According to members of Congress, American journalism is on the ropes. “Newspapers are locked in a life-or-death struggle with tech giants,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). “We have seen thousands of news organizations crushed by the monopolistic power of Big Tech,” according to Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) argued “media outlets need a fighting chance when negotiating for fair treatment by the digital platforms.”
They propose to rescue journalism by passing the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow news publishers to legally collude in negotiations with digital platforms such as Facebook and Google.
But as I explain below, the premise that Big Tech is choking journalism is false. Rather, many in journalism are refusing to adapt to a changing consumer landscape. Digitization has empowered people to change how they receive news and choose sources. Old-school journalism’s failure to adapt has decreased its relevance, but it was fading away even before the arrival of Facebook and Google. But rather than see the change as a business opportunity, traditional media is seeking government help. That’s a bad idea.
Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.