Lip Service From The WSJ

The editors of the WSJ are quick to praise markets and competition. But when push comes to shove, when either DOJ or FTC actually challenges the anticompetitive practices of a dominant firm or combination of firms, the WSJ always comes down on the side of the dominant firm and the resulting concentration of power. The latest example being WSJ’s criticism of the government’s price-fixing case against Apple, Inc. and major e-book publishers.

When a major competitor enters the market, we might expect prices to go down, not up. But go up they did after the agreement by Apple and the publishers to fix e-book prices. The chart on page 95 of the District Court’s opinion (ruling against Apple) summarizes the price increases resulting from the collusion. But WSJ ignores this and instead clings to Apple’s dubious claim that prices declined as a result of the agreement. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Evidently, WSJ editors don’t object to the concentration of power per se, as they would have readers believe, but only to concentrated power that doesn’t rest in private hands. The editors may think they oppose the Big Government liberal agenda, but their support of Apple’s conduct makes them liberals’ intellectual first cousins.

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