ABC Ignores Congressional Support, Only Shows Backlash to Northwest/Delta Merger

April 16th, 2008 4:58 PM

If you didn't know any better, you might think ABC correspondent Lisa Stark has a personal vendetta against airline mergers.

For the second consecutive night, Stark gave viewers every reason to oppose a merger between Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NYSE:NWA) on the April 15 "World News with Charles Gibson." This time it came in the form of opposition on Capitol Hill.

"But there was swift opposition," ABC correspondent Lisa Stark said. "A powerful lawmaker from Minnesota, where Northwest is based, called it one of the worst developments in aviation history."

"If this merger goes forward, other carriers will follow," pro-union Democratic Congressman James Oberstar said. "There will be a cascade of mergers."

Stark didn't include a legislator who supports the merger or even a Republican congressman that might oppose it. However, there are several.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, a powerful lawmaker from Georgia, where Delta Air Lines is based, "strongly supports the merger." Also according the article, the ranking Republican Senator on the Judiciary Committee isn't voicing opposition to the merger.

"Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which deals with antitrust issues, said the department won't be deterred if its antitrust investigators decide the merger won't reduce overall competition," Marilyn Geewax wrote in the AJC.

According to the April 16 issue of Politico, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans from Tennessee, support the merger. Their state includes Memphis, one of the hub cities for Northwest Airlines.

"This merger is vitally important for Tennesseans," Alexander said to Politico. "We have been assured that the new airline will maintain a strong presence in Memphis, and we will continue working to make sure that is the case."