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tv   Microsoft President Media Experts Testify on Media Industry  CSPAN  April 4, 2021 2:57am-5:51am EDT

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and they think that is a very credible commitment. i'm certainly supportive of it as a semi- the optimists on the committee. >> thank you share of financial stability board, thank you so much for your depth of knowledge, you're sharing your insights with this, your willingness to make clear your views. and especially for your current and past years public service. we are very proud to have you with us here today. >> thanks much adam's great to
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>> subcommittee will come to order. declare a recess of the committee at any time. good morning and welcome to today's hearing. the second in a series to develop legislation to promote competition online and modernize the anti-trust laws. before we begin, i would like to remind members that we have an
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e-mail address and distribution list demonstrating to circling exhibits, motions and other written materials that they might want to offer as part of the hearing today. if you want to submit please send them to the e-mail address to your office and circulate to members and staff as quickly as we can. i would like to remind all members that our witnesses office of guiding physician states that face coverings are required for all meetings in an enclosed space such as committee hearings. i expect all members on both sides of the aisle to wear a mask for the duration of the hearing. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. a free and diverse press is the backbone of a vibrant democracy. indeed our democracy is strongest when we have a free and diverse press that informs citizens, holds power to account and exposes corruption and wrongdoing. but in recent years the local news that it delivered through newspapers, online and local broadcasts has been in a state of economic freefall.
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over the past 15 years, one in five newspapers closed and the number of journalists working for newspapers has been cut in half. in 2019 america reportedly lost over 2,100 newspapers since 2004. today, at least 200 counties have no local newspapers at all. the crisis in american journalism has become a real crisis in our democracy and sieving life. newsrooms across the country are laying off reporters and editorial staff or folding altogether. the majority of counties are down to a single publisher of local news and many lack local news option altogether. in my home state of rhode island our statewide newspaper has declined by 54% since 2004. this is happening to legacy news companies and digital publishers alike. earlier this week in the wake of acquisition "huffington post" laid off dozens of journalists due to declining advertising
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revenue. unfortunately, they are not alone. last year digital publishers furlowed or laid off reporters. more people are online like ever before and all-time readership is at an all-time home. also in the wake of the pandemic when local journalism is more important than ever. i quote we are truly facing an extinction level event for local news, end quote. if this trend continues, we risk permanently compromising the news organizations that are essential to our communities, holding the government and corporations accountable and sustaining our democracy. in response to these concerns, the subcommittee examined the effect of market power, market power of the largest technology platforms on the survival of free and diverse press as part of our bipartisan investigation last congress. during our inquiry, we received evidence about the significant and growing aassimtry of power
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between several dominant online platforms and news publishers. submissions and testimony before the subcommittee publishers and broadcasters with distinct business models and distribution strategies said they are increasingly beholden to google and facebook, which increasingly function as the gatekeepers for information online. for example, digital content next which represents digital news publishers and content companies notes in the statement for a reference to today's hearing that 64% of referrals came by services owned by facebook or google underscoring the extraordinary role of these companies and how the public discovers, searches and spreads information. according to the pew research center three-quarters of americans get their news online through either facebook or google. as news publishers have noted, this gatekeeper power gives facebook and google the ability to distort the flow of information online. this means google and facebook
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could divert their users away from trustworthy sources with a single change to their algorithm or other subtle or meaningful ways such as manipulating ad options. a second related problem that we identified during the investigation is the market power of these firms over digital advertising. they control the majority of online advertising in the united states and captured all of the growth in this market. each year advertisers pay billions of dollars to these two companies to serve highly target ed ads on facebook and through google's advertising market. nearly a dozen attorneys general who are currently suing google, google's advertising network as the largest electronic trading market in existence, end quote. these companies continue to enjoy persistently high profit margins, a telltale sign of their substantial and enduring market power. the same time news publishers have seen a steep decline in
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revenue and reduced ability to monetize journalism, particularly when it comes to these sources online. overall, the market power of google and facebook has reinforced by the unprecedent amount of data collected by these companies along with other factors that have tipped digital markets in favor of these firms and blocked rivals and new entrance. bolster these conclusions. for example, the australian competition and consumer commission which conducted its own extensive investigation into this matter similarly noted in their exhaustive 2019 report that facebook and google have substantial market power over channels for accessing news online and digital advertising. in a statement for today's hearing rod simms australia competition authority notes the gatekeeper role by facebook's decision to block large sloth of australian content regarding-
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the preservation act with ranking member buck to negotiate the dominant platforms to improve the quality, accuracy, attribution and functioning of news online. as part of today's hearing i look forward to discussing recommendations to strengthen and improve this legislation. in particular, for a discussion
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on ensuring this framework will provide for good-faith negotiations by all parties and mechanisms to ensure that each and every hard-working journalists benefits from this. while i do not view it as a substitute for more online and address the underlying problem in the market, it's clear we must do something in the short-term to save trustworthy journalism before it's lost forever. this bill is a life support measure, not the answer for ensuring long-term health of the news industry. we need an all of the above approach to save journalism and take on monopoly power. doing nothing is not an option. i'll hear other suggestions to reign in the power of the monopolies. bipartisan agreement from the members of our subcommittee on a number of issues, structural separation preventing self preferencing and interoperability and data operational and insufficient enforcement levels led to waves
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of consolidation and layoffs by digital and print publishers alike. in the absence of a competitive marketplace or congressional action, mass consolidation and widespread layoffs. as the events leading up to the mob attack on the capitol, the stakes are high. our country willñi not survive we do not operate with a shared set of facts. if corruption is not exposed and rooted out at all levels of government and if power is not held to account. as justice lewis wrote in 1927, those who want our independence believe that public discussion is a political duty. that the greatest threat to freedom is an uninformed citizenry. and that the freedom of thought and speech are indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth. this is the very reason the press is called the fourth estate whether an online publisher or local broadcaster, we cannot have a democracy without a free and diverse press. in closing, i look forward to today's hearing and learning
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more from our very distinguished panel of witnesses. i now recognized the distinguished gentleman from colorado the ranking member of this subcommittee mr. buck for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chair. i am pleased to co-sponsor this important legislation with you and i thank you for your focus on bipartisanship. in the 1990s 4% of the world's population used the internet. today that number is nearly 60%. the internet is a tool with incredible opportunities for expanding freedom and democracy in america and around the world. we need to confront the reality that multi-national corporations are sabotaging americans access to information and advancing authoritarian regime efforts to manipulate the internet for oppression. when the internet was first developed democracy was easily recognized. president reagan famously said technology will make it increasingly difficult for the state to control the information its people receive. the goliath of to avo@talitaria
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will be brought down by the david of the microchip. we're now seeing big tech making content related decisions for people around the world, including here in the united states. what content is available to a free citizenry is driven and shaped by the political agendas of these tech corporations, not consumer preferences. we're not seeing a systemic problem with people shutting themselves out of the public discourse as critics feared. instead the tech titans censoring material they disagree with and they are able to do this because they achieved monopoly status in the market. given them the ability to police marketplace of ideas and dictate what consumers can see. this problem is exacerbated by small and medium-market news sources disappearing because monopolies are squeezing them out of the market. companies like google and facebook have decimated small and medium market news sources in 2010, google publicly disclosed how much of the ad
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revenue they shared with publishers. at the time, publishers were earning almost 70% of the revenue fromf8phñhrmxzñrcontent are the ads you see on a publisher's website. in 2020 the association of national advertisers estimated that publishers are only taking home,aé■!u between 30% and 40% ad revenue. that is a huge decrease and we have seen the adverse effects of that change. since 2004 the united states lost approximately 2,100 newspapers which accounts for a quarter of the nation's total. in 2004, there were almost 9,000 newspapers and by the end of 2019, that number dropped to 6,700. more than 200 of the nation's 3,143 counties and parrishes no longer have a local paper and the newsrooms that are closing are in small, rural communities. similarly local radio and tv stations are also disappearing at an alarming rate. study after study shows that americans are more trusting of local news outlets and local reporters and with good reason. there is more diversity of
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viewpoint in a small and medium market outlets. that diversity allows space for more voices and it benefits our democracy. my concerns about the decline in local news outlets are not based on some of othe nustal you for a former era. the robust exchange of ideas has always been important but conservative as they seek to maintain a voice in the public square. many of my colleagues advocate doing nothing in this area because we should just let the market work. from this perspective newspapers and local tv and radio stations dying is just the result of competition in a healthy marketplace. they lean on the idea of creative destruction and darwinian competition. i value the market economic freedom and capitalism and also value freedom of speech and freedom of the press. i want to see these bedrock values preserved for future generations. we're seeing the failures of anti-trust policies at work with big tech. not only controls the news
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market but it also exercises gatekeeper control over speech. all americans should be concerned. we are just starting to see the results of tech titan control over the news and how it does not and it does not bode well for future generations. congress sat idly byes a these platforms became monopmonopolie. we cannot sit by and let them become the public square, too. the arbiters of truth and the wielders of government-like power. these companies track and seek to run our lives through their technologies and algorithms. big tech companies have become digital kings and they represent precisely the kind of political power the anti-trust laws are designed to tackle. this bill is a step in the right direction to dethroing those digital kings. it will give publishers and broadcasters a four-year exemption from the anti-trust laws so they can more effectively bargain with google and facebook. it is not a subsidy for outlets but a leveling of the playing
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field in favor of democracy and free expression. mr. chairman, i also want to make sure that through this legislation we are not creating unintended consequences that will end up harming those we seek to help. for example, we want to make sure that news outlets involved in negotiations are not incentvised to harm the interest of competitor news groups not at the table. likewise, we want to ensure that google is not harming those it hasn't negotiated with by burying them several pages back in search results. conservative outlets like brietbart and hard-earned advertising dollars from google and facebook. the life blood of these outlets earned through hard work and dedicated reporting. mr. chair, i appreciate the opportunity to work together. and i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman, for yielding back. i recognize the ranking of the full committee the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan for his
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opening statements. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to thank you our witnesses for being here today. and i am going to read from a couple of the individuals, mr. travis, mr. greenwall, i read their full statements last night. very compelling testimony and i'll read from part of those because i think they capture what the situation truly is. let me start with mr. travis' written testimony. algorithms are designed by humans and the results are monitored. facebook can make any site soar in popularity or crash their traffic and they can do it in an instant. this is the power of big tech at large. tech billionaires may be soon to be trillionairs have more power than any elected official in the land. facebook mark zuckerberg and apple's tim cook and amazon's jeff bezos have more power than morgan and henry ford ever did in the earliest days of the 20th century. these modern day tech monopolies can pick presidential election winners, control our national debates and decide whose voice
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is heard and not heard and the supreme court no longer decides what the law of the fist amendment is in this great country. these tech executives do in practice big tech controls the country and they control the country by deciding what we see. well said, mr. travis. i mean, if this doesn't underscore why we need to remove the liability protection section 230, i don't know what does. mr. greenwald in the same written testimony and then this about the specific question at hand in the hearing committee today. how congress sets out to address silicon valley's immense and undemocratic power is a complicated question, well, it is. posing complex challenges and the proposal to invest media companies with an anti-trust exception. but empowering large media companies could easily end up creating more problems than it solves. it goes on to say this. further empowering this already
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powerful media industry, which is demonstrated will use its force to silence competitors under quality control runs the real risk of running power from silicon valley to corporate media companies. this last cause is important. or even worse, encouraging some sort of de facto merger in which these two industries pull their power to the mutual benefit of each. we already saw that happen. we saw it happen in last fall's election. both mr. travis and mr. greenwald cite this in the testimony. when they teamed up with big tech to make sure the american people didn't hear about hunter biden story in the weeks leading up to a presidential election. we've already seen them team up against we the people and now we have legislation that's going to give big media this consortium and cartel power. the same time we're looking to use anti-trust law to deal with big tech. we're going to give an
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anti-trust exemption to big media. maybe that's the right course, but i got real questions about that. whether we should move in that direction. so, i look forward to hearing from our witnesses. i want to thank them again for coming. particularly mr. travis who traveled in person and i appreciate his good work and we look forward to hear from each of our witnesses. >> it's now my pleasure to introduce today's witnesses. the president and ceo of the news media alliance. he has served since 2015. spent ten years with the united states chamber of commerce and a number of executive roles including executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief of staff. he is a member of the board of director of the transamerica insurance and serves on the board of trustees at the university of pittsburgh. received his bachelor of art degree from pittsburgh and mba from georgetown university and
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villanova school of law. i would now like to recognize my distinguished colleague and vice chair of this subcommittee to introduce our second witness. i know she does so with incredible pride. you're recognized. >> thank you so much. thank you for this opportunity to welcome mr. brad smith, the president of microsoft and a fellow wash tonnian who has done a tremendous amount our region, our state and country. one of the leading global figures in the technology industry today and testified several times before the united states congress and other governments on policy issues. he joined microsoft in 1993, spending three years leading the legal and corporate affairs team in europe. in 2002, he was named microsoft's general counsel and led the company's work to resolve anti-trust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. i believe that's given him a very unique and valuable
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perspective on the issues of tech and antitrust and the responsibility of the tech industry to work with government on smart regulation that protects competition, innovation and democracy. mr. chairman, i actually believe that that experience is very much part of the reason that microsoft played such a productive role in australia most recently and i know we're going to hear about that more today. before joining microsoft, mr. smith worked as an associate and then partner at the law firm covington and burling and earned his columbia law school and studied international law and economics in geneva, switzerland. mr. smith, i thank you for joining us and also for the tremendous work you do in our state and in our country. i look forward to your testimony today. >> i thank you the lady and i also want to thank mr. smith for his assistance during the course of our investigation. he provided a very valuable briefing to members of the subcommittee during the course
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of our 16-month investigation and, again, thank you for that. our third witness is jonathan a union that represents more than 20,000 journalists and media workers across the united states and canada. before being elected president, he was a graphics and data journalist at the "los angeles times" where he led their unionization efforts in 2018. this marked the first time in the paper's 135-year history that the newsroom had been organized. also served as the online editor at the gazette and weekend host for quaf and an affiliate based in arkansas. received his bachelor's degree from the university of arkansas. our fourth witness emily barr president and ceo of media group. oversees seven local media hubs
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all top markets since 2012. grant media group named station group of the year by broadcasting and cable magazine. spent four decades leading and working in broadcast newrooms. served as president and general manager at abc7 chicago from 1997 through 2012 and wtvd-tv an abc-owned station in raleigh from 1994 to 1997. currently she serves on the boards of both the associated press and television bureau of advertising. the chairman for television for the national association of broadcasters. ms. barr was most recently named 2020 broadcaster of the year by broadcasting and cable. ms. barr received her ba from and master's degree from george university. in 2014 mr. greenwald co-founded
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first look media the intercept, an online publication where he served as an editor. he left the publication in 2020 and currently operates a substack newsletter. mr. greenwald's work was featured by the guardian and salon. he received a number of awards including the park center if stone award for independent journalism in 2018 and the 2010 online journalism award for his coverage of the abusive detention conditions of chelsea manning. awarded the 2014 pulitzer prize for public service. he's written four "new york times" best sellers including "no place to hide." prior to his writing career, mr. greenwald is an active litigator specializing in civil rights and first amendment cases. mr. greenwald received his bachelor degree from george washington university and jd from new york university school of law. clay travis is the founder of
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outkick the coverage of popular sports and entertainment website. he is also the host of "outkick the coverage on fox sports radio" and wins and losses podcast on iheart radio. also a number of books including "on rocky top the front row seat to an end of an era." "how the left is ruining sports with politics." before his media career he was a lawyer working in the u.s. virgin islands and tennessee with a popular personal blog. he ended his legal career in 2006 to focus fulltime on writing and entertainment and editor at dead spin and national columnist. his jd from vanderbilt law school. we welcome all of our distinguishes witnesses and we thank you for your participation in today's hearing. i will begin by swearing in our witnesses.
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i ask our witnesses testifying in person to rise and ask our witnesses remotely to turn on their audio and make sure that we can see your face and your raised right hand while i administer the oath. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief so help you god? >> i do. >> i do. >> let the record show the witness has answered in the affirmative. thank you, you may be seated. please note again to all the witnesses that your written statements will be entered into the record in their entirety and accordingly, i ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes to help you stay within that time frame there is a timing light in webex. when light switches from green to yellow you have one minute to conclude. when the light turns red, it signals your five minutes have expired. begin now by recognizing mr. shavern for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman cicilline and ranking member buck, thank you for
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inviting me to participate in today's hearing. i'm the president and ceo of news media alliance a trade association representing over 2,000 news organizations across the united states. our members range from small, local newspapers to some of the largest news organizations in the world. the news media is and always has been an essential part of our democracy. we are, after all, the only business mentioned in the first amendment. the core function of news media provide global and national issues from covid-19 pandemic to corruption by state officials. their ability to fulfill that role, however, is under threat and congress' help is needed to combat that threat. journalists' commitment to public interest remains the same and advertisers communicate with those consumers has changed dramatically over the years and as the world has moved online, so has our industry.
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our innovations have allowed news media to provide realtime updates on rapidly unfolding stories, such as catastrophic weather events and public health crisis, local journalism has also acted as a clear ant dote to the misinformation impacting communities across the country. fundamentally, our readership is at its highest levels ever. while news organizations continue to invest heavily in generating critically valuable reporting, a few dominant companies in the digital eco system ensure that little value is returned to publishers. the government cannot regulate the news under the first amendment and now two companies in particular, google and facebook, that clearly do regulate us. their algorithms determine when and if news is seen in search results and news feeds. determine how news is presented to readers and collect and control data about our news audiences and they control the systems and markets around digital advertising. these challenges are born of
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dominance and they impact news publishers of every type no matter the form of ownership or ideological. we get pulled into debates about past business models. i'm here to ask a question about the future. do we want professional, local journalism to continue to be available to the public or don't we? because if we maintain our current path, we will see the ultimate destruction of quality local news for most of the public without any rational expectation of alternatives. hope is not a strategy nor the basis for sustainable market for news. we need solutions now. so, what do we need from congress? first and foremost, local news publishers need the ability to collectively negotiate with the major platforms as contemplated by the journalism competition and preservation act. in the face of dominant intermediaries it is
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unconscionable to prevent for working together for their own future and the publishers most in need of collective action are local and community publishers who have no individual capacity to assert their value against the major platforms. experience from around the world has now taught us this might not be enough. as we've seen in europe and australia when pressed, google and facebook will refuse to negotiate, threaten, in some cases actually cut off access to news content and offer limited compensation to limited publishers in an attempt to stall legislation. we should all understand that these actions are in and of themselves fundamental expressions of market dominance. we would suggest the congress continue expansions that includes an oversight mechanism to ensure good-faith negotiations by the platforms that would result in equitable treatment for local and community publishers and then any compensation model reward investments made by publishers
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in journalists and journalism. such a system could be structured in a variety of different ways, but fundamentally it would be a limited and focused response to the challenge of ensuring a future for local journalism. all we're really asking for is a fair chance to fight for our selves and our futures. thank you, again, very much and i look forward to your questions. >> i thank the gentleman for his testimony. the chair now recognizes mr. smith for five minutes for his opening statement. >> thank you, chairman, cicilline, ranking member bunk, other members of the committee. it is a pleasure to be here. thank you, jayapal for that statement. microsoft is a tech company and like every business we have business interests. some steps the subcommittee could take that will make us more challenging in our business. it may make it more costly to do business and other steps this
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subcommittee could take that could help us in our business and yet i have to say what is also obvious is this. the issues before this committee are not about our business or any single business, they are about an issue far bigger than that. they're about the future of journalism in this country. and if one thing is clear, it's this. for almost 250 years, journalism has been a life blood of democracy. and this is a especially true at the local level. local newss critical roles in telling people what their school board is experiencing or exposing corruption in public office but does more than that, too. it tells an entire community about what's going to happen at the county fair or about the high school band or about a church retreat. i think it's really interesting alexis was one of the first tourists, if you will, to visit america. this was in 1835 and after
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visiting community after community he talked about the role that newspapers played in preserving freedom and then he said this. suppose that they serve only to protect freedom is to diminish their importance. they maintain civilization. that is true. the news maintains american civilization. but as you noted, chairman cicilline, the news in america today is not alive and well. almost every american knows from an early age that we are a country of 50 states. but we're also a nation of 3,142 counties. and it is, at the county level and in cities and towns that communities and people live their lives. and yet after the decline, the collapse of more than 2,000 newspapers, we now live in a nation where almost half of our counties are down to one newspaper at best. 1,540 of those counties, 200 of which have no newspaper at all.
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and of everything i have read about the state of journalism in america and its impact, nothing is more impactful to me than the statement of a citizen in florida who talked about what had happened after they had lost their local newspaper and he said after several years without a strong, local voice, our community does not know it fl is. how do we maintain civilization and how do we protect democracy if our communities no longer know themselves? that is the issue. we all know how this step happened, it is because of technology. technology that in so many ways including from my own company we believe has done so many good things for the country and the world. and yet it's also perfectly clear that what was previously advertising revenue for newspapers has, instead, moved to advertising revenue for tech companies. and, in fact, well, what we've seen is the decline in
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advertising revenue for newspapers fall from $48 billion to $14 billion. that is a deep hole that no one has been able to make up. so, what do we do? that is the question of the day and i'll offer three thoughts. first, i think that you all are on the right path. that's why microsoft is endorsing the journalism competition and protection act, the japca. give news organization the ability to negotiate collectively including with microsoft because as presently drafted we will be subject to its terms. second, i think it's good to consider additional ideas including ideas that we've worked with recently first hand in australia. ideas that would impose on tech companies and obligation to bargain in good faith to avoid retaliation and to be transparent about thire practices. these are worthy of competition and consideration by the antitrust subcommittee.
