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AOL/Time merger threatens Internet democracy

This snippet from a UK Guardian commentary says a lot.

The Guardian Weekly 20-1-2000

As the subscribers rolled in, however, it became clear that AOL could not
create branded content fast enough to keep pace. And without branded
content there was no way of preventing subscribers from venturing into
areas of the Net not controlled by AOL. The thing to do was to acquire a
company with a serious capacity to create content - and, if possible, major
assets in cable TV. Enter, stage left, Time Warner.

What the corporate testosterone of last week's launch cannot obscure is
that the old system where an ISP rents you a pipe to the Net and you go
where you like for content is now under threat. In its new role AOL owns
both the pipe and the content, and the temptation to discriminate against
other people's content will be hard to resist. And if it does turn out to
be irresistible, there is the question of how assiduously journalists at
Time, Fortune or CNN (prop: Steve Case) will be permitted to investigate
such abuses. What is good for America Online is not good for America. Or
for anyone else.
 The Observer 

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