Media Union Boss Slams JCPA as Handout for Hedge Funds

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

The president of Media Guild of the West, a union representing journalists and media workers in Arizona, Southern California and Texas, slammed the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) on Wednesday as a handout to Alden Capital, a hedge fund that is the second-largest owner of news companies in the United States.

Alden Global Capital is the owner of the Tribune Publishing Group, which it purchased in 2021. Tribune owns a massive portfolio of local and national newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, and dozens of other publications around the country 

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) is a bill that would allow media companies to create a legal cartel in the United States, empowered to impose arbitration agreements on Big Tech companies.

These arbitration agreements will force Big Tech companies to funnel money to media corporations, transferring wealth from one set of wealthy, powerful corporations to another.

“We gotta pass JCPA to help Alden Global Capital get the liquidity it needs to become a bigger landlord!” tweeted Matt Pearce, president of Media Guild of the West, following news that Alden Capital is buying up cheap housing around the country.

Defenders of the JCPA have tried to present the bill as a means of rescuing small and local news publications. But in practice, local newspapers are often owned by corporate entities like Alden, which is despised by union workers for eliminating upwards of 10 percent of Tribune employees in just six weeks following the takeover.

As Breitbart News recently explained, despite the arguments of JCPA lobbyists to the contrary, the law is written in a way that allows entities like Alden Capital, which own multiple publications, that are most likely to dominate the media cartels created by the bill.

Via Breitbart News:

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.

That the bill stands to benefit large conglomerates and their hedge fund owners has been a point of contention for the economic left, which has staunchly opposed the bill alongside conservatives.

At a senate hearing for the bill earlier this year, Democrat senator Alex Padilla aired these concerns, pointing out that many of the local newspapers the bill aimed to protect had been “bought up by hedge funds.”

The amended House version of the bill attempts to address the left’s concerns by mandating that 70 percent of handouts from Big Tech companies go to “news journalists,” but as Breitbart News previously reported, the bill’s definition of the term leaves it wide open for wealthy executives, management, and corporate owners to win big.

Via Breitbart News:

…the bill’s definition of “news journalist” is drawn so broadly (it includes “producing” and “publishing” news in addition to collecting and presenting it) that highly paid executives and publishers could easily argue that they fit the criteria.

Even if just 30 percent of the Big Tech handouts were distributed to executives, this would still be a massive payout relative to the one received by frontline journalists, given that the number of executives at media companies tends to be in the single or low double digits, compared to hundreds or thousands of regular journalists.

That the JCPA stands to benefit big corporations is likely the reason why it has been revived from the dead so many times over the past two years, despite bipartisan opposition from the left and the right. Media corporations and their hedge fund owners see an opportunity to secure enormous payouts from Silicon Valley, which is why lobbyists for the world’s largest media companies have relentlessly pushed this bill.

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.

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