Is It Possible To Get Fair Coverage Of The Link Tax Bill When The News Orgs Covering It Are The Main Beneficiaries?
from the corrupt-bargain dept
We’ve been covering the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which is a blatant handout by Congress in the form of a link tax that would require internet companies pay news orgs (mainly the vulture capitalist orgs that have been buying up local newspapers around the country, firing most of the journalists and living off of the legacy revenue streams) for… daring to send them traffic. We’ve gone over all the ways the bill is bad. We’ve gone over the fact that people in both the House and the Senate are (at this very moment) looking for ways to sneak it into law when no one’s looking. Indeed, there are reports that there will be an announcement tonight that it’s included as a part of the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA).
The whole thing stinks of corruption. Politicians often rely on local newspapers for endorsements to win re-election campaigns, so they want to keep local papers happy. And it’s the perfect kind of corrupt handout for Congress. It’s not even using “taxpayer” funds. It’s forcing other companies — the hated internet companies — to foot the bill.
And, here’s the thing: the newspapers themselves are now stumping for the bill.
Newspapers nationwide are running editorials today in favor of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which passed a Senate committee with bipartisan support in September and has been waiting ever since for a floor vote.
Which… seems pretty sketchy when you think about it. The newspapers don’t seem likely to be running any editorials, or even op-eds, highlighting the problems and cronyism of the JCPA. Because, why would they? If it passes, it’s literally free cash for the companies.
What newspaper will run articles explaining how the JCPA won’t help journalists, but rather their private equity owners? What newspaper will run articles explaining how the JCPA fundamentally breaks the concept of the open internet where you can link anywhere you want for free? What newspaper will run op-eds explaining how the JCPA messes with copyright law in dangerous ways by implying a new right to demand a license for links or fair use snippets?
If “newspapers nationwide” are stumping for the JCPA in their editorial pages, then it looks like we have to assume that they’re not open to anything highlighting the problems and dangers of the bill.
And that, alone, should cause people to worry. It’s showing how these news orgs are willing to forget about basic fairness in their coverage in order to stump for a corrupt handout for their owners. Shameful.