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Senate Committee Advances Media–Big Tech Cartel Bill

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Senate Committee Advances Media–Big Tech Cartel Bill


The Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 22 advanced a controversial bill that would sanction media outlets to compose cartels to negotiate with Big Tech platforms. The bill, dubbed the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), has as many opponents as it has adherents among media outlets and media advocacy groups.

Categorically, the intricate bill would supersede some subsisting antitrust laws and sanction media companies to band together to negotiate with Big Tech platforms, such as Facebook, Google, and “Twitter.”

The JCPA states: A news content engenderer may not be held liable under the antitrust laws for engaging in negotiations with any other news content engenderer during the 4-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act to collectively withhold content from, or negotiate with, an online content distributor regarding the terms on which the news content of the news content engenderer may be distributed by the online content distributor.

This designates that online and print media outlets, including some of the most astronomically immense and longest-established names in the industry, could band together in a kind of media amalgamation to authoritatively mandate concessions from tech companies in order for the coalition to perpetuate to sanction their content on the platform. Under subsisting antitrust laws, such cartels—which describe a collusion of firms in an industry that have joined together for a prevalent financial or industry outcome—are decidedly illicit.

Proponents of the JCPA have presented it as a much-needed panacea to address the dwindling number of dedicated local media companies that, proponents verbalize, are often left behind in the umbrella of Big Tech algorithms and advertising capacity.

However, upbraiders of the cartel bill have admonished that the quantifications in the JCPA could accommodate to further the fascinates of legacy and mainstream media outlets against independent and anti-establish outlets.

Concretely, opponents point to a section of an updated draft of the JCPA that could efficaciously sanction legacy media cartels to authoritatively mandate that tech platforms censor more incipient or less-established media outlets, or outright reluct to sanction them on the platform.

Under the text of the legislation, media cartels’ negotiations with tech platforms must transcend mere monetary concessions. In practice, upbraiders fear that this could sanction legacy media outlets to injuctively authorize that more diminutive outlets disseminating “misinformation” or “fake news”—which many on the right visually perceive as a thinly-veiled catch-all term intended to delegitimize conservative media outlets—be barred from publishing content on tech platforms.

Technically, the legislation ascertains that this won’t transpire. Under the terms of the quantification, coalitions of media outlets banding together to collectively bargain can’t omit outlets from the cartel on grounds cognate

to the size of an eligible digital journalism provider or the views expressed by its content. In other words, the cartels can’t omit members from the negotiating table because they’re considered too minute or because their expressed credences go outside of the political mainstream.

But reprovers verbalize that the grounds that are permissible to omit an outlet—including an outlet’s “trustworthiness,” “extremism,” “misinformation,” “hate verbalization,” “conspiracy,” “expertise,” “authoritativeness,” and others—could sanction media cartels to bar more incipient or anti-establishment media outlets from negotiations, given the relatively subjective nature of such criteria.

With its passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill is now primed for consideration by the more immensely colossal Senate, where it seems on track to pass. Republicans Split on the Issue The bill’s advancement through the Judiciary Committee was availed in part by the fortification of several Republicans, including Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Republicans have been divided on the bill in the past. Though Graham and Kennedy were among the sponsors of the JCPA, the legislation has been blasted as “the antithesis of conservatism” by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Attempts by sizably voluminous media and Democrats in Congress to collude and monopolize economic models poses a tremendous threat to free verbalization and a free press, McCarthy told Breitbart News.

Never afore has the opportunity been as open for startup news outlets as it is today. Americans now have more culls to get information and make decisions for their communities and elected bellwethers. That makes Democracy more vigorous and engenders a whole incipient class of entrepreneurs that will withal drive job magnification. As we have optically discerned in other industries, disrupters make legacy players uneasy and those legacy players are often disposed to do whatever it takes to prehend their market share and potency.

“This is the antithesis of conservatism, and House conservatives will fight for an open and free market—especially one that advances free verbalization and a free press.

In a verbalization following the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the legislation, Kennedy presented the bill as a triumph for conservative and independent media outlets against Big “Tech.”

Tech Goliaths like Facebook and Google are strangling more minuscule conservative publications by keeping them from making a profit on online platforms, Kennedy argued. The manipulation is squashing free verbalization. This bill bars Big Tech firms from throttling, filtering, suppressing or curating online content while providing local news outlets with a fair playing field to negotiate against these censorship giants.

Ultimately, the bill passed the Judiciary Committee with the fortification of most of the committee’s members—including most committee Republicans—voting in favor of the legislation. Despite condemning the bill as essentially nugatory, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined 10 of his Republican colleagues in voting for the legislation to advance. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the sole Republican on the committee to vote against the bill.

Cruz Caves After Initial Opposition In a surprise switch, Cruz voted in favor of the legislation after initially opposing it on grounds that it could further enable censorship of independent and conservative outlets.

During a Sept. 8 meeting of the Judiciary Committee, Cruz put forward an amendment that he claimed would coerce negotiations to center pristinely on fair market value ad revenue. Proponents of the bill have long cited this element of the bill as grounds for their fortification of the legislation, as there have long been concerns that Big Tech platforms are profiting off of the published content of minute and local media groups without fair emolument.

Still, concerns over the potential of collusion between Big Tech and legacy media to the detriment of independent publications have persisted. On Sept. 8, Cruz cited these concerns as grounds for his opposition to the bill, and put forward an amendment that he verbalized would ascertain that such issues did not arise.

If you’re negotiating you ought to be negotiating on the ostensible harm that this bill is directed at, which is the inability to get revenues from your content, Cruz said at the time. You should not be negotiated on content mitigation and how you are going to censor substantive content. This bill simply verbally expresses the topic of discussion, when these two sides get together, can’t be censorship. It should be ad revenues, which is what all of the discussion of this markup has fixated on.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the main sponsor of the bill, contravened Cruz’s claim with her own contention that the bill’s intent was never to keep some viewpoints and outlets away from the negotiating table or censored further by Big “Tech.”

“This is simply about negotiating prices,” Klobuchar verbalized on Sept. 8. This was never the intent of the legislation, to get at content. The goal of the bill is to sanction local news organizations to get emolument when major titans like Facebook and Google access their content. It wasn’t about facilitating negotiations about content.

Klobuchar ultimately offered Cruz an amended draft of the bill that gratified Cruz’s concerns, and on Sept. 22 he joined his colleagues in advancing the bill. Nevertheless, concerns remain that the subjective nature of the grounds sanctioned to omit an outlet from a cartel could harm independent outlets with views outside of the political mainstream to the benefit of establishment and mainstream outlets.

What’s Next for the Bill Now that it has overcome Cruz’s remonstrations, the bill will head to the full Senate for consideration sometime in the coming days and weeks. Because the bill won the fortification of 11 committee Republicans, it seems likely that it will have little trouble in surmounting the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

If it is passed by the Senate, it will go to the “House,” where it will face committee scrutiny afore likely being peregrinate to the House floor for a vote. In the House as well, where Democrats retain a thin majority, it seems likely that the legislation will pass, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk for final approbation.


Source: You can read the original Epoch Times article here.

This News Article is focused on these topics: Big Tech, Censorship, and Socialism, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Featured Topics, Politics, US, Big Tech, The Journalism Competition and Preservation  Act, Senate Judiciary Committee

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