Democrats Reviving Onerous JCPA Media Cartel Bill

The corporate media is dying a death of a thousand papercuts, but its Democratic allies in Washington continue to push for life support. This time it came from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in an assessment of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA).

This legislation is strongly supported by the legacy media and worried Democrats. As tech companies continue to thrive and traditional outlets struggle, the JCPA is little more than a shakedown intended to keep outdated media companies afloat.

Several attempts to pass the bill have failed, but somehow it will not go away. It was again front and center Wednesday at the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

Democrats worked to latch it onto the annual defense bill passed at the end of 2021 only to see that plan die. But leaders such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) continued to rush to its defense.

In its essence, the bill permits giant media companies to form a cartel. Through this, they would be able to strengthen themselves against Big Tech — or alongside Big Tech through collusion — and bring in billions in funds.

Trust in the legacy media is hitting rock bottom, especially if the respondent is not a Democrat.

According to a Gallup survey conducted last year, a scant 14% of Republicans and 27% of independents trust the corporate media. That’s a far cry from the 70% of Democrats who put their faith in yesterday’s news sources.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is the ranking member of the subcommittee, and he had harsh words for the proposal. First, he chided news organizations for being slow to adapt to new technology and clinging to old business models.

Then he declared his concern over an information cartel.

A group of public interest advocates wrote a letter to both Klobuchar and Lee warning that the effort could lead to less free speech. “News giants with the greatest leverage would dominate the negotiations and small outlets with diverse or dissenting voices would be unheard if not hurt.”

They further cautioned that the free and open nature of the internet could be harmed by the powerful coalition of Big Tech and the mainstream media.

Wednesday’s hearing also listened to Harvard Law School lecturer Daniel Francis. He told lawmakers that the resulting cartel could become a news monopoly, inflicting untold damage on the free flow of information.