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finally, i hope that the subcommittee will continue its work to think more broadly about the fundamental lack of competition, especially in search and digital advertising that are at the heart of not just the decline in journalism, but the decline in challenge in many sectors of the economy. that, too, is worthy of consideration when it comes to potential new legislation. in short, the issues are big, the needs are urgent, the time is now and we welcome the opportunity to be part of this. thank you. >> thank you, mr. smith. really grateful for your testimony. i now recognize for five minutes. >> chairman cicilline, ranking member buck and members of the committee, thank you for having me today. i'm here to tell you about the extinction level event workers are facing in the news industry. we're the largest level of journalists in the united states with thousands of news members
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at "washington post" and "new york times" and also small ones like the "billings gazette." we're part of the larger union and the communication workers of america. i grew up in rural south arkansas and i remember as a kid my grandmother got two newspapers every day. in the morning she got the arkansas gazette. fast forward to my first full-time job in the industry which ended up being at the "arkansas democratic gazette" in computer programming and journalism and i fused my skills to go from printed newspapers to better news online. two months into my job the head of the company pulled everyone into a room and told us that we were merging with our competing newspaper. within a couple months, hundreds of people lost their jobs. i remember seeing reporters, mothers and fathers crying in offices not knowing what their futures were going to look like. that was a quick introduction
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into the radical shift in the news industry. that's been my life and the life of so many journalists across our country. cuts, consolidation and local news sources getting bought out and gutted. at that time, i was told that for every dollar that that newspaper brought in, 90 cents of it came from advertising, print advertiadvertising. today things are radically different. in the last 16 years 2,100 newsroom across the country shut down and half as many journalists working today as there were a decade ago. 36,000 journalists no longer working in cities and towns across the united states, not covering city council meetings and not covering school boards and not providing communities a voice. the pandemic and widespread economic pain has sped up and 90 cents the newspapers used to earn is gone, too, as print revenue is dried up and digital advertising is ranked in by almost two companies, google and
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facebook. resulting from the dominant position left many newsrooms in a weakened financial condition and take over by predatory financial actors who don't care about local news. they only care about cash extraction and cutting local staff. what's left is ghost newspapers or no news coverage at all and hedge funds are gutting people off from knowing what is happening in their communities and eroding our democracy. gobbled up local newspapers and gutted them. st. paul pioneer press and the orange county register. 12 publications where we have data cut staff by 75% since 2012, faster than the already devastating industry decline. the journalism competition and preservation act accurately identifies the problem of power of facebook and google and recognizing the core power imbalance between them.
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google and facebook benefit and they use that traffic to sell ads capturing a majority of the digital ad revenue. the company should pay their fair share when benefiting from news stories, however because many shareholders put profit we need enforceable requirements to make sure additional revenue is tied to local news jobs. we recommend that at least 60% of any ad generated be dedicated to new jobs and, further, we experienced a wave of unionization the last three years that thousands of workers organizing to protect their jobs and publications. any organization receiving additional revenue must be required to bargain in good faith and remain neutral when workers want to unionize a union. because the industries so consolidated even in the past five years companies own one-third of america's daily newspapers and half of all
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newspaper circulation. in addition to taking on the tech platform predatory behavior, we must also address the attacks on local news by passing the stop wall street looting act. the crisis in local news is a crisis of democracy. congress needs to use its power to respond to the crisis for the good of our country. thank you. >> thank you, mr. schleuss and i apologize for the mispronunciation. i won't get that wrong again. i now recognize ms. barr for five minutes. >> good morning, chairman cicilline, and ranking member buck and members of the subcommittee. my name is emily barr and president and ceo of grant media group. i appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the national association of broadcasters and its nearly 7,200 free and local television station members in your hometowns. broadcasters represent one of the last truly local unbiassed journalism. information that is still respected by all americans. your constituents turn to their
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local reporters and anchors for voices they trust. legislative action including swift passage is needed to preserve this essential cornerstone of our democracy. this past year challenged us in a mared i of ways but the isolation. local television and radio stations provided the bond for communities we serve doing incredible work in the face of our own enormous challenges. we continue to be the primary source of the community focused information on which your constituents have relied during this pandemic. how do i keep my family safe? when and where can i get vaccinated? when can my children safely go back to school? these are the questions we help our viewers and listeners navigate every day. this tested our democracy and the very pillars upon which stands, including a free and diverse press. due in large part to the misinformation circulating unchecked in the digital eco
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system more and more americans have lost faith in the information reaching their eyes and ears. fortunately, local broadcasters remain a touchstone for the truth and the most trusted sources of information in the country. i am proud the grand media statement exemplify this commitment to media and truth. floridians who were recently shutout by the state's failed unemployment system do what americans do when there is no one else to turn. they turned to their local broadcaster. they shined a light on that and the pressure to put nearly a million dollars of unpaid benefits back into the hands of . working from the newsroom to the boardroom and i understand the significant cost of producing quality journalism, but quality journalism delivered through our uniquely free service has been made through advertising revenues. as you all are aware, these have experienced a freefall in recent
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years due almost exclusively to the rapid often anticompetitive expansion of the dominant online platforms. the market power of the tech platforms undermines the online advertising model for local broadcast journalism in two important ways. first the tech nkyk
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opportunity to appear before you today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ms barr for your testimony. i now recognize mr. greenwald for five minutes. >> good morning, chairman cicilline and ranking these hea. i'm glenn greenwald and the work that i have been doing for the last 25 years, and for the last 15 years as a journalist, somebody who has done much investigative reporting that has provokes the ire of many governments around the world. who co-founded a media outlet and helped to grow it. and as a cofounder of the freedom of the press foundation
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defending the rights of journalists to be free i have a deep and long standing interest in the issue ises in this sub committee. particularly with the october report in documenting the menace that the silicon valley monopoly power has for our political life and other sectors of our life and i aagree about the serious problem of particularly local news joet lets failing because of their inability to find a financial model to sustain themselves in this climate. i have concerns about the proposed solution spending before the sub committee. if you look at the last five or sixth months i believe strongly that the problem of silicon's
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monopoly power, three incidents in particular that i define and describe in my opening statement, one being what congressman jordan referred to as the sensorship of what turned out to be completely accurate reporting based on authentic and genuine documents broken by the new york post about the front running presidential candidate in the weeks leading up to the election by twitter simply banning any discussion of that story and locking that newspaper out of it's account unless they agreed to delete all drinks to it's reporting. it was an exteamly disturbing example of the inability for them to interfere with our elections. the same was the united states supported by the united states condemned by world leaders
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including many who have adversarial relationships. the president of mexico, french eu officials on the grounds that tech giants are posing a threat to american democracy and to world democracy. the concern that i have is that we often talk about the relationship between journalists and the media industry and tech giants on the other as a predator and prey relationship. but often times that is not the case. if you look at the most serious and disturbing instances of tech sensorship in the past six to 12 months one would expect based on the traditional model to uphold the values referred to as a free and diverse press to condemn and oppose that kind of sensorship and the opposite happens. often times they were not only
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supporters of it after the fact but leading proponents of it after hand. or competitors to the organizations. and i'm concerned in particular that by empowering a news media that believes not in a free press that they can use this new power to impose values of sensorship, of silencing news joutt lets, and i'm particularly worried that we have a news media that is becoming itself increasingly concentrated. this sub committee issues a report filled with promising and i think important solutions to the problem of monopolistic
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power. i'm concerned if there is a piecemeal approach, it could fore stall the opportunities to get to the root of the problem concerning people across the spectrum which is the need to apply antitrust laws to growing monopo monopolies. so i hope the committee continues on it's outstanding report. >> the gentleman yields back and i recognize mr. travis. >> members of the sub committee, i appreciate you having us all here today to talk about an incredibly important subject that impacts all of us. nearly ten years ago i started my own company having no idea what direction media was going to move. that company is now one of the largest sports and opinion independent websites in the
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country. we had a great deal of success. i also host a daily sports talk radio show. all 50 states, 300 plus stations, and on august the 11th, president the of the united states came on my radio program. he came on because he wanted to talk about the need for college football e and college sports. not particularly partisan. we talked about the in, ba and sports as the nation experiences sports. the day after the president came on my radio show we covered that day, august the 22th, the stories that came out of that interview. aggressively, as anyone would that had the president of the united states on their radio show. the day after that interview facebook tanked our traffic. the data in the appendixes that
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we attached for you, facebook removed 68% of our audience. 76% of our new users. that cost my company hundreds of thousands of dollars. to me, it was clear content based speech discrimination. mb didn't like that we had the president of the united states on our radio program and they also didn't like that the majority of the coverage of that interview was positive. which, as a sports fan, it is hard to be negative when the favor of the president is aligned with games actually being played. that, to me, is an interesting anecdote into the overwhelming power that we have given to the big tech companies in this country. it doesn't stop there, either. there is an interesting thing that happened to us just in the
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last couple of weeks. some of you may have read an editorial in the wall street journal by a man who is a johns hopkins doctor, highly qualified. his opinion on the editorial page of "the wall street journal" was that based on the current rate of vaccination and the number of people already exposed, it was likely that herd immunity by the end of april would be reached in this country. some agree with that, certainly some disagree with that opinion. we wrote about that editorial opinion on our website. the article was not in any way complicated or difficult. our headline was straightforward. herd immunity will be here by april. we published that on facebook within a matter of days we
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received a notification from facebook with the downwright orwellian subject. they said we're not allowed to share the opinion of a doctor on our website because they said it was a fact check inaccuracy. it was, members of the sub committee, an opinion. an opinion of a reasoned and well learned doctor. that is what the scientific method is. we argue about what the truth is with an idea that we reach a better conclusion. facebook's own fact checkers label our article about an opinion to be incontradict which is an impossibility. who checks the fact checkers.
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our traffic declined by 80% once face found this violation. we would all be concerned if the president of the united states was making these decisions. my concern is all of the big tech companies now have the same power that china has to regulate the internet in it's country instead of the government doing it we allowed big tech to do it. i thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony, we will now proceed under the five minute rule and i will start by recognizing mr. nagoose for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. can you hear me? >> yes, we can. >> okay, great b with thank you, mr. chairman and chairman nadler for this timely hearing.
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i want to thank you for your leadership in this area. colorado, the state that i represent, congress is all too familiar with the closure of news outlets. it is affectionately called that since they joined the union. in the last ten years we have gone from having two legacy newspapers, upwards of 500 journalists covering local and national issues to one legacy newspaper with roughly 70 journalists on staff. the reason that concerns are compelling is because local journal i'm and it democracy go hand in hand. they are not informed on their communities and their leaders. so i want to thank each of the witnesses for being here and for
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their thoughtful testimony. i want to start with a question that is relevant to my state. as i mentioned in colorado, the denver post, i went through with the massive layoffs and budget cuts, they were acquired by a hedge fund. one mentioned that the post add 70 people covering a metro area of about three million people. is this situation unique to the denver post? and can you provide the committee with more context on how the aggressive squeeze on ad revenues spurs predatory behavior? >> absolutely. we have seen, you know, as a shift from revenue for a lot of local papers, getting a majority of revenue from print advertising and less and less as digital platforms take that up,
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it is allowing large private equity groups who have been -- not just the denver post, but other places with members. the san jose mercury news. the st. paul pion near press. the goal for a lot of them is to get profit margins up to a point that is not sustainable. get them up to 16%, 20%, getting rid of any assets. selling off real estate. cutting staff as much as possible. right now they're in the process of trying to acquire another large publisher. and it has about a dozen newpapers. they just want to get profits up as high as possible. >> thank you, a follow up question. what legislative proposals do
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you think this committee ought to consider to help mitigate against some of these predatory practices? >> i think looking at just even the requested of the takeovers and mergers, right? we're at a point where the industry is super consolidated. so looking at any potential mergers, finds ways to create legislation that will look at how it will affect local jobs and economy. when we lose local news outlets, in blue or red districts, taxes go up, corruption goes up, and partisanship goes up as people have fewer and fewer outlets for facts. another thing is provide incentives. get hedge funds out. we want sustainable community accountable local news.
