Congressional leaders have removed from the annual defense package a controversial proposal that would have allowed media organizations to create cartels to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies, text of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) released Tuesday evening.
The revelation that the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) was removed from the text of the NDAA after congressional leaders agreed to include it just days ago is a massive development that comes after that congressional leaders were caught off guard by the rapid and harsh return to the effort, Breitbart News has learned.
The deletion of the proposal is a massive victory for conservatives after criticism from across the political spectrum came following reports that GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell caved in to Democrats on the matter, but in especially the critics among Republicans, who were shocked. agreed to include the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Several GOP senators have joined the chorus of criticism in public and private, heartbreaking pressure to shred and delay the release of the final text of the NDAA by more than a full day and throwing the last weeks of this lame Congress into the dismay.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, in particular, told Breitbart News several sources with knowledge of the matter, was caught off guard after agreeing to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demands over the weekend. and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include the JCPA. in the NDAA. Only House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, likely the next House Speaker, fought him from the start among the vaunted “Four Corners” — the so-called four leaders of both houses of Congress.
When Breitbart News reported Monday morning that McCarthy was in a three-to-one minority among congressional leaders on the issue, pandemonium erupted among opponents of the JCPA, especially those on the right.
Critics have rained on the effort, particularly that not only did the JCPA policy have nothing to do with US national defense, but in reality the policy would weaken national security through loopholes that would strengthen the main adversary of the United States. declares the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Empowering the media cartel is bad enough.
The JCPA’s “Chinese loophole” means it will benefit our opponents.
All Republicans should oppose cramming this bad bill into the NDAA.https://t.co/2SO18ZuDxI
—Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) December 6, 2022
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have begun to organize efforts to fight back. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) swung into action and urged his GOP colleagues to obstruct the defense package if it contains the JCPA. Others like the senses. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), released public statements via Twitter saying they disagreed with the inclusion of this in the NDAA.
The JCPA has no place in a defense authorization bill. This provision is just a backroom deal to bail out the mainstream media for their failing business practices.
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) December 6, 2022
GOP senators also debated the issue behind closed doors at their weekly policy luncheon, and the absence of any serious defense of the effort to include the JCPA and other foreign proposals in the NDAA shocked McConnell then. that senators were expressing their outrage about it. McConnell, according to sources familiar with the matter, began to change his tone in response to GOP outrage later Tuesday and insisted that the NDAA be stripped of the JCPA.
Meanwhile, other critics of the legislation, like House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and the House Judiciary GOP, threw hay against the plan via Twitter, tearing up the plot.
You know what a REAL national security issue is?
Not being able to meet recruiting goals for our military due to #COVID-19[FEMININE[FEMININE vaccination mandate on our troops.
You know what isn’t?
A bailout of the mainstream media. https://t.co/PKEjqqhlRv
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 6, 2022
Other voices also joined in the chorus, including former President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted a critique of the JCPA saying it would lead to more censorship of conservatives and urging Republicans to remove it from the NDAA.
Why are some Republicans working with Democrats to destroy alternative media? This law gives Big Tech and corporate media MORE censorship power. Remove it from the NDAA!
Group of 10 GOP Patriots push back against McConnell, Democrats push to include JCPA in NDAAhttps://t.co/Qgcq9imNMk
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 6, 2022
“Why are some Republicans working with Democrats to destroy alternative media? asked Don Jr. “This law gives Big Tech and corporate media MORE censorship power. Remove it from the NDAA! »
Others, like conservative groups such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), have joined in the drive to remove the JCPA from the NDAA via tweets and letters.
The JCPA (pure cronyism that goes against the idea of an open internet) should not be tagged on the #NDAA; it should be voted on as a stand-alone bill. #ampFW ➡️ https://t.co/DNidwpdKzy pic.twitter.com/D9iYrNi9Y4
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) December 6, 2022
Raison The magazine, the voice of the libertarian movement in the United States, also spoke out against the bill, echoing FreedomWorks’ characterization of the JCPA as “cronyism.”
“The worst ideas in Congress never die; they just sneak in unrelated bills,” wrote Raison editor-in-chief Elizabeth Nolan Brown. “This week, that means lawmakers would try to bury a bad media protectionism bill in the authorization of defense spending.”
Other center-right organizations, including the Niskanen Center and the R Street Institute, signed an open letter opposing the JCPA’s last ditch effort along with 25 other organizations from across the political spectrum.
Given that populists like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose populist policies are often a source of consternation to libertarians, have also opposed the JCPA for its weakening of antitrust laws, it seems that every side of the political right has a reason to oppose this bill.
At Fox News, Laura Ingraham, host of Ingraham’s Angle, called the push to add the JCPA to a defense spending bill “disturbing”.
“Now this defense bill will, as usual, be so long and the text released so late that few members will actually read it, let alone count all the trash,” Ingraham said. She went on to say:
But Breitbart uncovered something troubling lurking inside — something called the Journalism Preservation and Competition Act in the National Defense Authorization Act. Now it will allow media companies – most owned by wealthy conglomerates – to form bargaining cartels to win special favors from Big Tech companies, including financial handouts.
Don’t think for a second that they hadn’t planned everything. The staff on the Hill and at the White House have no doubt been working on all this nonsense for probably most of the last year.
Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg also entered the fray, issuing a statement on Monday warning that Facebook may have to remove information from the platform altogether if the alternative is forced into binding deals with a corporate media cartel in the continuation of the JCPA.
Even the left is angry with the bill. Despite attempts by media lobbyists to cast the bill as a bailout for struggling journalists, media unions that represent such journalists were unconvinced, calling the JCPA a document for hedge fund owners media conglomerates, not for frontline journalists.
That argument has been echoed by left-leaning nonprofits, including the influential ACLU, more than 25 of which signed an open letter on Monday opposing the JCPA’s incorporation into the NDAA.
Excerpt from the open letter:
Large media conglomerates can dominate negotiations, and small media would be ignored if not hurt,” the organizations wrote in their open letter. Despite claims that the bill is “designed to exclusively benefit small local publishers”, a cap of 1,500 employees for publishers would exclude only the three largest newspapers in the country from participating in negotiations (and as noted below , the cap does not apply to diffusers at all).
The “one publisher, one vote” provision for trading entities minimizes the forms of soft power that large conglomerates with branded news outlets can bring to trading. In fact, the bill encourages – and can help fund – greater consolidation between newspapers and broadcasters.
No matter where you look on the ideological compass – left, right, MAGA, moderate, populist, libertarian – we find vocal opposition to the JCPA and bipartisan agreement that the bill is nothing more than welfare companies for the world’s wealthiest media companies and their hedge fund owners. It seems that the only friends of the media industry and its well-funded lobbyists are their lackeys in Congress.
From there, the way forward for the JCPA is unclear. Now that it’s out of the NDAA, leaders could try attaching it to a spending bill like an omnibus or a continuing resolution (CR) – an omnibus is a much more likely place than a CR for something like this – or they might try to pass it as a standalone bill. But time is running out for this Congress and the JCPA travel window is shrinking by the second.
Allum Bokhari is Breitbart News’ Senior Technology Correspondent. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.