Yesterday, the Journalism Competition and Protection Act (JCPA) was forgotten from legislation after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) teamed up with Democrats to save it, over false claims that the media and Big Tech were at odds with each other. However, as Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) point out, this is not the case.
In her earliest criticism, Blackburn says Media Cartel Act gives ‘more power to mainstream media’ and Silicon Valley. More recently, she said the bill would allow “a free media and Silicon Valley has silenced conservatives. “
Likewise, Senator Marco Rubio has said the bill “opens the door to greater collusion between big media and big tech.”
These criticisms exposed a fundamental weakness in key arguments of JCPA supporters, including Senator Cruz. According to them, media and big tech are antithetical to each other.
In fact, the two entities have worked closely together for years to suppress independent media and control the flow of information on behalf of the elite. The JCPA will only exacerbate this long-term trend by allowing the media to form a joint negotiating entity to collude with Silicon Valley.
There was a time, fast approaching the outer limits of generational memory, when New York Times and CNN and other such media giants Must compete on a level playing field with independent creators.
If an indie creator gets 1 million views overnight, the blogger is likely to appear on the first page of relevant Google searches and at the top of the Facebook feed.
Indie creators typically outnumber CNN and NBC in YouTube search results for videos recorded in their parents’ spare room.
Ordinary users can start Twitter hashtags and promote them meaningfully, giving ordinary people an unprecedented impact on the national conversation.
For a moment, the slow, focused, dinosaur brand of traditional media seemed destined to be beaten and competed by tens of thousands of independent voices.
That moment, spanning the first half of the 2010s, now seems like a distant memory. Why? Because Big Tech colluded with Big Media to manipulate the playing field.
from CNN and New York Times Not as naturally popular as content from independent creators. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will force it onto your homepage, regardless of its organic momentum.
Google and Facebook do this with their highlighted news tabs, which only allow curated sources to appear.
Twitter operates through the What’s Happening tab. What used to be a list of trending hashtags driven purely by user activity now forces you to feed you content from carefully selected “authoritative” news sources, as well as some hashtags deemed not worth suppressing.
Whenever traditional media complains, YouTube simply adjusts its search results.
On top of that, every major platform now employs armies of partisan “fact-checkers”: a digital platform that seeks out alternative news sources and identifies wrong thinkers so the platform can suppress them. Tech companies aren’t even trying to hide that this ecosystem is a tool for traditional media companies to suppress competition: USA Today, For example, a Facebook fact-checker.
It is against this backdrop — where Big Tech and Big Media have colluded for years to suppress competition from the latter — that Republicans like Ted Cruz support the JCPA, a free pass for further collusion. This is the greatest betrayal of voters who want the disgraced traditional media to be replaced rather than saved.
Perhaps the Republican senators who backed the bill hope their constituents are now insensitive to betrayal. It’s going to be a risky gamble, approaching the mid-term.
Allum Bokhari is a senior technology reporter for Housekaart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Eliminate the Trump Campaign and Steal the Election.