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>> thank you, and with that, again, i would say that i think the chairman and also the ranking member for their member on this important issue, and i look forward to working with both of them on this front and with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, i recognize mr. buck. >> i ask the chair to recognize mr. gates and i will ask questions at the end if that is okay. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as usual your approach to how americans react with these platforms continues to be bipartisan and thoughtful and i thank you for that. i am a co-sponsor of the jcpa, but after hearing some of the testimony, i'm wondering whether or not i should be. not every failure of every local news entity is a failure of democracy. sometimes it's just bad news. sometimes 3xke people that work in local journalism are creating
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unsubstantiated click bait. we cannot view it that way. mr. greenwald. i have some questions for you and i will confess at the beginning that you once said i have the worst ideology in congress, i'm a ravenous consumer of your content. i find it very thought provokes, i read you on sub stack frequently. i want to go into one of the elements of your testimony where you talked about the potential for the jcpa to create a stratification within media. where you create more distance between the large media conglomerates and then maybe those smaller more independent sites also creating good news. are you worried that by trying to remedy the monopolies in big tech we create greater challenges in the monopolies of
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big media and make it harder for independent gritty journalism to survive? >> i do worry about that quite a bit. if you listen to many people speak quite accurately about the state of the news industry today and what we're hearing is not an idolized or romanticized picture. but having a disbursed power through the industry, but a very concentrated industry very similar, in fact, to silicon valley. such that if you do that, you could very well be essentially accelerating some of the worse
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industry trends saying that media giants that exert overwhelming power can further entrench their power through the negotiating force that is anti-trust in a way that i'm concerned will exacerbate the problem that they correctly identify as a problem but also fore stall the longer term solutions of dealing with silicon valley monopolistic power that is at the root of all of the problems. >> and in that regard you seem to agree with the fundamental premise. and as a result of the intercept not liking some of your criticism of the political left you had to leave the entity, you go to sub stack and now even as sub stack there are efforts under way to cancel and censor journalists critical of other
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journalists. if the remedy that mr. sicilini, what do you offer to get at the core problem. >> the concern is that the discussion seems grounded that the primary problem with local and national journalism is that they're vacuuming up advertising revenue and if you fix that problem the problem of media failure will be rectified as well, but i don't think that is true. i think there is reasons why consumers have turned away from journalism. i think we can look at why journalism failed to many people and why people don't trust it and put their faith in it. and i believe the problem that the silicon valley monopolistic power and the ability to interfere in our politics and to
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feed a free press is very serious but often times it is the media itself, it's journalists themselves that could undermine the press. so i think the problem that the sub committee identified in that report is addressed head on which is breaking up the monopoly powers of the industry, none of the problems will really be fixed and often times the piecemeal solutions can make that worse. >> thank you for that thoughtful feedback. i will submit my additional questions. >> thank you, i think people should understand that consumers have not turned away from journalism, they're consuming it at a higher rate than ever before and the bill that we put forward provides a temporary fix
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for a 48 month period and anything that these larger media companies negotiate is available to the smallest rural newpaper in any city and town in america. i think the bill responds to that and with respect to the largest challenges the committee intends to be very active on all of the solutions in our report. we're not going to do either or, but we're going to do both. with that i recognize the distinguished gentleman mr. jones for five minutes. >> thank you for your leadership on this issue. thank you for all of our witnesses for the testimony this morning. i'm glad that we have a bill before us with such strong bipartisan support. since today's hearing is about saving free and diverse press, i want to center a topic that we
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have not heard enough about thus far and that is the importance of journalism by and form -- for communities of color. that means public skagss like black west chester. and that is providing a platform for communities of color. that is especially important in west chester county that has a long history of housing discrimination and remains under a federal consent decree to desegregate it's neighborhoods. in west chester the mortality rate is four times higher than for white infants. and police arrest 15 times more black people for cannabis possession than white people even though black and white people use the drug equally. all too often, westchester
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officials were not reaching communities of color. today black westchester helps bridge that gap. that's why they have always been available online for free. if they put up a pay wall they would exclude the very people they're working to serve. so they depend on advertising. but lately that ad revenue is harder and harder to come by. the challenging financial conditions that black westchester is confronting are typical of the conditions that similar are confronting throughout the country. now the committee's 2020 majority staff report is clear. facebook and google wield monopoly power over digital advertising. because of the freedom and diversity of the press and the future of our democracy. two big tech companies should not have the power to decide whether and how black voices are
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heard. independent free and diverse press like us how do we survive? so since you mentioned this in your written testimony, how would the competition and preservation act help local publications for people of other marginalized communities? >> so i think what we're putting forward would help go in that direction. that is a huge problem that we have and one of the major issues that folks folks organize around. the communities don't look like the demographics they serve. so i think one of the things that congress needs to focus on is making sure that there are ways for nonprofit support for communities of color.
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it goes back to where you have a big city, and that they're giving the community a voice. >> and finally, if the fundamental problem of facebook and google are their monopoly power, shouldn't all of the options be on the table including breaking them up? >> certainly for the judicial actions on antitrust, but a couple things, those actions take a very long time, right? many of the trials do do not start for years. the once most in need are publishers of color who are suffering deeply in this broken
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marketplace for real, quality journalism. it is critically important, it is more popular than ever, but the system itself is not rewarding it and this is not just a question of where the ad dollars go. so if we want diverse voices of every perspective we need a market that works and that it sustains forces. this is most particularly a problem for small and community publishers of every type. >> thank you, and mr. chairman i yield back. >> i now recognize the gentleman from california, mr. isa, for five minutes. >> thank you for holding this hearing. i think it gives us a look at a clear and pervasive problem. i have not signed on to this particular solution and i have a lot of questions. probably most notable is why is
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this not a joint hearing with the intellectual property. we're talking about negotiating over one organizations statutory property and finding a solution, but never the less, i would like to talk primarily to the two witnesses here in person. i'm going to try to make this rapid. mr. travis, i'm sorry. >> i have been confused for worse, trust me. >> thank you. >> have you ever read atlas rug or fountain head? >> a long time ago, yes. >> parts of it a long time ago, yes. >> i was listening to the witnesses, and i heard quite frankly exactly that. rather than the courts deciding an antitrust problem and solution i heard government
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saying and in the case of i think media and the news guild, they said we need to take an industry that is losing and give them money from an try that is winning. did anyone hear anything differently here? i would say while there might be an almost of that, it may change. there is changing in competition that can and rightly should be addressed through anti-trust law, and we're not talking about just any industry. >> and i appreciate that, but you know one of my challenges is, in fact, that all of the way back with iran we were taught a lesson which is that when government starts to pick
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winners and losers there is no end in sight. and that is one of my concerns here is are we picking winners and losers? and i think we clearly are. there is no question at all that these companies own their property and we may want to give them additional rights to protect that property. and mr. smith i will pose a question to you. currently if google searches your copy rights, do you have any objection, do you need to monetize any of your material that they go through and create searches for. i'm talking about microsoft's own copyrighted material. >> look, we're not in the news business. i don't think that, you know, what is true for us is all that
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relevant. >> let's go through the news for a moment and stick to news for a moment. in 1982 the cleveland press went out of business and cleveland wentt from two daily newspapers to one it is that because of the newspapers as far as you know? >> no. >> were they diminishing and con sal dating throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s? >> i think to a large extent that is true. when you look and the broader question is a good one. can you create anti-trust issues by creating anti-trust for others. it seems to me to be a really, i
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understand the intent, and i think it is a good one, but it seems to me to be an inherent difficulty. >> let me just ask the question, the l.a. times, the washington post, did any of those organizations put something out in print that was not true or choose not to print things that are not true? >> yes, so we're not talking about a difference in the case of facebook, google, or the others. we're talking about who did it in the 18th and 19th century with impunity and who may be doing it today because of it's market power, is that true? >> if the witness wants to answer quickly you may do so.
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we're nom talking about when or who did it, i would say we're talking about who it applies to. >> thank you, mr. chairman. towards the end of his life, walter cronkite said i think it is absolutely essential in a democracy to have competition in the media. a lot of competition. and we seem to be moving away from that. over a decade since his death we can agree that his warning was an extreme under statement. the harm of anti-competitive platforms, like facebook and google, feel very abstract. local investigative journalist can root out corruption, bring
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attention to issues that matter in our communities, but that don't and will never attract national attention. in the three years since the shooting at marjorie stoneman douglas. but local outlets were investigating the failures that contribute to that awful day. and our community has worked in our shared grief to keep alive the memory of the 17 we lost that day. they're hobbies, they're characters, and it is other local news media that has been an important part of telling the stories and demanding accountability. on the other happened, facebook, google, other technology platforms played a role in spreads misinformation and conspiracy theories about the tragic event that day and others. i asked google, facebook, twitter, i asked why they keep
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giving not just a platform, but a mega phone to people who spread lies about the shooting in my district. the people who target children, the survivors, their families. and we need more responsible, high quality journalism and fewer monetized mega phones that some use to attempt to destroy lies. how do we rebalance the scale? what are the main deponents of making online platforms take more responsibility for the content they carry and the leveling of the playing field that publishers and online platforms so that high quality content gets elevated over conspiracies and misinformation. >> thank you very much, congressman. i agree with you by the way. we want competition in the news media. but we currently have a market that suppresses it and makes it impossible to develop new and competitive voices. if you were going to build a new
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engine in local news, your fating a marketplace that suppresses the value of that content and makes it impossible to have new entrants. secondly to your point, i talked in other context about the role that section 230 plays in the eco system and in particular the platform's role in amplifying content. the choices that the platforms make to decide what gets seen and what doesn't get seen. too often i think the discussion is about whether or not a particular piece of content should be labelled, moderated, or taken down. that is about the responsibilities they should have about the choices they make. so i would say two things. one, we need a fair capacity for news publishers to improve the market for use content and we have to look at the responsibilities that the
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platform should have for their decisions about amplifying content. >> thank you. mrs. barr, i mentioned the harm to communities and individuals, but you raised a good question about the placement of responsible responsible journalism. >>. >> thank you, we put our stories online and i can tell you that 60% to 70% of what we put out there is referred back to his by google or facebook. so when they sit online, they might be misinformation or lies, click bait, it literally diminishes our reputation and makes people have distrust. we spend a lot of time tries to
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ensure that our viewers understand that we have trained journalists. we know what we're trying to say and we have to go back and look at the stories that are incorrect and make sure they understand that those are not, you know, are not believable. but it's really difficult because as we all know a lie goes around the world very quickly. >> thank you, and mr. chairman thank you for holding this important hearing. thank you to all of the witnesses. the testimony of every one of you is very helpful and instructive. >> thank you, mr. chair and thank you for this meeting. this question is for mr. green wald. it has been said about the newspaper preservation act that it was failing to prevent abusive tactics.
