Ted Cruz reaches agreement with Klobuchar on controversial journalism anti-trust exemption bill

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has reached an agreement with Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on a controversial anti-trust bill that some skeptics on the right claim will allow media cartels to silence conservatives.

The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday after Cruz and Klobuchar concluded negotiations on an amendment addressing censorship concerns, the Hill reported.

Cruz reaches agreement on Big Tech bill

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would provide an anti-trust exemption allowing certain news publishers to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies.

The bill has been sold as giving smaller publishers more leverage over tech platforms, but skeptics on the right say it would empower left-wing media cartels. Cruz sought to address those concerns with an amendment that initially prompted Klobuchar to withdraw the bill.

After further negotiation, Cruz and Klobuchar agreed on a reworked amendment that prevents publishers from negotiating how a tech platform “displays, ranks, distributes, suppresses, promotes, throttles, labels, filters, or curates” content.

The final vote was 15-7, with all dissenters being Republicans. Klobuchar hailed the vote as “the product of bipartisan negotiation” which “shows that we can work together to find common ground on these issues.” For his part, Cruz said “Big Tech hates this bill.”

“I think this amendment protects against this antitrust liability being used as a shield for censorship,” Cruz said.

Sellout?

Skeptics on the Right including Senator Tom Cotton (AK) and Breitbart say the bill would result in more, not less, censorship.

Writing at Breitbart, tech reporter Allum Bokhari says the revised Cruz amendment doesn’t preclude collusion between media cartels and Big Tech.

“While the Cruz-Klobuchar amendment may limit formal negotiations between the media cartel and Big Tech to price, there is no way to prevent the effects of the informal ties that will develop between the cartel’s representatives and companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter,” he wrote.

Interestingly, some progressive critics fret the bill will allow “hate speech” to flourish — so there’s a diversity of opinion to say the least.

It’s certainly worth asking: what changed about Cruz’s amendment that made it acceptable to Klobuchar? And if this bill is really a win for free speech, why is a Democrat like Klobuchar supporting it?

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