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Once upon a time, there was a plan for a bill called the Journalism Competition Preservation Act, a bill that would supposedly equalize the playing field for media outlets.
However, the people behind the bill – particularly Amy Klobuchar – went out of their way to make sure it benefited their allies in the media and would ultimately hurt places like RedState and others. It is, essentially, a handout for Democrat-supporting media that could potentially hurt conservative media. Mike Lee has called it Obamacare but for the press.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is nothing less than Obamacare for the press. Congress should reject making the same mistake twice. pic.twitter.com/6uHiVrzPyz
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) September 8, 2022
Explaining his amendment, Cruz said, “Censorship is becoming more and more blatant on the internet. Big Tech is more and more naked in silencing the voices with which they disagree. This bill, if it is enacted, would create an exemption from the anti-trust laws to allow ‘Big Tech’ to sit down with an enormous conglomerate of media operations and negotiate free from the antitrust laws.”
The amendment, which Cruz said was “simple,” stated that, “If you’re negotiating you ought to be negotiating on the ostensible harm that this bill is directed at, which is the inability to get revenues from your content. You should not be negotiated on content moderation and how you are going to censor substantive content. This bill simply says the topic of discussion, when these two sides get together, can’t be censorship. It should be ad revenues, which is what all of the discussion of this markup has focused on.”
Klobuchar, clearly irked, reiterated that the bill is not about content moderation. “The bill does not require or implicate display of content in any way,” she said. Cruz retorted that the bill does not require “that the cartels sitting down negotiating censor,” but without the amendment they would give an immunity from antitrust liability from the cartels sitting down agreeing to censor.
It was after Cruz managed to get Louisiana Senator John Kennedy on board that Klobuchar took her ball and went home.
Cruz carried on with his argument. And, he was persuasive enough to get Kennedy, who worked on the JCPA with Klobuchar “for months,” to go along with the amendment.
Klobuchar was dumbfounded. She said, “We won’t be able to support the Cruz amendment here, so I’m hoping we could talk about this in the future. But, if this is in it, I can’t support the bill.” Kennedy retorted that what had just transpired was Democracy in action.
A Roll Call vote on Cruz’s amendment came shortly thereafter. The result: 11-10, in favor of the amendment.
Visibly shaken, Klobuchar said to Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, “I don’t think we can support this bill anymore. We’re going to have to hold off on this bill … this was a surprise and is a long-negotiated bill.” As the session closed, Klobuchar concluded, “The agreement that we had has been blown up.”
Cruz, however, is absolutely right in carrying this fight forward. What is transpiring here is a Democratic attempt to exert more influence across Big Tech as the numbers in the polling booth don’t support ultra-progressivism as much as the Democratic Party would like. So they have to stack the deck, and thankfully we have Cruz, Lee, and others fighting against that.
The Democrats are still reeling from the great equalization happening over at Twitter. With less progressive-leaning moderation going on, they are worried their messaging won’t be as consistently pushed, so they need a way to improve the odds. The JCPA was that tool, and now they are looking to attach it to the National Defense Authorization Act, or other major legislation, to try and sneak it across. It absolutely must be stopped.
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