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help the smaller papers, and doing little to involve the quality and opinions of the papers. can you tell me the difference between the press vags act and the bill that we're discussing today? >>. >> i think this goes to the comment that squarm betweeny made about how more and more people are consuming news than ever before. if you ask people in the news industry virtually everyone will acknowledge that the reason for that is that of what was essentially a sugar high of the last four years being one of the most polarized areas in history. and prior to that there was a significant decline in the number of people who were
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trusting and consuing news content. people were talking about the "new york times" going out of business. it was a kind of temporary event that intervened to save the news industry and that sugar high is now gone. if you look at data, there is no question that more and more people, more than ever before, distrust the media precisely because some of the disinformation, conspiracy theories, and falsehoods come from because they're acting as a consortium. >> thank you. i'm not sure i heard an answer to my question there but i'm going to go to mr. smith. mr. smith it has been reported that you were involved in the discussions with officials in august trail ya what were your take aways that you think might
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be more relevant. >> thank you, i think there is some important take aways. and i actually go back to what mr. isa asked. basically it was an issue similar to the united states. the reason that publishers cannot negotiate collectively is because of laws passed by congress. the clayton act and the fair trade commission act. so what australia did is give the publishers the ability to negotiate collectively. and so that is what this congress would do. it would, going back to your point, by passing the jcpa, not pick someone new, but address the consequences of what congress did in the past when it crafted anti-trust laws that got in the way of the elective negotiations. the other thing that i think is very interesting and relevant is
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is that the big publishers are not interested in negotiating collectively. it is the small publishers that are negotiating. and i believe if they passed the jcpa, they would find that here as well. >> thank you, i yield the balance of my time to mr. isa. >> thank you, i would like to follow up, let's presume for a moment that we like this bill and we're going to pass it. is there any reason that you would not limit the collectives to companies that would be under a certain size. because the wall street journal
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would say we have that handled. >> i think there is two alternatives do address that. you can could craft a publication below a certain threshold. i think you're accomplishing what you believe is your fundamental goal. to enable the small publications of the country to be able to negotiate collectively. >> there is no smaller business in most cases than a recording artist -- >> the time of the gentleman will have -- >> maybe someone else can yield their time. but your time is expired. >> i know recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. jeffreys, for five minutes. >> thank you for yielding and for your leadership on this issue along with the distinguished gentleman from
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colorado, the ranking member. it was once observed that in america we can democracy or wealth concentrated in the hands of very few. i think it is fair to say that it also seems to me to be the case that in america we can have democracy or we can have the emasculation of the free and fair press, particularly at the local level. but we can't have both. as the framers crafted this republic, and clearly it is not a perfect union. we're on the march toward a more perfect union, they never promised a perfect country. but they clearly understood the connectivity between the free and fair press, our democracy, liberty, and the republic that they were building. there is a reason why the
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freedom of the press is in the first amendment. i appreciate this hearing and the importance of it to our democracy. it seems to be an existential academy. you testified that the market power under mines the online advertising model for local broadcast journalism. can you elaborate on that particular point? i think it is not that technology has challenged and you can no longer receive revenue from traditional print publications, it's that even in the context of shifting to the digital platform the current construct undermines ability to secure revenue.
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a lot of our television has shifted to usership online. and while we have more people accessing us online, the value of the advertising that we received back online is a fraction of what we have lost on the television side. so we're spending a considerable more amount of money to support what goes online, not just taking 6:00 news and putting it online, we're creating new content and we're doing it at great cost. so as a result we are just spending more to get less. >> thank you, mr. smith. this could in some ways impact your business model in an
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adverse fashion. so i'minterested in why your company has taken this position and how it affects the free and fair flow of congress. >> i think it is clear in the definitions that news organizations that have the right to negotiate collective will with microsoft. we meet the threshold of having more than a billion users per month. we do business with news publishers today. we have an app, a service, we do business with hundreds of publishers are and we serve that to millions and millions of people and we share revenue. organizations could negotiate collectively with us. i assume they will negotiate
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effectively with us. but the reality of what we're talking about here, and i thought you captured it perfectly, is far bigger than us, it is far bigger than technology, it is more important than any of the products that any of us produce today, and let's hope that if a century from now people are not using iphones or laptops or anything that we have today, journalism itself is still alive and well. because our democracy depends on it. >> the gentleman yields back and i recognize the ranking member mr. jordan from ohio. >> i slightly disagree. what our democracy depends on is the first amendment. mr. travis at the end of your statement you said i'm a first amendment absolutist, and i
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believe that cancel culture and politics is the greatest threat to our country. do you have free speech when big tech decides what can be seen? >> not at all. >> not at all and i think that is the major issue that our country is facing today. >> and more important, it's the first amendment, the right to speak in a political nature. and not be sensored for speaking out in a political fashion, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> they said in this opening statement that this bill would have high quality professional journalism. >> who gets to decide? >> i think that is a big challenge. determining what is and what is not high quality journalism. some of the most high quality that we have seen over the years has ended up not being true. that is why we need such a row
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pus first amendment in general so our battles, the marketplace of ideas, is not being artificially constrained. >> the market is supposed to not decide, the first amendment decides, that, correct? >> i think so, yes, sir. >> you said who fact checks the fact checkers? >> in my example, facebook has kicked two things. the second one as i said was pretty straightforward, we linked to a wall street journal editorial from a high end medical scientist. both were flagged, we lost hundreds of thousands in revenue. there was no appeals process,
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they don't even bother responding to us. >> isn't it supposed to be the first amendment that also fact checks, right? more speech, right? the number of democrats saying if there is "misinformation or disinformation the answer is not to squelch that, it is to have more of that. >> yes, and also the entire basis for the marketplace of why ideas. >> do you think "the london times" thought thomas payne was a high quality journalist. >> what i can say is that i represent a vast array of points of view in my membership. every one has a problem with
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theircontest. >> i'm all for doing 230 something. we could repeal 230, we could do that right now. we have introduced that legislation. i'm all for doing that. what i'm nervous about is the alliance that we talked about. i also want to go to mr. greenwald and talk about the alliance between big tech and big government. big tech and big government in your statement, you said near the end of it a mere two months after parler ascended to the top of the charts, they said they needed to remove any further downloading of the app. we have seen maybe a better example. a few weeks ago we saw two democrats send a letter to at&t saying take certain networks off, and i want to read
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something to get your reaction to this. mr. travis said we would all be rightly concerns if government was censoring speech and not big tech. big government is censoring two. two democrats said we want a specific answer to this question. how many of your subscribered tuned in on uverse, at&t, please specify the number of subscribers that tune into each channel. tell us who your customers are, how many you have, and what they're watching. do you find that creepy and frightening like i do? >> the time of the gentleman as expired but the witness may answer the question briefly. >> it goes to the heart of the concern that i have which is a huge mismatch between the
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rhetoric, what the bill does, if it is the failure of local news papers, it gives them the power to renegotiate collectively. it is so often em bided. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. i now recognize mr. raskin. >> in the district that i represent we lost a ton of local newspapers in montgomery, frederick, carol county. i remember when i got to annapolis there was four reporters from "the washington post." one covered the state house, the state senate, the collective, and one covered the state courts. and that creates a serious problem in terms of transparency and integrity. and corruption, so this goes right to the heart of why we
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have a first amendment. it's all about self-government and making sure people understand what government is doing. if we pass the acceleration there a hope of reviving local papers are or we trying to arrest the erosion in the number of entities that exist right now? >> relive. revive. the audience for that is bigger than ever. the engagement is intense. an industry that has many, many more readers than it ever did in whatever the golden print era was. but the finances are much, much worse. and the reason why that is it that the digital intermediaries, google and facebook in particular that stand between us and our audience take that value and that has to be addressed. >> some colleagues have been railing about what they call cancel culture. i just made a quick list that
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people, right-wing conservatives trying to centure. liz cheney, they tried to kick off of her chairmanship. nbc, acorn, samantha b. dixie chicks, cathy griffin, nike, pepsi, climate change, science-based, numerous government agencies, documents, starbucks, on and on. do you find that the cancel culture is limited to one side of the political or do you think
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something else has revved up this? >> i come at this for people that have created the best journalism out there. we have a system that devalues that and constrains our good position. >> first, can you tell us how your quasi-monopoly power to negotiate with non-organized media powers gives you a bargaining advantage. and if we pass this is this a transitory and transitional problem or systemic and
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structural? do we need something like this going forward indefinitely? >> first i focus frankly more on the needs of the smaller publishers. if you're part of the local county based organizations i think it is easier to have someone to negotiate collectively on your behalf. you know i just think you're going to enable them to pursue the kintts of agreements whether or not it is with us or others more eeszly and effectively. >> and there is a provision in the legislation that says that it has to benefit the entire industry rather than a few publishers, and it has to be nondiscriminatory with respect to other publishers. >> i think that is helpful, and i think it is important and good for you to point out, i would also add in response to your
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earlier question, i don't think that anyone really thinks that this one thing is a panacea. i agree that there are other issues, and this is not a problem that governmental loans can solve. they need to continue to evolve, and tech companies like my own will need to continue to find new creative ways so that journalism and technology can find a way to flourish together in a way that is not happening yet. >> do we have unanimous consent? >> oh, sure. >> the gentleman is recognized for unanimous consent, entering an article from breitbart. >> we now recognize mr. stube for five minutes. >> thank you after years of allowing false information about
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president trump and the collusion we saw perpetrating that we saw, they decided to ban legitimate content about hunter biden. and at the same time the washington post and the new york times have not been the best fact checkers. a concern of mine is that we will end up allowing a different set of actors to do the same thing. my questions are for mr. travis and mr. greenwald. how can we tackle this to promote free speech and not suppress ideas out of favor with elites in this country? >> i think it is one of the most fundamental issues of american society today. how do you determine what stories are able to be shared and what stories are able not to be shared? frankly i don't consider it
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partisan at all that when the "new york post" has it's twitter account shut down because of the news story they're putting out, and all of big tech corresponds in conjunction together, that is the very definition to me of anti-trust action. i wrote in my testimony and i wanted to just hit it. think about how crazy it is that all of the tech companies in co you agree or disagree, and i come to this from a completely non-partisan issue, whether you agree or disagree with what the president of the united states at the time donald trump was doing on social media, everyone out there should be terrified of how quickly everyone shut him down. listen to this. in january of this year, facebook, twitter, google, spotify, snapchat, ingram, shopify, reddit, twitch, youtube, tiktok and pinterest
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all either banned or restricted the democratically elected president of the united states from speaking to the country on their platforms. right now donald trump may be the focus, but big tech has set the precedent that if they want to shut anyone down, even the most powerful person in all of democracy can be shut down. so how do you regulate the power that big tech has grabbed? i think the question that you're asking is probably the most central and important question that confronts our country today because trump will not be the last figure to have this happen to him. that's my concern. >> that's a great point you bring out. mr. greenwald, do you want to add anything to that? >> just briefly that there are representatives of my industry, my profession here with me testifying and often what we hear is well, we're professional journalists. we're here to combat disinformation and ensure free
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and diverse viewpoints that are aired, but so often the reverse is true. if you look, for example, at what happened in that hunter biden banning by twitter and facebook, the argument that was -- that was advanced by those companies to justify it was that the materials reported by the "the new york post" were, quote, russian disinformation. that came from news media outlets saying that and everyone now knows that that is untrue. even the fbi acknowledges that russia played no role in that and that the documents were genuine. so often the most damaging conspiracy theories and disinformation come from the most prestigious news outlets, obviously the most destructive case being the claims that were made that led to the country to invade iraq, and so i think that the concern i have is that if we adopt this narrative that the reason media outlets is failing is only because of google and facebook, we allow this industry that needs so much self-examination to essentially be off the hook and if you allow
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the biggest players, the "new york times," jeff bezos' "washington post" to be at that table and give them an antitrust exemption you're essentially creating two consortus instead of eliminating the one at the root of all of the problems. >> well, and i personally believe that until we address section 230 reforms and liability protection reforms that these companies have, that we're never going to see a change in the behavior because if we simply just split up the companies, they are still going to act an behave in the manner in which they have it because they have liability protection to do that. i would encourage me and my democratic colleagues on this committee if you want to work together on this issue. i have a bill and would love to sit down and talk with you. i would love to sit down. >> the tech gentleman's time has expired. >> oh, yeah, he has six seconds. >> if i could have the back the nine of when i said it. >> he hasn't yielded it so the time is now expired. >> i thank the gentleman. >> i mean, if you have a quick
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point. >> i'm trying to be fair. >> i wanted to add to his question very briefly for mr. greenwald, if we have collective negotiations for -- >> i'm sorry, i'm not going to lit ask another question. 18 minutes beyond the time. maybe someone will have an opportunity to yield to you. i now recognize -- >> chairman, if i could inquire from the chairman. >> yes. >> within your legislation, is would bloggers and other people who view themselves as journalists be included in this legislation. >> i'll have a conversation with you offline. we have miss jayapal. it's her time. she's recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, this is such an important hearing on the consequences of nailing to protect our background of our democracy, our free and independent press. in seattle we're very fortunate even though we've lost many of our newspapers, we do have one of the few remaining family-owned newspapers in the country and they have taken the leadership and creation of a new national initiative called save the free press, but even for the
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larger newspaper for "the seattle times" the struggle to compete against big tech is serious from a loss of ad revenue, the forced provisions that tech platforms impose on them and the co-opting of locally produced news content with little to no compensation by big tech news aggregators. mr. smith, you've departed from some of your tech leader colleagues in not only saying that government must play a role in regulating big tech but then actually holding to that. in fact, i remember during our hearing with the four ceos last year several of them said that they welcomed government regulation, but let's talk about what just happened in australia when the government passed a law to require big tech platforms to negotiate with and compensate news platforms for the content they produce. google decided to play hardball and shut down its operations in operation. they argued that australia's news media bargaining code would undermine the open internet. microsoft, however, supported australia's news media bargaining code. can you tell me whyaged quickly
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what happened when you voiced your support? >> look, one of the reasons i suppose i'm here is because we got drawn into the same issue in australia, and we weren't really part of it until google told the nation of australia that if its legislators passed a law that is not entirely dissimilar from this one, it would boycott the entire country, and we looked at the law and we read it and we thought, well, it seems pretty reasonable to us so our ceo and i called the prime minister, scott morrison, and we said, look, if google wants to leave australia, we'll stay and we'll increase our investment and we'll abide by the law. we'll share revenue with journalists. we're happy to run a search business at a lower margin than google and we think that there's some room for all of us to succeed together, and within 24 hours of my going on australia television to endorse the law, google called up and said they would reverse course and stay
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instead, and, you know, look, to be honest, i think that is a challenge. we have to look at that head on. when companies start threatening countries and saying that if their legislators pass laws they don't like, they will pull up and leave, then something seems a little out of whack, and i think, you know, trying to restore what has always been the case which is namely that no one should be above the law, no person, no government, no company, no technology, i think that, you know, that's in part where this started. i think that's in part where this needs to go and along the way let's please ensure that journalism can do what it needs to serve of all of us is. >> thank you, mr. smith. mr. chavern, google argued that the bargaining code provides something called a link tax. what do you think of that hargett? >> it was wrong.
