Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, challenged the effect of a bipartisan proposal to thwack Big Tech as unintentionally giving “Big Media” too much power.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act has bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House and aims to give news publishers the ability to collectively negotiate with Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Google. The law would allow publishers and broadcasters to negotiate together against Big Tech directly regarding how the tech platforms distribute their content.
The legislation aims to assist news outlets that are scaling back or shuttering entirely amid the boom of news and information online.
Mr. Jordan said he was concerned that rather than leveling the playing field between Big Tech and news publishers the legislation would instead elevate corporate media’s power and could lead to Big Tech and Big Media working in tandem against their critics.
“We’ve already seen them team up against we the people and now we have legislation that’s going to give Big Media this consortium and cartel power,” said Mr. Jordan at an antitrust subcommittee hearing on Friday. “The same time we’re looking to use antitrust law to deal with Big Tech, we’re going to give an antitrust exemption to Big Media. Maybe that’s the right course, but I got real questions about that.”
Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat who leads the antitrust panel, introduced the proposed legislation on Wednesday, and has five Republican lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill including Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Victoria Spartz of Indiana, Gregory Steube of Florida, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Burgess Owens of Utah.
Mr. Gaetz said Friday that he is already rethinking his decision to co-sponsor the legislation.
“I’m a sponsor of the JCPA but after hearing some of the testimony, I’m wondering whether I should be,” said Mr. Gaetz at the hearing. “Not every failure of every local news entity is a failure of democracy. Sometimes it’s just bad news.”
The Senate is simultaneously pushing ahead with its version of the same bill, which was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, and was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky.