Freedom of speech and the press are so important to maintain a healthy republic, the Founders enshrined it in the First Amendment.
But the Founders could not have envisioned liberal big tech and corporate media monopolies taking control of the information you are allowed to see.
But leave it to Amy Klobuchar to create a “solution” that would make the situation even worse.
Klobuchar proposes a “link tax”
Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced new legislation called The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), and it’s currently working its way through Congress.
The new law would force Big Tech companies to the bargaining table and allow traditional media outlets to extract a mandatory fee if heavy hitters like Google and Facebook link their stories.
This would make local news industries dependent on the government for revenue rather than on advertisers and subscribers.
In effect, it sets up a dangerous state-run media system that would likely cause smaller outlets to think twice before they criticized specific politicians who would now essentially control their funding.
Corporations like Apple, Google, and Facebook typically get massive revenue on the backs of hard-working reporters while they essentially do nothing to earn the money.
According to Klobuchar, the new bill would force these Big Tech companies to negotiate fees with local papers to “save local journalism.”
Most newspapers support the new bill, claiming that it has the potential to lead to a substantial financial windfall.
Many people would agree that smaller, more traditional media outlets have taken a massive hit since the rise of online information.
Newspapers collected approximately $50 billion in advertising revenue in 2005, but that number had fallen to $9.6 billion by 2020.
And with falling revenue comes falling numbers of employees working in the newspaper niche.
There were approximately 74,000 newspaper employees nationwide in the United States in 2006, and that number dwindled closer to 31,000 by 2020.
Since there are now fewer reporters available to cover local stories, the news has become much more difficult not only to obtain but also to report to readers.
This new concept of a “link tax” has already become a possibility in states like California as well as in countries like Canada and the European Union.
While the idea seems like something progressives will drool over, it’s also supported by several Republicans including Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham, who see the new law as an opportunity to reduce the overarching influence of Big Tech in the media.
Regulation in overdrive
The JCPA implements a new form of regulation that would give the government control over social media companies and force them to carry specific pieces of content, even if the companies disagree with said content.
The threat of a new, massive tax is an easy way to get these outlets to run content that is more closely in line with those in government and their specific political ideologies.
According to Cato Institute’s Paul Matzko, a similar tax has already been implemented in Australia, and the revenue never reached small newspapers.
Instead, it went directly into the hands of larger media outlets like Rupert Murdoch’s networks who used the funds to hire employees and take them away from smaller local newspapers.
If the same bill were to become law in America, it could change the face of journalism forever, and likely not for the best.
Informed American will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.