Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has caved to outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and will allow the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to include the highly controversial media cartel bill the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), sources familiar with the matter told Breitbart News.
Over objections from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next speaker of the House come January 3 of next year, other congressional leaders acquiesced to lobbyist pressure and agreed to include the JCPA in the base text of the NDAA. McCarthy was the only member of congressional leadership to fight back against the inclusion, but was overruled three to one after McConnell caved.
The JCPA has absolutely nothing to do with national defense, so the move—a swan song of sorts for Pelosi, who just announced she is leaving congressional leadership but retaining her House seat after Democrats lost the majority to the GOP in the midterm elections—is an egregious step for an outgoing leader of the past against precedent as the NDAA has generally been reserved just for national security matters.
Proponents of the JCPA have been struggling for over a year to move the controversial proposal through Congress, hitting roadblocks every step of the way in committee hearings and fierce opposition from Republicans like McCarthy and others including Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise, Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, and more.
That’s why lobbyists supporting the bill on behalf of deep-pocketed industry interests zoned in on two must-pass legislative vehicles in this lame duck session of Congress as last ditch efforts to pass it before the GOP formally takes control of the House next year: the NDAA or a spending bill like an omnibus spending bill currently also being negotiated.
But because the NDAA is proving to be more of a lift than previously thought, the prospects of an omnibus spending bill to fund the government are dimming in recent days—leaders may instead pursue a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at the year’s end—which makes the NDAA a more attractive prospect for these leaders to attach unrelated proposals like this JCPA one to force them through in the waning hours of this Congress into federal law.
The JCPA, essentially a transfer of wealth from Silicon Valley to the discredited and distrusted corporate legacy media, is highly controversial. Beyond the financial payouts to media companies, they will be able to form a “joint negotiating entity”—a cartel, immune from antitrust law—to negotiate with Big Tech companies on the “terms and conditions” for carrying their content.
Censorship is sure to be a frequent demand of media companies. Despite provisions in the bill that purportedly stop media companies from negotiating the suppression of any one competitor, there is nothing to stop them asking their content to be prioritized over broadly-drawn categories that are used as pretexts for censorship, like “disinformation.”
Breitbart News has closely covered how the bill continues to enable the censorship and sidelining of conservative media.
Via Breitbart News:
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.
Attaching unrelated provisions to any type of must-pass bill is a highly criticized practice, as it bypasses deliberation on the floor on the merits of the legislation, and adds controversy to what is normally uncontroversial among lawmakers—in this case, defense spending.
In using the NDAA to pass their bailout for media cronies, the Democrats have specifically undermined the bipartisanship of U.S. national defense.
Absent enormous backlash against the move in the Senate, Democrats and their frequent enabler, McConnell, will have been allowed to use a defense spending package to establish a government-approved gravy train from one set of wealthy, powerful corporations in Silicon Valley to another—the world’s largest and most powerful media companies.
The full text of the NDAA is expected to be released possibly as early as later on Monday.