Slate and Antitrust: Possible Remedies

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has broken Slate’s heart. Nowhere in his ruling finding Microsoft in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act does he say what to do about Slate, which is owned by Microsoft. But Chatterbox has been leaked a draft memo by antitrust chief Joel Klein outlining a few Slate-related remedies he plans to recommend. Some excerpts:

  1. Slate must resume being a paid site. Under the present ‘free’ model, Slate gets to squeeze advertisers because they have no other way to reach a vast and brainy reading audience that will spend thousands for other consumer products but not one cent for magazine journalism.”
  2. Slate must be broken up into three magazines. These would be: Chatterbox, Other Slate Stuff, and More Slate Stuff.”
  3. Slate’s Chatterbox column must share the application program interfaces for AnagramGenius, the Web site Chatterbox frequently uses to write anagram items, with Salon, Suck, and Nerve. Chatterbox must do this even though AnagramGenius provides these anagrams free of charge to anyone who logs on to their site. To get the application program interfaces, the FBI may have to authorize Chatterbox to perform a black-bag operation. Remember to get someone to explain to Chatterbox what ‘application program interfaces’ are.”
  4. Anticompetitive behavior must cease at Slate. To that end, when Slate editor Michael Kinsley appears on Crossfire, he may not bully or belittle co-host Robert Novak. Instead, he must say: ‘Hey, Bob! Good point! I never really thought about it before from that perspective! Let’s have lunch!’ “