Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a call to arms in an exclusive Breitbart News interview for Americans throughout Louisiana and across the country to begin burning down the phone lines and demanding their U.S. Senators oppose the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA).
“They beat it by calling their U.S. Senator, irrespective of whether they’re a Democrat or Republican, and saying ‘do not vote for this bill,’ but especially if they’re a Republican because if all the Republicans stuck together they couldn’t beat a filibuster,” Landry said. “They need 60 votes. Let me just add this one thing, think about this: This is a bill, this is Schumer’s bill right? Let me ask you a question: What party rails against big corporations, against monopolies? Who is the party who is allegedly for the little guy? Why in the world are the Democrats for this? If a Democrat is for this bill, a Republican should automatically say ‘no way I ain’t getting on that’ because it’s not good for anybody.”
The JCPA, a highly controversial proposal spearheaded by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, would hand media organizations a government-provided antitrust exemption to allow them to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies. While proponents argue that the cartels of media outlets the bill would create might stifle Big Tech’s power, critics worry that the bill would exacerbate the problem by empowering establishment media at the expense of more independent and especially conservative voices.
“It’s not surprising. The U.S. Congress won’t do anything with the drug cartels,” Landry told Breitbart News. “Why don’t they just give a couple other people cartels like Big Tech? Everything we’ve been fighting over in this last decade now in watching the rise of Big Tech and seeing the destruction and the manipulation those platforms can inflict on the American people, of course Congress—which is supposed to be our guardians—is going to just let them in and give them more power? This is absolutely a train wreck. No Republican should be on record in supporting this. None. It doesn’t matter who they are. There should not be one Republican U.S. Senator supporting this. In fact, I would argue there should be no U.S. Senator period both on the Republican or the Democrat side. I mean, because, think about where we were—it shows me where we are after a hundred years ago with the rise of the trusts and we had to go through a whole litany of federal laws to break up the monopolies and the trusts back then. Now, here we are and what we’re going to do is create some media cartel? While, think about this, at the same time the U.S. Senate is thinking about giving the media—certain people, certain sections of the media—antitrust exemptions, there are two attorneys general including one who’s getting ready to go into the U.S. Senate who are right now in court showing how the government colluded with social media. Now think about what the government can do when they combine themselves with a media cartel?”
The only way this bill passes Congress in the next few weeks during a last-ditch push by well-funded lobbyists is if Republicans in the U.S. Senate cave again to Democrats. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to, through Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), mark up the bill next week. From there, it is likely to be considered by the full House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, has already passed the bill out of the Judiciary Committee after a protracted and nasty standoff produced a compromise earlier this fall. A great betrayal of conservatives by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) paved the way for the panel to clear the proposal, as an amendment by Cruz adopted in the committee after a weeks-long showdown helped the bill move forward. Cruz had originally been opposed to the plan but caved and helped Democrats advance the controversial proposal in committee shortly thereafter. But Cruz’s shocking turn against conservatives is hardly the only surprise move Republicans have made to help the Democrat agenda on this proposal over the past two years.
Landry, who is running for governor of Louisiana in the 2023 election, speaking out so aggressively is significant because in addition to Klobuchar being the lead Democrat sponsor of the bill in the U.S. Senate, the lead GOP sponsor is Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican whose colorful personality often lands him Fox News airtime, has been for the last two years working with Klobuchar to champion this bill that would in effect create more censorship of conservatives and deepen the establishment media’s already deep ties with Big Tech. Kennedy is reportedly considering his own run for governor of Louisiana—if he runs he would face Landry and anyone else who runs in the November 2023 jungle primary—but pushing this bill in the lame-duck session of Congress could severely harm Kennedy’s political prospects and undercut any hope he has of winning the governor’s mansion in Louisiana.
What’s particularly wild and unorthodox about this current push by industry insiders to salvage this proposal — which would completely upend the media and tech industries — is that they are doing it right after the 2022 midterm elections and before the new Congress takes office in what is called the lame duck session of Congress, where the old, just-ousted members serve for a few more weeks before leaving on Jan. 3, 2023. Proponents of the JCPA have two years to move the proposal and have repeatedly failed, but now in a last-ditch, desperate push, they are trying to jam through the large-scale plan during the lame-duck session. There are several pathways through which they could do it, such as by attaching it to a must-pass bill like the government funding vehicle that will be coming down the pipeline later in September or to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — even though this has nothing to do with defense policy. Or Democrats and their GOP enablers like Cruz and Kennedy could try to pass it on its own out of both the House and Senate. To achieve congressional passage through any of these pathways, though, Democrats would need at least 10 Senate Republicans to vote for the plan—either via a must-pass bill that it is attached to or as a standalone bill—to get past a Senate filibuster.
Landry is warning Republicans in the U.S. Senate to not give in and let the Democrats have this win. Since they had two years to get it done and failed, he argued Republicans should not enable a broken process by advancing this plan during the lame-duck session of Congress.
“Listen, that’s what they do in Congress. I just literally two weeks ago won a case at the Fifth Circuit—two cases—where in the dark of night in the COVID relief package two years ago or three years ago they tucked in a complete takeover of the horse racing industry by the federal government, which we just litigated, with no committee hearings, no debate,” Landry said. “That’s what they do at the end: They stick all these things in these big omnibus bills and short-circuit the normal process. You know why? It’s a telltale sign that it is bad for America and bad for the American citizens. Anytime they do that it’s ‘yup, that’s an automatic bad piece of legislation.’”
Kennedy’s catchy soundbites aside, his decision to side with Democrats here could hurt him big time back home if he decides to run for governor. With Landry’s very public opposition to this controversial proposal, if Kennedy does not back down immediately and withdraw support of the JCPA—and block Democrats’ efforts to jam it through in the lame duck before the incoming House GOP majority elected in the 2022 midterms takes office—this issue would very clearly become a major one in the 2023 governor race in Louisiana should Kennedy decide to run. What’s more, if Kennedy champions the flawed proposal through and it makes it into law, the American public will see by November 2023 just how problematic the JCPA is because by then, its structural issues would become apparent—and Kennedy will have been responsible for decimating conservative media if that’s how it plays out. In other words, while Kennedy may be able to hide behind talking points and platitudes for now, he will not be able to continue to do so if this comes to pass—and he has an off-ramp, blocking his own bill and muddling the process between now and the end of the year so that the new House GOP majority can fix it next year.
Landry, on the other hand, implicitly understands the stakes here and said this legislation would absolutely lead to more censorship of conservatives and represent the “end of the freedom of the press” in America.
“Let me tell you what that is: That bill is the end of the freedom of the press. The problem we got today, I hate to say this, is that Rush Limbaugh is dead,” Landry said. “If Limbaugh was alive, he would be destroying this bill from his microphone. This is exactly the kind of issue that folks like him—and thank God for y’all, okay?—that he would be exposing. Think about it in the context of the freedom of the press. What this bill basically does is it basically says there really is no freedom of the press anymore, it’s just freedom of a group of people who call themselves the press. It’s freedom of the press cartel, right? Who else would have access? Because, again, the virtual marketplace is controlled by the tech giants. Now they’re going to be embedded with the media giants? Really? What’s left for the average citizen to have an honest discussion about what’s going on in the country? That’s what we’re litigating in Louisiana in the censorship. Once you weld government to the monopoly of the media, there is no more freedom because there’s no exchange of ideas.”