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there was no link tax in the legislation and all the rhetoric around breaking the internet was just flat wrong. the fact of the matter is what it really asked for was a fair deal between news publishers and google across the whole range of google products, and really the test is now in terms of how -- how google is going to address the mass of small publishers in australia and really use the code, and we're look for seeing that outmany could. no, it isn't a link tax, and we have nothing here about a link tax at all. >> thank you. mr. scloyce, you emphasized mergers between major media countries have eroded news beat across the country and the powers of big tech mirrors a broader crisis of consolidation across news industries, indeed our entire economy. in addition to youth snizing the mergers what is other information that the committee should can, and are there other funding models we should be actively promoting had as well? >> yeah, i think so.
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one of the major things, right, is making sure whatever we're doing is tying into actual jobs in local journalism because we've seen whether companies are just going to be making a bunch of money by pushing profit margins as high as possible or get a blank check we don't have any accountability or transparency to go to jobs. i think more regulation to try to limit hedge funds in this space would be really key because as folks have said before one of the ways that we can save the solution and solve it is by providing more competition in the market by providing more and more local news jobs. i also think finding ways to preserve nonprofit and sustainable organizations is a way about that as well. >> excellent. thank you so much for those important comments and thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. the gentle lady yields back. i now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. bishop, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. smith, i see an irony in your testimony in that you're here as a representative of the tech industry that has -- that
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has had a anti-competitive structure and practices is damaging a free press, but you embrace the idea of granting a counterveiling license to engage in anti-competitive activity to the media to address that. isn't the answer to correct the failure of antitrust law vis-a-vis big tech rather than to inculcate anti-competitive behavior in yet another industry? >> well, would i say two things. first, i don't think that thinking about one thing is meant to suggest that one should exclude other things, an, you know, most problems require more than one solution, and i don't think that this is an exception, but i -- i would just go back to basics. why did congress pass the clayton act and the ftc act in the first place, to encourage competition, to protect competition, and there are times, especially when laws are decades or a century old their they have unintended consequences, and there is an unintended consequence and now you can redress this in a very -- >> well, thank you mr. smith.
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that's exactly what i'm concerned about. let me go to mr. greenwald. the chairman said in response to your comments, mr. greenwald, that we're going to vote the anti-competitive practices of big tech and give an antitrust exemption to media content producers. wouldn't be it preferable only to do that which will improve the competitive environment and forbear from regulation that might have unintended consequences that would concentrate power or permit any kind of competitive activity particularly by big media outlets? >> that's exactly correct. one of the reasons why i was so excited about the report issued by the subcommittey in objection is it was designed to finally address the problem that is a serious menace for the health of our democracy which is anti-competitive behavior on the part of one industry and so to have the solution be to empower another industry that has immense problems of its owns and
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that often works hand in hand with that tech industry, be able to replicate those problems makes little sense to me especially because the chairman said and he's right in theory if we do this it doesn't preclude us from then doing this broad agenda, but the political reality is that if you start giving the most powerful industries like the media a reason to stop caring about big tech monopoly because now they have what they want which is license to do the same thing you're going to be diluting liberal support for these broader solutions. >> thank you, sir. if small and diverse outlets are those that are most in need of protection, why grant an antitrust exemption to the "new york times," "washington post," msnbc, cnn and fox news? >> well, i -- fundamentally the larger outlets already have the capacity and some degree of leverage to get their own deals and arrangements and, again, we saw with news corp, by the way,
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people talk about news corp a lot. news corp has a global deal with google. this deal is not about news corp first and foremost. but the whole industry itself, from the largest to the smallest, or particularly the smallest, are in a subservient -- deeply subservient relationship to two companies that have opinion allowed to grow and dominate their spaces with completely hands-off approach from the government for too long, and we need an answer now. >> yeah. i get your point, and i think they are picking out the right answer is what we need to be doing. the mr. travis, finally to you. mr. raskin in his questions suggested that sort of criticism and condemnation is the same as cancel culture. i value robust and unlimited criticism like north carolina republican party censure of senator burr for his impeachment vote, for the revulsion of kathy griffin of holding a
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dis-mohammed head from the president but isn't that different than destroying someone's career or livelihood in retaliation for a particular view? >> i think that's a well-put question. to me cancel question is the difference between i disagree with you because and i disagree with you and you don't have the right to make a living because of your opinion. cancel culture takes it beyond the debate and goes to actually trying to cut someone out of the debate completely, argue about ideas, argue about decisions. don't in my opinion take the next step and say and your position invalidates you from being able to be involved in the conversation at all. >> thank you, mr. travis. i yield to mr. eisen. >> i thank the gentleman, but i don't think it will be sufficient for the chairman. i appreciate it. yield back. >> thank, sir. >> yield my time. >> the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from florida, miss demmings, for five minutes. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and to the ranking
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member as well for this very important i think hearing during such a critical time as we discuss these issues. i also want to thank our witnesses for being so thorough and informative this morning. you know, i think we're all in agreement that the way we consume news has changed tremendously through the years. mr. jeffries touched on this a little bit, but i want to ask this question to mr. chevron in a slightly different way. we know the majority of americans now get their news basically through online platforms. many of the newspapers have made that shift. they have more and more online readership, but could you please talk a little bit about why they still continue to struggle. >> certainly, and thank you for the question. most of my customers from small
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to large are digital businesses and they see their future as delivering news content online to by the way bigger audiences than ever. the trouble is they are delivering in an ecosystem has dominated by two companies. i call google and facebook our regulators because they regulate everything about our interaction with our consumers, and they suppress the value of our content and they make it incredibly hard for there to be not only existing publishers, but if you want to be a new entrant or have a different point of view or represent a different community perspective, it's basically an impossible market in which to build a business, and that has to change. >> thank you, and you've also talked about we have heard that collective bargaining efforts really only benefit the largest of countries or companies and kind of leave the smaller guys out, if you will. the could you talk about how collective bargaining, how can
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we ensure that collective bargaining efforts would also benefit the independent and smaller organizations? >> yeah, absolutely, and i mentioned this in my written testimony for the committee. you know, it the collectionive action is primarily -- primarily benefits those who don't have another way to aers is their value, right? it's a primary benefit for small and local publishers to be able to fight for themselves. the larger -- as you saw in australia, by the way, what happened as mr. smith noted, the larger publishers had some capacity to get their own individual deals, and now the code itself, the code is primarily impacting smaller community publishers who are able to band together and have a voice because without that, they have real know hope. >> thank you so very much. mr. sloyce, i think it's interesting that we have the conversation today and i'm reading the report yet again trying to understand some of the challenges that we face in our
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country. i know that news guild has been critical of consolidation. could you please explain a little bit how consolidation actually impacts diversity in newsrooms? >> absolutely. so we represent, you know, in your district folks at the orlando sentinel and along with them 16 other newsrooms across the country, just in that one group. consolidation when big companies gobble up these smaller local news outlets, whether they are online or in print, what they do is they will pull out copy dust. they will pull out design work and they will shift that to these like hubs. those hubs are usually filled with people who don't know, you know, the local names of streets or politicians and can't actually do the editing and the design work, so it reduces the local jobs in the communities by shipping them to these hubbs, but it also reduces the lower
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accountability to those voices who know their community. >> and if you could, i know you mentioned earlier that 2,100 newsrooms across the country have shut down. 36,000 journalists are not working so as we end on this discussion about diversity, could you also just talk about kind of the impact, who those people are and why it makes a difference that diversity is considered but also the impact on the true and balanced and unbiased journalists that we so desperately need in this condition try. >> right. one of the kind of really alarming is it the takes that i think with the consolidation there's also more consolidation of journalists on the coast, right, so one in five working journalists in this country hives in one of three cities, new york, washington or los angeles, and those communities only represent 13% of all of america meese workforce so we're lose the local voices and we're losing them at an alarming pace that needs to change.
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>> thank you so much, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. i now recognize the gentlelady from indiana for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as someone a big fan of him and actual little his books should be have in american schools and have a rating in schools back in ukraine, one of the big reasons why i'm in congress today. i want to quote him quickly. he said the american republic will endure until the day congress discovers that it can bribe the public's money and go back to the discussion today. i actually add my name to this bill because i believe i would like to have a bipartisan discussion on that issue, and i believe there's still a lot of work to do.
