The Times and WaPo Take Up Arms

Well, no, of course they don’t. The idea that liberal news outlets might contribute to our national defense, rather than undermining it, is laughable. And yet, here they are: the defense authorization bill is being held hostage to the Democrats’ insistence that the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” be included in it.

Whatever the merits of the JCPA, it has absolutely nothing to do with national defense, and should be stripped out of the defense appropriations bill and considered independently on its own merits. Obviously, the Democrats wouldn’t have tried to slip it through in this manner if they thought it could withstand scrutiny.

Tom Cotton, as good a barometer as any, says Republican Senators should filibuster the defense authorization act until the media preservation act is stripped out:

Cotton said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are holding the bill “hostage” by moving to add “all kinds of extraneous nondefense measures” such as the JCPA; the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to handle marijuana-related businesses; or Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) natural gas and oil permitting bill as a reward for his voting for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Cotton referred to the JCPA as a “payoff for liberal media companies to form a cartel to work with big tech that will hurt center-right outlets.”

That’s good enough for me. What, exactly, does the JCPA say? You can read the text here. It is convoluted. It sets up a system whereby the antitrust laws are waived so that media outlets can band together to negotiate royalty agreements relating to news stories with social media platforms.

What would be the result? From a quick review of the bill, I have no idea. It sets up a Rube Goldberg system, the consequences of which are probably unforeseeable. The social media companies understandably don’t like it; Facebook has said that it might remove all news from its platform if JCPA passes. Is that a threat or a promise? It sounds all right to me.

While I can’t predict the consequence should the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” pass–you always know preserving competition is the object when the centerpiece of the bill is a waiver of the antitrust laws–the one thing I know for sure is that it has nothing to do with the national defense. Republicans should refuse to proceed with the defense authorization act until all irrelevant measures, including JCPA, have been deleted.

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