Media Corporations Want to Control Your Newsfeed

We now live in a golden age of information and news.

Curious about what is happening in France, well hop on your computer and read Le Monde. What about Japan? Just plug Asahi.com into your web browser. Want to read a news just about cats? Science Daily has a news section just for you.

We have an almost endless supply of content, resources, and information.

Gone are the days when your sources of news were limited to the newspaper dropped on your doorstep or the half-hour of broadcast national news on in the evening.

The news business has evolved and the internet has powered a new world of publishing enabling a global platform for professional and citizen journalists covering local, national, and international beats.

But if you talk to the big media companies, they see this access to other content as a direct threat to their profits. These big newspapers want to return us to the dark age of information where they have the power to control the news that you see and drive-up their profits.

Through collusive powers granted by HR 5190, big media companies would wield incredible power, greater than those of William Randolph Hearst.

The ironically titled, “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” HR 5190, a bill that seeks “competition” by rolling back antitrust regulations, is big media’s latest attempt to return us to an era where they alone were in control of the national media cycle, and was introduced into Congress last week.

HR 5190 would exempt media companies from antitrust laws and allow them to form cartels to pressure social media and search companies to prioritize their content and hand them more ad revenue.

Through collusive powers granted by HR 5190, big media companies would wield incredible power, greater than those of William Randolph Hearst. These media companies could collectively threaten to withhold all their content from a platform. In doing so, they could also force platforms to prioritize their content over that of other small news outlets.

HR 5190 could stifle small voices from being heard over the new powers of big media companies. In short, large media companies would have more power than ever to control what you read in the age of the internet.

But big media isn’t alone in calling for HR 5190 and politics can create strange bedfellows. We’re seeing surprising support for dissolution of antitrust laws from organizations allegedly founded to oppose this type of collusion.

Take the Open Markets Institute, a group that opposes the “threat posed by concentration of power” but nonetheless calls for “antitrust immunity” when it comes to the massive media industry.

We’re seeing surprising support for dissolution of antitrust laws from organizations allegedly founded to oppose this type of collusion.

Why would groups that are against consolidation of power call for this exemption? Perhaps it has less to do with principles and more to do with a robust antitech biases of these supposed “protectors of open markets.”

So, what’s the real reason behind HR 5190? It’s nothing noble. In fact, the bill’s own language tells us: “news publishers’ revenues have fallen by nearly half.”

There it is, HR 5190 isn’t about consumers. It’s about media corporations making more money.

HR 5190 benefits those in the media who want more money and a more control over the news you’re able to read. It benefits antitech advocates with another opportunity to voice their vitriol at innovation.

The “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” does little to preserve either competition or high-quality journalism. Simply, it helps special interests at the expense of the access to information that has made the internet era so revolutionary.

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