Let us be thankful that California has the world’s strictest antitrust laws, which allow unsuccessful competitors to sue their way into success:
The Bay Guardian won its antitrust case against the SF Weekly on Tuesday when the state Supreme Court refused to review lower-court rulings ordering the Weekly to pay $21 million in damages for trying to drive its rival out of business by selling ads below cost.
The court turned aside an appeal by the Weekly and its parent, Village Voice Media Holdings, which argued that the newspaper’s low-priced advertising was legitimate competition that benefited local businesses. Only Justice Joyce Kennard voted to grant a hearing, three short of the majority needed on the seven-member court.
Again, I should emphasize this case was a product of California antitrust statutes, not federal antitrust policy or the Federal Trade Commission. But with a looming FTC announcement on how the agency plans to “save” traditional newspapers from new competition — and the Justice Department’s recent success in using the Sherman Act to regulate the “editorial quality” of newspapers in West Virginia — the Bay Guardian decision is another step in the antitrust counter-revolution against genuine media competition.