By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
March 12, 2019

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It’s a busy week at Fortune—we’re closing the April issue of the print magazine—so I’ll be brief this morning, with a few thoughts on the news and other things I’m reading.

* I thought of two people when I read about Elon Musk’s defiance of the Securities Exchange Commission: The Unabomber and Roger Stone. What the three have in common is the mistaken belief that they can defy the U.S. government. Things ended badly for the first guy. Stone is feeling the pinch of messing with a judge’s gag order. And Musk isn’t making a good impression with the agency that regulates public companies. Of course, he’s entitled to his day in court. But the staff of the SEC staff won’t let this go.

* The word in privacy legislation circles is that the Federal Trade Commission is a lapdog for the masters of Big Tech, having failed to take meaningful antitrust action against any of them. That may be changing, if you take the Republican FTC chairman, Joseph Simons, at his word. He tells The New York Times he is serious about exercising the FTC’s antitrust muscles and also thinks his agency should have more enforcement powers than it has. This interview is worth a read.

* There’s a delicious irony in this well-reported Wall Street Journal article about the changes afoot at WarnerMedia, the venerable entertainment concern now owned and operated by a phone company. AT&T is having its way with Warner’s outdated structure and its recalcitrant management. Yet that same collection of businesses accounted for an uptick in AT&T’s recent financial results because they are performing so well. For what it’s worth, Fortune used to be part of Time Inc., which used to be part of Time Warner, which is what WarnerMedia used to be called. When Time Warner ran the show it bled Time Inc., the magazine company, of its profits for years. The shoe now appears to be on the other foot.

Adam Lashinsky


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