Next week, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to begin considering a controversial bill that would allow media firms to form a collective bargaining organization. Critics have criticized this proposal as it could empower media giants while harming independent journalism.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, (JCPA), does exactly what it says. It allows discredited media companies to form a legal cartel that can collectively bargain against Silicon Valley. This bill would allow media companies to sign deals with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to prioritize their content to the detriment of Substack authors and YouTubers.
Republicans and Democrats alike have been enticed by the idea that Big Tech companies and publishers will be required to pay for content. Critics of the plan claim that it will only allow larger media companies to make sweetheart agreements and leave independent publishers behind. This would only exacerbate the Big Tech problem.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, is the House GOP Leader. The bill was called the “antithesis of conservatism” by McCarthy. Rep. McCarthy stated that terrorist attempts by Democrats and the media to collide and monopolize the economic model pose a great threat to freedom of speech and freedom press. ”
Glenn Greenwald, an independent journalist, also condemned the proposal.
Greenwald stated at a hearing last year that if you let the two largest players, New York Times and Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post, sit at the table and give them an exemption to antitrust, you’re essentially creating two consortials rather than eliminating the root cause. FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington warned the JCPA could damage independent and local journalism.
Simington stated that “if the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act has any practical effect on strengthening national journalistic, then I am concerned that it will undermine local journalism — its independence and community engagement.”
“I worry that the biggest, most-funded national journalists content producers will dominate any negotiations under the bill. Without a mechanism to stop it from happening, this bill will allow these creators to negotiate for an unrepresented industry.
The JCPA was dead in the House last year. Rep. Ken Buck (R.CO), was severely reprimanded for leading a charge against it. Republicans and conservatives reacted strongly to his leading a charge for it. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings are slipping, so Democrats from both parties are frantically searching for some kind of accomplishment to promote in the November midterm elections.
It’s fascinating that this matter is before Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee will host confirmation hearings as well as a larger process for Biden’s nominee to succeed Stephen Breyer, the retired U.S Supreme Court Justice.
The committee has little time to examine the legislation this year. If it doesn’t act quickly, it could be overtaken by the high court. The broader stalled Biden agenda seems to have prompted the rush to revive the JCPA efforts. This fight could be used by Democrats to try and divide Republicans, since Sen. John Kennedy (R.I.), is the leading senator Republican on this proposal. It is likely that it will be opposed by several Judiciary Committee Republicans.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Republican-TN) has opposed it publicly. It would allow “big tech” to consolidate control and make it easier for conservative voices to be censored via social media. ”
Senator Marco Rubio (R.FL), also condemned the bill and stated that it “opens the door to greater collusion between big tech and big media.” ”
Breitbart News has been informed by sources that Senator Tom Cotton (R.–AR) wants to take the fight against the intra-committee battle even though he has yet to make a public comment.