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i appreciate congressman cicilliny for working on this. we had some discussion what is potential issue could be? could we actually give power from collusion from some larger stake holders in this industry, or we can have also, you know, more dictatorship of opinion and excuses why some of the people are not -- or media is not really presented on this big search engine. my question is what are the ideas that you, have and i know maybe we should go further and i work on the reform in health care, we had a lot. issues with employment, non-compete provisions between hospitals and doctors and some of the reporters brought up similar issues in media industry, so we also need to look at the proper due process for appeal to see what will happen with conservative applications or other applications that try to get ton this platform.
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so my question for mr. travis, greenwald and smith, if you can quickly say what are the things we should really look to make sure that we do not have this piece meal approach and can create some unintended consequences. >> it's a really broad question, and -- and i think it's a really important question as well. to me what we need to have first and foremost is regulation of the big tech companies. i think mr. smith has done a really good job of elucidating that this is not a one-size-fits-all policy and there isn't any one thing that you can do that solves the larger everyone uin our democracy as it pertains to the power of big tech. what i see and i can centerpiece physically for myself amend the company that i run is there are lots of companies like mine that the difference between making money andalusianing money is what the algorithm that facebook chooses to put into play on any given day is, and the
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consistency of the rules that are being applied in a content-neutral fashion does not exist, and the mother there, we have effectively given over -- i truly believe this -- the right to determine what a first amendment violation is out of our courts and we've given them to the big tech companies instead, and that represents a chilling effect because i'll tell you this right now. the business side of my company, they said, hey, i don't know necessarily that we want to share internal data and upset facebook and other tech companies because they have the ability to vice grip control in many ways businesses, and there are tons of them that are going to watch this clip and see the data that we share and they will say, hey, that happened to us, too. we didn't say anything because we hoped it was just going to go away so i think it's not a fair fight right now, and the fight need to be more fair and to me ultimately that's what government's job should be, create the standards and fair play to allow a fight to be fair
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in this industry. >> if you can -- mr. greenwald and mr. smith, answer quickly. but i wanted to yield some time to congressman issa, too. >> can i just say. >> go ahead, sorry. >> i would say very quickly in terms of additional idea. one, comfort additional measures that should be put into the jcpa borrowing from parts of the australian law. two, focusing on the lack of competition and the digital advertising market itself because that's where most of the advertising revenue and profits are being trapped. three, think about the conversation before about the needs of communities of color. i think there are a lot of ideas that could be pursued there and, fourth, look, there is this big issue. called modernized section 230 and if we're ever going to get everybody together and thinking about this we probably have to think through that piece, too. >> thank you. can i just quickly say that i
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would first encourage the minority members of the committee really to look at that report from october because there are issues in there that address the primary concerns being expressed and until then i think you could applied first amendment law or other content of modification based upon the fact that the companies are monopolies and people rely on them for their livelihood and for their expression >> i thank the gentleman. >> thank you. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> i can't see my time. >> you actually went over 20 seconds but happy to accommodate you. i now recognize the gentlelady from georgia for five minutes. >> well, thank you, mr. charges and thank you to each and every one of you for being here today. i want to start by echoing the comments of so many of my colleagues about the importance of local news.
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whether it's print or radio, tv or online, it's essential that we journalists, that we have journalists and focused on what is happening in each of our local communities and that's not enough to keep us aprotest of what's happening locally. we need to know about the state of the pandemic and who in the community is ale jibl to take a vaccine and how to get one and we need to know when it's safe for us to go back to work or safe for us to go to our local gathering places and so throughout 2020 we need accurate information about how our systems were changing so we could exercise the right to vote. >> here in georgia we represent runoff elections and it was continued to have reporters and sources whose focus is getting
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accurate information to voters beyond november. your barr, your testimony that you shared are great examples of the power of local journalism. i just want to start by giving you a brief respond if you peel that there's anything that you didn't get to fill address. ness. >> thank you very much i.would saturday by saying the found davis all journalists starts in local nunts. the stories that pop up are at their root what happened locally. to give you an example. in houston and san antonio where we own television stations, as you all know, we recently dealt with a horrific power grid failure that resulted in people dying, resultled in homes having frozen pipes, people losing lots on money trying to repair things and it was -- it was quite terrible. it was the role of the local broadcasters in that situation
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that really help kept people information and vrpt vrpt relatively safe. it's not common to have a feed like that in is. we were there -- >> thank you so much for that answer. mr. newspapers have recently switched to a subscription-based model to common said for ad measures. while some people will willing to pay for online news i'm considered that a subscription must be a luxury in households already making tough financial decisions due to covid. that means those households get lower quality information as they turn to social media for answers to important questions about the pandemic or exercising their right to vote. how can we make sure that everyone, regardless of their financial situation, has access to reliable, quality news? >> great. thank you for that question. you know, subscriptions are
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essentially important to the industry and will continue to be even more important, but there is this component of if you -- if you can pay you get and if you don't -- can't pay you don't get and that we need -- we need a digital ecosystem with social media and other delivery systems that sustainably provide critical information to communities because what we have now is we have that ecosystem sucking out that information for free, and that's just not sustainable. we need subscriptions are going to be important for my industry, yes, but we also need to have value coming back from the digital distribution so that we can keep making critical information broadly and widely available. >> thank you for that. is there a risk that collective bargaining between media companies and the dominant platforms might only help large national media companies and not local ones, and why or why not and how can we shik their that local news room den fits.
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two things, first of all, again, i think the smallest local publishers are the ones most in need of collective action and i also have to say and there's a lot of discussions about this today that even my members who are considered big companies even collectively, compared to the massive market power of these digital platforms have inebele unequal bargaining power. you know, this industry itself is critically important in a civic society and it needs the ability to collectively responsibility to the dominance allowed to build up in the digital ecosystem so i think that there's tremendous requirements for local and small publishers but the whole industry itself needs some capacity to speak for itself. >> i thank you so much and i yield back the balance of my time. the gentlelady yields back. i now recognize the gentleman
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from wisconsin, mr. fitzgerald, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. this has been fascinating this morning. i did work in both industries. i owned and actually published a weekly newspaper along with a couple of monthly periodicals, and i worked in radio, too, at a very small station in hartford, wisconsin so i watched both industries change dramatically, and i just wanted to talk about that because if someone would want to comment. i mean, before the revolution of digital there was the revolution of desktop publishing and i went through that when we had all machines and they were doing-typesetting and within it seemed like a year there were macs on everyone's table and the industry had changed overnight. we also, you know, had dark rooms for photographers. it's very labor intensive to get a photo on the front page of the newspaper. it was a big deal and then all of a sudden that was began and everything was digital.
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shoppers, let me talk about shoppers for a minute. there was a weekly publication loaded with advertising, a huge supplement for weekly newspapers and suddenly they had newspaper content, news content which changed the dynamic of the industry or they simply kind of went away, and i know that was another big source of income for them. and on -- on. radio side, i mean, it's been so diverse now between somebody having the choice between xm sirius, high tunes, so you can pick up any radio station in the entire nation, that you couldn't do about. you were limited to the two or three that product into your area, you know. certainly there's other things that happened in broadcast and the big one is the explosion of cable news. you know, when i was a kid you had four stations and if you weren't on one of the networks, that's where you got your news. my whole problem with i think is that the message has been
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developed into kind of this niche where you find your audience, you target that audience by delivering the content that you think they want to hear and the reason for that is because you can generate the revenue then, so it's really had a direct effect i think on straight news, and i think that's one of our bigger issues right now which is why there's always these ancillary issues related to what journalists are reporting is because it's not making any money and i go back to 230 again. i think one of the most important college classes i ever had was called law and the press, and in that class they talked about libel, libel, libel, and any newsroom that i've ever been in and any editor who was responsible for the content but always has kind of, you know, it's going to be the general manager at the radio station or it's going to be certainly, you know, the
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publisher of the paper or the chain of papers always looking over that editor's shoulder making sure that they don't put them in jeopardy when it comes to the law, and i -- and i think, you know, what we've developed, and maybe it was a blunder by corning i'm not sure, but when 230 was put in place that allowed those entities that could benefit from that exemption to flourish beyond what anybody could have possibly have imagined at that time, so even though i know the vcpa has probably got some traction right now, i still think if you just do jcpa and not do 230 you're going to find yourself kind of back in the same place, and i know that that one of the -- one of the set of testimony today kind of alluded to that. you know, i'm just having to -- the last thing i wanted to ask
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maybe mr. greenwald, because i think you're probably in the best position to answer this, but what -- what's your demographic? who are you trying to get to? who do you think is most interested in your content? i have three sons, and two of them are in their 30s and one is 28 years old. i've never seen a newspaper in their hand, but i've also never seen them without their phone in their hand, so, you know, that's a big part of what this discussion has become i think is who are these groups? who are we reaching out to, and does the media feel a responsibility to kind of, you know, tailor their content to these individuals? >> yeah, that's a great question, and it goes back to the point i and several other people were alluding to earlier about the collapse in trust in media, and i think what you said is exactly right is that as media outlets have confronted an increasingly difficult climate in which to not just profit but to sustain themselves financially, the model to which
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they have turned is one which fids partisan audiences, not what they should here but what they want to hear which in turn erodes trust in journalism even further and i think until that problem is addressed in term of what is turning hi and what they are doing it. these many approximate are going to linger and make this legislation that much worse. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> yeah. >> i now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, the chairman of the intellectual property subcomety for five minute. >> i thank the gentleman for holding this hearing. very important, and i thank the witness thees for being here today. the vitality of a broad, diverse journalism field is imperative to the success of republic and
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this necessities both intense scrutiny and decisive fraction this body. this is why earlier today i asked to join chairman cicilliny as a co-sponsor of his legislation, "the journalism and competition and preservation act of 2021. we should recognize that a free and honest press is key to the workings of our democracy, by bringing local news to consume erlgs who need to know guess okay on in their locke al committees. that's where we're headed to thought given the fact that local news organizations organizations can't aforethought tore stay in because because theired a ref news interest swundled.
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unfair and under excitetive practices but online, the it's killing the consumers. local broadcasters and local print media are trustz sources of news and information for 330 million americans, and in the atlanta media market i'm kept informed about what's going on throughout my district and beyond. they cover news about the civil rights demonstrations in than thea last summer and the long lines at the polls last june and again in november, and they continued to provide much-needed local air time on the impact that the pandemic has had on schools, businesses, minority communities and health care in local communities in the atlanta market. they are keeping us up on what our legislatures are trying to do to curtail and limit our right to vote.
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today i stand up for local news-gathering organizations. the value of local journalism and the diversity of diverse it amplifies is more important now than ever as the public has moved to the online marketplaces, the platform through which they receive news coverage. ad revenue is the mother's milk for all news gathering organizations and, unfortunately, for them, that same ad revenue is getting sign offed off by the digital platforms that use their content to attract those same ad dollars. this commit edigital "morning business report" released last companies found that two companies have a dupe police, google and facebook. in particular, the committee found that these two major companies act as gatekeepers and their decisions on how to
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display content and any changes to their al rimts. it can how does facebook and google directly affect the viability of news publishers by? >> up one of the things we know about news content it's highly encaging. people go to google and facebook project to whet what's happening in the world and they do it the next day after that t. -- very little of the value though is turned to publishers, so at the same time that our content is more important and more valued
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than ever, there's very little to sustain the fauche of and that's what we need if we want to change the local news. >> policemore. many energy. what is does the future look like for local news xhaerg organizations? >> thank you, very much, for that question. we would increasingly feigned ourselves unable to left open -- even in a major event occurs or even a moaner event, very plfrm -- owe might have trouble covering had a major hurricane. it would make it for and for differ forror to cover the marksing in which we leave and mr. >> i'm sorry. the time of the gentleman has expired.
