Obama eyes media with promise of antitrust push

GRESHAM, Oregon Sun May 18, 2008 9:28pm BST

GRESHAM, Oregon (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama said on Sunday he would pursue a vigorous antitrust policy if he becomes U.S. president and singled out the media industry as one area where government regulators would need to be watchful as consolidation increases.

"I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases," the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.

"There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we're seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to ask...is the consumer being served?"

Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to contest November's presidential election against Republican Sen. John McCain, criticized President George W. Bush's administration for lax supervision of major mergers, though he did not cite specific examples or companies.

"We're going to have an antitrust division in the Justice Department that actually believes in antitrust law. We haven't had that for the last seven, eight years," he said.

"Some of the consolidations that have been taking place, I think, may be anti-competitive."

Obama advisers have said previously that he would crack down on any competition lapses in the energy sector that have resulted from big corporate mergers.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason)

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