Despite unified GOP opposition including from Leader Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), at the bidding of establishment media and News Corp lobbyists, continues to push the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a Democrat-backed bill that would allow Big Media companies to form a cartel to pressure tech companies for more censorship and special favors.
The bill was introduced and initially championed by a Democrat congressman, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), and was sold to Republicans like Buck as a means of taking on Big Tech. House Republican leadership including Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan have opposed the bill.
Rep. McCarthy has called the bill the “antithesis of conservatism.”
Rep. Jordan has warned it would give the media “cartel power.”
The bill allows for greater collusion between Big Tech and Big Media. It allows media organizations to form cartels that would otherwise be illegal under antitrust law, for the specific purpose of strengthening their hand in negotiations with the tech giants.
This risks deepening the problem of collusion between mainstream media and Silicon Valley, in which the former pressures the latter to censor its competition.
Mainstream corporate media has relentlessly pushed for more censorship by Silicon Valley tech giants over the past four years, sparking advertiser boycotts against YouTube over “hateful” and “extremist” content, and against Facebook over “misinformation.” Journalists pressured Google to manipulate political search results and pressured platforms Facebook and Twitter to censor Breitbart News.
Speaking at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in March, independent journalist and vocal critic of Silicon Valley censorship Glenn Greenwald warned that the JCPA would increase the power of Big Media and lead to more censorship by Big Tech companies.
“If you empower this industry without very clear and concrete safeguards… you could very well be essentially accelerating some of the worst industry trends, ensuring that, say, hedge funds that control the industry, or media giants that exert overwhelming power like the New York Times… can further entrench their power through this negotiating force that becomes an antitrust exemption,” said Greenwald.
“I do absolutely believe that the problem of Silicon Valley monopolistic power and its ability to interfere in our politics and impede a free press is a very serious one, but oftentimes it’s the media itself, it’s journalists themselves who are demanding that that power be exercised in a censorious way in a way that undermines a free and diverse press”
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has also come out in opposition to the legislation, calling it an unfair gift to “legacy players” in the media.
“Attempts by big media and Democrats in Congress to collude and monopolize economic models poses a tremendous threat to free speech and a free press,” said Rep. McCarthy.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization that has previously spoken out against corporate censorship, warned that the JCPA favors “media near-monopolies,” and that “media consolidation is reaching its zenith.”
Despite this storm of criticism, and despite the fact that pro-censorship Democrats are eagerly campaigning for the JCPA, Rep. Ken Buck continues to co-sponsor advocate for the bill — even while criticizing Silicon Valley censorship.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.