Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) appeared on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host and editor-in-chief Alex Marlow today. The controversial Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which Rep. Steube co-sponsored in the House, was one of the topics raised on the show.
While Rep. Steube defended the general principle of the bill and backed up lead Republican co-sponsor Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), he agreed with some of the criticisms of the bill and said he is not “married” to its language or provisions.
In particular, Rep. Steube said he “doesn’t disagree” with a criticism of one of the core elements of the bill, financial handouts from Big Tech to the media industry, because it would create a disincentive for media companies receiving the handouts to investigate Big Tech.
“One thing that I think holds Big Tech accountable is that there is at least some level of journalism that’s done that targets Big Tech, and when Big Tech is literally cutting checks to media outlets, and they are negotiating how big those checks are going to be every so often as a big collective, that just seems like a formula for no more journalism to be done on big tech,” said Marlow. “Why would I investigate people who are creating a huge slush fund? I’m probably not going to investigate them quite as hard as the people who are giving me a bunch of money.”
“Yeah, I don’t disagree with that, and there’s things that Breitbart sees that can we change, or a bill idea that you guys have, I’m happy to look at that,” said Rep. Steube. “I’m certainly not married to the language in this bill, I’m just a co-sponsor, and I think Buck would probably be better able to articulate why he thinks this is important over things like what I want to do like doing away with the Section 230 liability protection.”
On the show, Marlow also outlined concerns that the media cartel(s) created by the JCPA will have the power to exclude independent outlets like Breitbart News.
“What gives you the confidence that when these media companies form a cartel, that Breitbart is going to be included?” asked Marlow. “I’ll tell you, working with other conservative outlets on certain things, we don’t all line up on stuff, and we’re certainly not going to get welcomed into any cartel that includes the New York Times or the Washington Post, and to be honest even the News Corp publications which do a lot of terrific work but they’re highly competitive people. I don’t think Rupert Murdoch is going to be negotiating on behalf of Breitbart with Big Tech, that just sounds entirely unrealistic.”
“I’m not married to one position or another,” responded Rep. Steube. “I’m certainly open to hearing both sides on this.”
The JCPA is an unusual bill in that cosponsors, who rarely back out or waver on bills they support, have done so on this one. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said he was “reconsidering” his support for the bill following a hearing with journalist Glenn Greenwald last year. And in September this year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) withdrew his cosponsorship of the bill in the Senate.
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
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.