Lawmakers Hit Sale of Papers

Times Staff Writer

Six members of Congress from the Bay Area asked the Justice Department on Friday to "give careful consideration" to the antitrust implications of the planned sale of three California newspapers to MediaNews Group Inc.

In a letter, the representatives said McClatchy Co.'s sale of the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times and the Monterey County Herald could "significantly heighten the concentration of media ownership and deprive readers in our districts of the quality and depth of news coverage that more varied ownership offers."

MediaNews already owns nine daily papers near San Francisco. The lawmakers noted that MediaNews would be allied financially with its chief local rival, the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Justice Department and California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer are reviewing the deal.

The letter was sent by Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Michael M. Honda of San Jose, Ellen O. Tauscher of Alamo, George Miller of Martinez, Barbara Lee of Oakland and Anna G. Eshoo of Atherton.

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