(The original version of this appeared on the blog of my employer, Public Knowledge.)
At Public Knowledge, we’ve talked a lot about the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) and why we think it’s a very bad idea. But the most recent version made public raises a new twist. For a statute supposedly designed to save journalism and avert the “newspaperpocalypse,” it drastically favors broadcasters over newspapers and gives the biggest rewards to massive media conglomerates rather than local newspapers. Given the role media consolidation has played in destroying local news, and the fact that local TV broadcasting remains quite profitable, this outcome gets a rare 5 out of 5 Morissettes on the irony scale.
To make this even more annoying, Public Knowledge has a much better proposal for using big tech to support local media. Or Congress could go with this Free Press proposal (echoed by econ Nobel winner Paul Roemer in this op ed) to tax targeted advertising to fund local journalism. There are lots of better ways to tax big tech to fund local journalism that have the advantage of actually funding local journalism rather than media conglomerates. But no, Congress would rather create a new exception to the antitrust laws and bring cable must carry to the internet than expressly tax targeted advertising to fund local journalism. Le sigh.
Details on why the current JCPA favors big media below.