Why AT&T seeks to grill Delrahim – a corporate lawyer – revolves around his time as a lobbyist for Comcast, Google, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other major corporations.

Indeed, when the AT&T – Time Warner merger was first announced, Delrahim told a TV interview he didn’t think the merger posed a significant antitrust issue.

Of course, that was before he was appointed by Trump, who many observers believe stepped into the merger at the last minute for largely personal – not regulatory – reasons.

Trump has repeatedly called out CNN, which is owned by Time Warner unit Turner, as a facilitator of false news about him and his administration.

Scuttlebutt suggests the government could okay the deal if CNN and other properties were spun off — a scenario AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he wouldn’t agree to.

With AT&T on the hook to Time Warner for $500 million should the merger fail, expect to see Delrahim’s TV interview presented to him in court.

 

 

Turner CEO Says Government ‘Clueless’ Trying to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger

The Department of Justice says the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner would be bad for consumers and competition. And it filed a lawsuit to prove its case.

That doesn’t sit well with John Martin, CEO of Turner, a unit of Time Warner, to which Martin was CFO for nearly 10 years.

Speaking Feb. 13 Recode’s Code Media confab in Huntington Beach, Calif., Martin decried the government meddling and insinuation that the vertical merger between AT&T and Time Warner is negative.

“I think the government is clueless,” Martin said.

Vertical mergers typically involve two companies that operate at separate stages of the ladder within an industry’s supply chain. In the case of Time Warner, it largely represents content creation while AT&T represents content distribution.

“As a person who’s actually going through the process and has been in depositions, the theory of the [legal] case just makes absolutely no sense,” Martin said. “In the history of the country, what vertical merger has tilted the landscape of the competitive environment? Let me give you the answer: Zero.”

Specifically, Martin said that while merging with AT&T would “supercharge” Turner brands such as CNN, Cartoon Network, FilmStruck, Turner Sports, TNT and Turner Classic Movies, among others, since the announcement, he said AT&T has lost 1.3 million pay-TV subscribers and makes little money on previous acquisition, DirecTV. At the same time, Martin said Netflix has added 6 million domestic subscribers.

The CEO contends the government’s case fails further when looking at the market capitalization of AT&T and Time Warner since the announcement.

“They’re flat,” Martin said. “I think Amazon and Google have essentially, in terms of market cap, the equivalent of AT&T. And Facebook has added the equivalent of two times Time Warner.”

Martin said the government has nothing to worry about regarding the merger, adding the DOJ case amounts to a “massive miscalculation” of resources.

“They’re going to lose,” he said.

When asked if the government could lose while still extracting conditions, Martin said jokingly that the good thing about his comments was the fact he had no idea what he was talking.

To many observers, the merger revolves around President Trump’s immense dislike of CNN, which he has repeated characterized as a source for fake news.

Asked if he thought CNN might be sold [to assuage the DOJ and Trump] Martin said he didn’t think so – a position publicly backed by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

Regardless, Martin said Time Warner units Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. would be “fine” without the merger.

“Time Warner is a pretty stable, successful company right now,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”

The federal trial is set to begin March 19.