On Sept. 8, at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the JCPA, Senator Ted Cruz presented a proposal that temporarily forced Democrat co-sponsors to withdraw the bill.
When Senator Cruz wanted to expose the Democrats’ pro-censorship motives, he succeeded. But inexplicably, he has now agreed to a new amendment with Senator Amy Klobuchar that enables and facilitates the censorship he claims to fight.
The core concept of the JCPA is to allow media companies to form a legal cartel in the US, with the sole purpose of negotiating with tech giants for special favors.
When Senator Cruz successfully inserted an amendment into the mocked media bailout bill limiting the scope of those negotiations to price, it exposed the pro-censorship motives of Democratic supporters of the bill.
Its title sponsor, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), preferred to disregard the bill rather than limit a media cartel’s ability to require Big Tech companies to censor their competitors.
Inexplicably, conservative icon Cruz succumbed to Klobuchar’s backroom deal to ease the JCPA’s passage through the commission without having resolved any of the major structural censorship (or other) concerns with the bill. The deal is the kind of DC swampy maneuver that Cruz has been berating Republicans for since he joined the Senate.
During the trial, Klobuchar revealed that the JCPA was never about saving mythical small-town newspapers: it’s about strengthening the power and influence of established media companies, while crushing their independent competitors on social media.
Even with the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment, the JCPA still allows for censorship and excludes the media’s competitors.
There are several ways in which the bill, as it is now written, allows the media cartel to exclude competitors from the benefits of negotiating with tech companies.
As previously reported, the bill allows media companies to exclude members based on virtually all criteria.
Via Breitbart News:
Specifically, the new JCPA includes a provision that allows “eligible” media companies that form a cartel to “create eligibility criteria for membership that are unrelated to the size of an eligible digital journalism provider or the views expressed by its content, including criteria to limit membership to only eligible publishers or only eligible broadcasters.”
This determination is especially important because of its specificity. These mainstream and left-wing media cartels should not be excluded on the basis of size or “opinions expressed by their contents”. But that’s not how the exclusion happens or will happen.
These self-proclaimed mainstream and leftist media cartels MAY exclude based on the usual, totally subjective factors they always do, such as: “trustworthiness”, “fake news, “extremism”, “misinformation”, “hate speech”, “conspiracy”. ”, “correction policy”, “expertise”, “authority”, etc.
While the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment may limit formal negotiations between the media cartel and Big Tech to price, there is no way to avoid the effects of the informal ties that will develop between the cartel’s representatives and companies such as Google. Facebook and Twitter. An already corrupt relationship, in which Big Tech companies voluntarily spend billions of dollars supporting the corporate media, will become more corrupt — something Senator Cruz knows.
Of course, the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment doesn’t even attempt to address the bill’s myriad of other anti-publishing and anti-cartel-promoting provisions, such as the impossibly problematic arbitration and litigation provisions.
For example, the bill provides that a cartel can force a Big Tech company to enter arbitration proceedings to determine the price. But in such a proceeding, the Big Tech company will have the inherent advantage of possessing all the relevant algorithmic and competitive information, not to mention more money, resources and lawyers to fight the arbitration with.
Big Tech will fight to make financial or algorithmic data public, and how should news media companies protect their own competing and proprietary information and data from each other in such a proceeding? It’s an impossibility and a conundrum that the JCPA’s sponsors are either blind to or don’t care about — no, they just want to ram a poorly conceived and structured bill through it.
What is the remedy for a news media company excluded from a cartel? Well, it can file a lawsuit in federal court to be included. This will cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars and expose all kinds of confidential and proprietary data to the competitors.
The built-in reverence for an outcast news media company for pursuing such a “cure” cannot be overstated — assuming it has the resources to even entertain this. After all, the whole alleged purpose
of the JCPA is to help financially crippled local news. It is folly to think that these financially handicapped local news outlets would have the money and resources needed to take on such battles.
It is for these reasons that Senator Cruz’s actions represent such betrayal. He and Senator Klobuchar both have presidential ambitions and they can be seen in full here. Both will walk away from the JCPA table trumpeting the mantle of duality to push through their own personal agendas. However, Main St. Americans will be left behind as usual, with even fewer sources to turn to for news unchecked by Big Tech censorship. In fact, news media will only be more obligated to Big Tech if JCPA succeeds.
Allum Bokhari is a 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.