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Editorial: Unfair Surprise

The Department of Justice has asked for more info on the Gannett/Belo deal. While that is standard procedure, it’s not routine. Justice had no stats, but an FTC source said only 3% of its antitrust deal reviews get the extra info request.

Without regard to how the deal’s station spinoffs were billed by the companies, FCC rules allow the associated sharing and services agreements Gannett plans to strike with the new owners. The FCC can address whether that should be the case in a rulemaking inquiry, but neither the FCC nor Justice should hold up the deal (or Sinclair’s purchase of Allbritton) just because they might not like those agreements, given the parties were basing their deals on the FCC’s rules in the first place.