As details emerged about the resignation of CNN president Jeff Zucker after he admitted a sexual relationship with a subordinate, democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were holding a hearing on a bill that would allow the corporate media to form a state-sanctioned cartel to protect themselves from online competition.
If the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) passes, big media companies would be able to strike deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other tech giants that would prioritize their content to the detriment of podcasters, YouTubers, Substack authors, and other forms of independent media. The hearing occurred just hours after the news of Zucker’s resignation from CNN, primed to benefit from a potential media cartel, hit the street.
A line in the bill allows members of the state-sanctioned cartel to exclude any company that is not “similarly situated” to them from the benefits of their negotiations with the tech giants.
It would also exclude any journalist who does not have “a dedicated professional editorial staff” that publishes news content on “at least a weekly basis,” effectively excluding independent journalists who run small operations on Substack, YouTube, and other platforms.
At the hearing, the lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) insisted that the antitrust carveout was necessary to protect the news media, even though, as expert witness Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center pointed out, Americans’ trust in the media is at historic lows.