“Cartel-Like” Control of News Could Lead to Partisan Media Coverage

"Cartel-Like" Control of News Could Lead to Partisan Media Coverage

One of the main arguments against the JPCA bill is that it would establish a “cartel-like entity” among publishers, giving them control over the distribution of news. This, in turn, could lead to partisan media coverage, as companies might be forced to carry news against their will.

However, the bill has faced opposition from tech companies such as Meta and Google. Meta has even threatened to remove news from its websites if the bill is passed.

Other tech companies, including NetChoice and the Computer and Communication Industry Association, have also voiced their opposition and plan to launch campaigns against the JCPA.

Would benefit large publishing houses

The revenue sharing bill, recently proposed by US Congress, known as the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA)”, aims to recoup web links from publishers. Some are concerned that the bill would benefit large publishing houses at the expense of smaller ones.

"Cartel-Like" Control of News Could Lead to Partisan Media Coverage

Google has taken a different approach to the issue by signing a similar agreement in France to establish a strong base against the US Congress. However, this has not been enough to sway public opinion, and the bill continues to face opposition from many quarters.

The fact that such powerful companies are willing to go to such lengths to oppose this legislation raises questions about why they are so opposed to it. Some speculate that it may be because the bill could result in higher earning potential for publishers, which could potentially eat into the profits of tech companies. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the JCPA is facing an uphill battle in the face of such strong opposition.

Forcing a cut

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) is a bipartisan bill that challenges the business model of social media giants by forcing them to give major journalistic organizations a cut of their ad revenue.

However, Google and Meta are pouring money into two seemingly contradictory messages in an effort to defeat it. The messages claim that the JCPA is simultaneously a liberal effort to silence conservative voices and a far-right effort that will fund pro-Trump voices.

Despite this lobbying effort, the National Defense Authorization Act does not include the JCPA. The JCPA would provide a legal exemption to antitrust rules for media outlets to collectively bargain with Silicon Valley platforms for a slice of the advertising revenues they help generate. Proponents argue that Google and Facebook’s domination over the online advertising industry has decimated the traditional news business model.

"Cartel-Like" Control of News Could Lead to Partisan Media Coverage

Hired journalists after agreement

The JCPA was modeled on a novel Australian law, which led to AU$200 million in revenue sharing with news publishers.

Many publications, both large and small, have reported success from the deal, including The Guardian, which increased its newsroom in Australia by 50 journalists following a negotiated agreement. However, there is still debate over which media outlets would qualify for collective bargaining and how it could impact editorial content.

During a Senate committee debate over the JCPA legislation, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz successfully added provisions to limit the bill’s antitrust exemption to discussions of pricing terms, while explicitly excluding any discussions or agreements concerning content moderation.

Meta “forced” to remove news

In a tweet, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone outlined the company’s opposition to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which was introduced by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and has received bipartisan support.

If Congress passes the act, Meta would be “forced to consider removing news” from its platforms completely instead of agreeing to government-mandated negotiations.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.