News of the deal leaked over the weekend. AT&T had agreed to buy Time Warner for $85 billion.
The business press gushed, as the business press is wont to do. There was talk of "synergies," the Holy Grail of corporate-babble.
AT&T, the telecom giant and leading cellphone provider, was moving into entertainment in a big way. It had already purchased DirecTV. Now it was gaining control of HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS, and the Warner Bros. movie machine.
There was a dastardly simplicity to AT&T's play. It already owned the means to deliver entertainment through internet, mobile, and satellite. Its latest deal would allow it to also control what you watched, everything from Game of Thrones to NBA basketball.
The "synergies" for the company were clear. The more it owned, the more leverage AT&T had to ratchet up rates, as it did following its purchase of DirecTV.
The synergies for the consumer were equally clear. You would now be at the mercy of an even larger corporate monolith, which could jack rates at whim on your favorite shows.
This, after all, is a company run by CEO Randall Stephenson, who makes $24 million a year -- 300 times what his average worker pulls in.
But amid all that business press gushing -- Go Money! -- voices of protest began to emerge.
Over the past few years, Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken has made something of a name for himself as a pit bull biting at the pant leg of Big Media. He took to Twitter, saying the deal "raises some immediate flags about consolidation in the media market."
Translated from senatorial speak: "Oh yeah, we're about to get boned."
Then came everyone's favorite angry grandpa, Bernie Sanders: "The administration should kill the Time Warner/AT&T merger. This deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people."
But the most surprising voice of opposition was that of Mango Mussolini himself, Donald Trump. During a speech in Gettysburg, he declared that "deals like this destroy democracy."
Before the merger can go through, it will have to pass an anti-trust review by the Obama administration -- or, more likely, a Clinton administration, since these things never go swiftly.
It will be the new president's first chance to show if she's truly with the American people, or still a captive of big-money donors who've long owned a majority share of her stock.