On Sept. 8, at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the JCPA, Senator Ted Cruz introduced a proposal that temporarily forced fellow Democrat supporters to withdraw the bill.
If Senator Cruz intended to uncover the Democrats’ rationale for the censorship, he succeeded. But inexplicably, he has now agreed with Senator Amy Klobuchar on a new amendment that will allow and ease the censorship he allegedly opposes.
The core concept of the JCPA is to allow media companies to form a legal cartel in the US just to negotiate special perks with tech giants.
When Sen. Cruz successfully introduced an amendment to the mocked media bailout bill that limited the scope of those negotiations to price, it exposed the pro-censorship motivations of the bill’s Democratic supporters.
Its main sponsor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), preferred to withdraw the bill rather than limit a media cartel’s ability to force big tech companies to censor their competitors.
Inexplicably, conservative icon Cruz caved in front of Klobuchar to secure a backroom deal to ease the JCPA’s passage through the committee without having resolved any of the core structural censorship issues (or others) with the bill. The deal is the kind of maneuvering of swamp DC creatures that Cruz has berated Republicans for since he entered the Senate.
In doing so, Klobuchar revealed that the JCPA was never about rescuing mythical small-town newspapers: it was about consolidating the power and influence of established media outlets while crushing their independent social media competitors.
Even with the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment, the JCPA still allows for censorship and shuts out the media’s competitors.
There are a variety of ways the bill, as currently drafted, will allow the media cartel to foreclose competitors from the benefits of negotiating with tech companies.
As previously reported, the bill empowers media companies to disfellowship members based on virtually any criteria.
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Specifically, the new JCPA includes a provision that allows “legitimate” media companies forming a cartel to “establish membership eligibility criteria that are inconsistent with the size of a legitimate digital journalism provider or the views expressed through its content.” related, including criteria to limit membership to only those Eligible Publishers or only Eligible Broadcasters.”
This provision is important mainly because of its specific nature. These mainstream and left-wing media cartels must not be excluded because of their size or “views expressed through their content”. But that’s not how the exclusion happens or will happen.
These self-proclaimed mainstream and left-wing media cartels MUST exclude based on the usual, entirely subjective factors they always do, such as: “trustworthiness,” “fake news,” “extremism,” “misinformation,” “hate speech.” ‘, ‘conspiracy’, ‘corrective policy’, ‘expertise’, ‘authority’, etc.
While the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment could limit formal negotiations between the media cartel and Big Tech to price, there is no way to avoid the impact of the informal links that are developing between the cartel’s representatives and companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter will develop. An already corrupt relationship, with big tech companies willingly spending billions of dollars to support the corporate media, is becoming even more corrupt — something Senator Cruz knows.
Of course, the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment doesn’t even attempt to address the bill’s myriad other anti-publisher and antitrust-enabling provisions, such as the incredibly problematic arbitration and trial provisions.
For example, the bill provides that a cartel can force a big tech company into arbitration for pricing. But in any such proceeding, the big tech will have the inherent advantage — of owning all the relevant algorithmic and competitive intelligence, not to mention more money, resources, and attorneys to fight the arbitration.
Big Tech will fight to disclose financial or algorithmic data, and how are news media companies supposed to protect their own competitive and proprietary information and data from each other in such a proceeding? It’s an impossibility and an enigma that the JCPA’s sponsors are either blind to or don’t care – no, they just want to push through a poorly designed and structured bill.
What’s the remedy for a news media company locked out of a cartel? Well, it can sue in federal district court to be included. This will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and will expose all kinds of confidential and proprietary data to its competitors.
The built-in deference to a disfellowshipped news media company in pursuing such a “cure” cannot be overstated – provided it has the resources for a moment to even consider it. After all, the whole supposed purpose
the JCPA is to help financially troubled local news. It is quibbling to think that these cash-strapped local news outlets would have the money and resources to fight such battles.
For these reasons, Senator Cruz’s actions constitute such a betrayal. He and Senator Klobuchar both have presidential aspirations, and they are being shown to their fullest here. Both will step away from the JCPA table, trumpeting the mantle of bipartisanship to advance their own personal agendas. However, Main St. Americans are left as usual, with even fewer sources to turn to for news not controlled by Big Tech censors. In fact, the news media will only become more committed to Big Tech if the JCPA is passed.
Allum Bokhari is 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.
https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2022/09/21/cruz-klobuchar-amendment-doesnt-fix-jcpa-censorship-enabling-bailout-for-the-establishment-media/ Cruz-Klobuchar Amendment Doesn’t Fix JCPA