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>> i thank the chairman. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. i now recognize the gentleman from utah, mr. owns, for five minutes. >> he was on the screen. there to is. >> thank you. thank you very much and the rank member. thank for holding this witness today and i do mrm -- with the cancel culture debating our society, but there's a reason why i'm passionately fighting this current cancel culture because what i've seen with cancelling a culture looks like with my upbringing. cancelling a culture looks like intimidation of young black students entering the university of alabama to break the back of segregation in 1973. cancelling a culture looks like police and attack dogs awaiting like a selma bridge in 1965. i sense a tense of tech
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censorship and drowning of freedom speech. as it was in the civil rights dale it would get as much americancism, and in an effort to employer vite or -- the enemies of our american culture can be summarized in two words, the same words as the 1963 freedom fighters, bills and cowards. to go back to what thomas jefferson and was said yesterday, it is advertise ignorant, freak and never to be. that's never been more true today. there's been a lot of good questions and i don't want to cup late there. i'll just ask of mr. travis and mr. green weld. yell, with can build
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dr. thoughtses and it's cancellinging cull. you're seven college. this is one. many steps to get in troll where we can have a freedom of speech again where with expect this as a country that this would be a national process, with you can seek freely and. being trapped. >> thank you. >> it's a great question congressman, and to me every single american out there is terrified on some level every time they pick up twitter. every time they pick up ingram and every time they pick up facebook and they sit there for a moment and think about whatever opinion they are about to share and they have to think to themselves is this worth my life fundamentally changing? and to me the marketplace of ideas, congressman, requires
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that people not be afraid to say what they really think, and what we have created is such a stifled environment today that people are terrified to say what they think. they are also terrified that their kids might have a tiktok video out and singing along to a rap song and suddenly can't get a college scholarship. that's helping everywhere across this country and the big tech has vend greet this krensior al universityiers, and what we want to do with a full flourishment of democracy is start to fight back against that culture of censorship and one of the ways that we do it i believe is by restricting the antitrust power that i believe the big tech companies have come to take over
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in the ensuing decade, and i'm sure glen can talk about that a lot better even than i can, but that's the exsense of the question i think you're asking. >> yeah, thank you. >> the one point i would like to emphasize congressman about all of that is big media, the largest media corporations in the united states are not opposed to the censorious behavior of big tech. quite the contrary. they are the ones who have agitated for it most aggressively. if you ask people in silicon valley they will tell you, all other things being equal, they would prefer to be out of business of content moderation and have been pressured by big media companies both for ideological and competitive reasons to silence others who might compete with these large outlets in the name of diversity and this is why i would really urge the committee to strongly consider this. what i think everyone is saying is very valid and this concern for the viability of local media outlets, so if that's the case,
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the focus ought to be on empowering these local media outlets to sustain them sefrlgs and to grow and flourish and not empower the actors causing so many of the problems that are causing the problems, either big media outlets acting in concert with big tech or in many cases co-opting the power that they wield. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. i now recognize myself for five minutes. mr. greenwald, that's exactly the purpose of the legislation to empower the small publishers and newspapers a few years ago facebook's head of new partnerships campbell brown told publishers if they don't work with facebook they will end up, quote in, hospice. she reportedly said and i quote we'll help you revitalize journalism but in a few years it looks like the reverse will be the same that i'll be holding your dying hands in hospice, and our investigation found that
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google or facebook can change an algorithm and in doing so can have a devastating impact to a news publishers website. google made a change to its search algorithm that slashed traffic to the publishers website by 50% so my question for you is how do these types of incidents affect a newspaper's advertising revenue? >> thank you very much. fascinating quote. you know, the sad fact is so many publishers did and have tried to do what facebook has asked, almost always to their death president. by the way, interesting example about the role of algorithms in all of this. there's been really good reporting after the last presidential election facebook made the decision to increase the amount of news from reliable professional news sources, and
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then they decided to turn it down again, so they -- they actively manage the amount of quality journalism that the public is exposed to and essentially that determines whether we live or die. they are -- these two companies are our regulators. they determine whether we're seen. >> thank you. i don't know if we froze. or -- so with that i -- i would just say we've tried to work with them and it hasn't worked out very well. >> and you add to that a business model that is incentivizing the most provocative and exploitative communications that are shared most widely in increasedaled revenue so there's no incentive for the proper curation of their sites. mr. smith, thank you again to your testimony. you mentioned in your written testimony, transparency kwirmt
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and obligation to operate in good faith and avoidance of retaliation and i wonder if you can share your thoughts on how we might improve the journalism and preservation act in light of your australia experience. >> sure, i might start with the aspects most closely related to the negotiation process itself, so, you know, i do that that a duty to negotiate in good faith and especially an obligation to avoid retaliation. i think those are very important, and i think that, you know, kind of responsibility usually is subject to an agency review and an ftc or similar agency review to uphold those responsibilities. i think it's not just appropriate by pretty customry. i do think the transparency issue gets back to what you were just talking about, and i think that's going to require some more thought. it's going to require more discussion. i think in australia it became apparent that it was important. it was also a challenging topic.
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there's a lot of views on both sides that frankly need to be considered, but this is a topic that is of great importance frankly around the world. >> thank you so much. mr. sloyce, you raised concerns that additional revenue that may be provided to news organization negotiated under the jcpa may not be interested in creating high quality news but to be used for shared buybacks and helping already rich investors. so what safeguards should we be considering adding to this bill to address these concerns? >> well i think, you know, i'm hearing a lot of terms that i hear in my day job, talking about the imbalance of power and at need to negotiate in good pivot on a collective year. in the last year we've added 3,500 in workers and what we need no do it to make sure that
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the workers are part of the revolution and that and we also need to make sure there's neutrality and union-busting activities crease and stop because these journalists. they want to do their jobs. they look at their job as a public service to the communities and they just want the bisek respect that they deserve. >> we all recognize that this is a temporary solution to a local program and if we don't we won't have local journalism anymore. this is not something we're doing alone. we have a very, very robust antitrust legislation and have general of recommendations and i don't want everyone to be to think that we have a lot more to
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do. with that i'm pleased to yield five minutes to the ranking member of the subcommittee, the distinguished from a from colorado, mr. puck. >> before my time begin, mr. chairman, may i ask a quick question? >> of course. i think part of the discussion today is about the bill and whether it intends to cover stoortdor startup organizations and others, daily caller, daily wire, washington examiner, washington times, peck spators, maize, national review online, breitbart, federalist and mr. greenwald's former employer the intercept. are all those intended to be covered by the definition that we have in here of news content creator? >> yeah, they are not only intended to be covered. they are covered because it's content neutral and all of the organizations you just described are producers of content. >> and when mr. breitbart started, breitbart in his garage works that be covered by this? >> absolutely. >> and if it was -- if there was
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some doubt about that, would the chair be willing to entertain an amendment to the bill to clarify that when we get to markup? >> i am always willing to work with you, mr. buck. you have always act northbound good faith or to the extent there are improvements or clarification of the bill i'd be happy to work with you on those. >> mr. travis, i'm more an old joke so i'm more comfortable talking with you today. you may have been in this situation also, but i've been in disagreements with a spouse, a child, a neighbor, acoh worker and after five minutes of the disagreement i realize we're saying the same thing and there's something happening today where i think we're saying the same thing and not just witnesses but the members also. you know, what happened to you is disgraceful in this country. it's something we expect in china or russia. it's not something we expect in
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the united states of america, and so i absolutely believe the solution to what you talked about is having five googles, ten facebooks, 12 -- and i think mr. smith would agree with me. he'd love to have binge and google with equal market share competing against each other ensuring that if one discriminated against you would pick up that revenue and run with it, but zsing in i think, what we're talking about with this particular bill and that's to make sure that these news organizations going out of business have the chance to compete with these big tech giants for add revenues. right now they don't. big tech doesn't have a number of people out there. all they do is take someone else's product and they use that
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product for more and more profit for them or less hand less prest or revenue for the other side. what i'm wongering is what the likes -- not in the worth in general, but across the, ref knew for small local news organizations, what do you do? >> there's not an easy solution, right, and this is a multi-facetted part that needs to be implemented in order for this to work. to use the example that i was talking about, in courts we've created a system where if a bad judge decision occurs at the district court you can appeal it all the way to the supreme court. let's pretend there's something
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other than a national without working with fike, chair, as you said in the example that you used. what i think they need is a fair and transparents system when they get things wrong to you a lou them to be recommend deed. ultimately i'll be fine. if our company doesn't make the revenue that we should on the content that we're producing, that means that i hire less people, that means that all of these companies that are here talking to you today trying to increase their revenue hire less people as well and to the extent that i believe in the marketplace of ideas, which i do, we need as many voices as possible all speaking and the way that the system is skuk truer right now we are not having that occur. >> mr. smith, i want to ask you a quick question. i recognize the attorney at some pint there will be a few of the tech joins and news get together.
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we can make more money if we desaid to screw the smaller tech companies and the idea that these two gentleman will claude an create the exemption that we're talking about in this bill is real. i did to ask you. did google say to the world and say let's get -- the australian people will be happy and that's the way they will go. did they act like they were willing to conclude with just a few or were they concerned about the beller. i -- i think it's fair to say that there was initially a principle concern that frankly the only news organizations that would benefit would be the big ones and specifically news corp and two others, and the whole assurance that the law contained to ensure that everyone was
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reached was exactly what is in the jvpa, the ability for everyone to negotiate collectively i.actually think that if you don't get a shawl business for them to negotiate correctly, you don't create a space personal for them to negotiate correctly. >> thia. i like to offer a statement from jason kent, a statement for the record from jeff jarvis statement for the record from perez wadsworth, president of gwyneth news media and from rod simms, a statement for the record from media matters, a statement from our colleague
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congressman susan wild who in her statement acknowledges and i quote, the challenges are real and those of us in the positions of powers should be taken seriously and a joint station from the national association of black-owned broadcasters, native american association and radio television news association, a statement from the record for the free press action and a statement for the record from google and from mat shoe shears, president computer association. and i would like to thank our extraordinary panel of witnesses for your testimony today. thing is a very productive hearing and raised very important issues about this urgent challenge we face. next thursday we will be holding our third hearing as part of a series to develop legislation to address the rise and abuse of market power online. at that hearing, our witnesses will discuss proposals to modernize and strengthen the antitrust laws that apply monopoly power and
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anticompetitive mergers. again, to our witnesses, without all objections, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional materials for the record and this hearing is now adjourned.
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[ indiscernible conversations ] e
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edge of morality. now the federalist society's debate on the death penalty. >> well, welcome, everyone, to our debate on the death penalty. my name is chloe knox. the federalist society is a group of conservative libertarians interested in the current state of the liberal order. [inaudible] and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. we are honored to be joined by

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