Suppose the twenty largest traditional news media companies in the United States, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CNN, announced the merger of their news operations.

They would likely claim that this merger would result in tremendous cost savings by eliminating duplicative news gathering expenses. They would be correct. They also would argue that prices would not be affected. After all, they compete for advertising dollars and personnel with many other TV and radio shows that are not in the news business. It would be difficult to demonstrate an adverse effect on the price of anything. However, just in case the antitrust enforcers argue that some prices might be affected, suppose the media companies also announced that, if allowed to merge, they’d agree never to raise the price of anything—not of advertising rates, not of newspapers, not of anything.