Media lobbyists and their allies in both houses of congress are mounting a last-ditch effort to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a bill to enable further collusion between the media industry and Big Tech. The bill has some support from Republicans in the House — but with the Democrats recently losing their mandate in the lower chamber, why wouldn’t those Republicans wait until they take control next year?
Some Republicans in the House have been convinced that it will somehow strike a blow against Big Tech to pass the JCPA, which will allow media companies to form cartels in order to pressure tech companies for financial payouts and other favors.
Even with the hastily-added Senate amendment aimed at addressing conservative concerns regarding collusion between the media industry and Big Tech on the censorship of competitors, the bill still contains plenty of ways for the cartel to sideline conservative media.
Provisions to ensure the cartel cannot discriminate on the basis of “viewpoint” are particularly unconvincing. The pretexts used by social media companies, “fact checkers,” and other arms of the corporate censorship apparatus are almost always viewpoint-neutral. No one is censored for being a conservative, say the censors: they are censored for “misinformation,” “hate speech,” “conspiracy theories,” and other purportedly viewpoint-neutral reasons.
The new House version of the bill raises even more questions. Just one example: the new bill creates a 60-day window after the announcement of a media cartel’s formation, allowing any eligible media company to join the organization. This will enable large conglomerates that own dozens or hundreds of publications to dominate any of the negotiation entities that are formed.
If Republicans were in the majority in the House, they could do more to address these concerns. But the JCPA’s supporters want this to be passed in the lame-duck, while Democrats still control both chambers.
When voters ask Republicans to address the power of Big Tech, a bill intended to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars from Silicon Valley to leftist establishment media conglomerates is probably not what they had in mind.
If Big Tech has disrupted the media industry (a dubious claim, since tech companies already pay billions of dollars to prop up the media, in addition to favoring them in search results), most Americans would welcome that — trust in the media is at an all-time low in this country.
Now more than ever, the industry needs competition and disruption, not a rescue package from Congress.
Even if Republicans somehow believe that the same media industry that regularly brands them extremists and bigots while encouraging or downplaying Antifa riots and promoting gender reassignment surgery for minors is worthy of being rescued, why are they letting Democrats lead the way?
The midterms may not have produced a “red wave,” but they did deliver a decisive blow to the Democrats’ mandate in the House. Not only did Republicans win more seats, but they also won the popular vote by a comfortable margin.
The JCPA is a controversial bill pushed by the wealthiest media companies in the world. It is not something voters asked for, and it will result in deeper collusion between the left-leaning media industry and Silicon Valley.
Even if some in the House GOP believe that a rescue package for the media is important, we are just a few months away from a change in power in the House. Why would anyone in the House GOP not want to wait until they are in the driver’s seat?
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.