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Tags: department of justice | facebook | twitter | google

Conservative Groups Tell Dept. of Justice to Get Its Priorities Straight

Conservative Groups Tell Dept. of Justice to Get Its Priorities Straight

The Department of Justice seal is seen on a lectern at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 August 2019 02:38 PM

Ask any Department of Justice antitrust official, and they will tell you that they have more work on their plate today than they can handle.

The DOJ is continuing to look closely at Facebook and Twitter’s alleged political discrimination, while Google remains in their crosshairs for allegedly tipping the scales of their search results. The Antitrust Division also recently opened an investigation into whether online platforms "are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.”

Despite the number of hours Barr and others have spent scrutinizing these companies, many onlookers have been unhappy with the results. In particular, legal analysts and the punditry class have been rather critical of the $5 billion, too-little-too-late fine on Facebook for its privacy abuses.

It certainly appears that the DOJ is not fully focused on the important tasks it currently has on its plate, and that’s probably because it’s not.

Instead of remaining concentrated on getting this hot-button issue right for the American people, some senior staff in the antitrust division is instead wasting its time on arcane policy fights.

For example, while the DOJ works through the middle of these critical investigations into the Silicon Valley giants, rogue senior staff under Barr has spent an extensive amount of time on the “critically important” issue of music licensing. It has even opened a formal investigation into whether it should change the rules governing this industry.

Who gives a hoot about this issue when these other pressing concerns, like those related to Big Tech, remain unresolved?

Unlike the Big Tech companies, which are getting away with murder because of a lack of federal scrutiny, the music industry has operated under a set of rules that have functioned effectively for 70 years.

Together, music licensing giants ASCAP and BMI control 90-percent of the licensing marketplace. This is mainly a result of collusion between music publishers, which created these two organizations to strengthen their leverage. As a result, they have been held under antitrust consent decrees with the DOJ since the 1940s. These DOJ decrees prevent them from price-gouging, as well as discriminating against consumers and small businesses that want to play and listen to music.

Why is the antitrust division spending its time on a lengthy investigation into whether it should weaken antitrust law in a case the American people frankly don’t care about? Isn’t it supposed to be spending its time strengthening those same enforcement mechanisms against Big Tech?

There’s nothing controversial about these decrees. The DOJ inspected the music antitrust consent decrees over two years and decided that it remained best to keep them as-is just three years ago. Not to mention that members of both parties have expressed much skepticism about the wisdom of changing the music licensing status quo. If the DOJ can’t stand behind these decrees, then one would think that they would likely not stand behind any forceful antitrust agreement.

Perhaps the antitrust division doesn’t actually intend to crack down on Facebook, Google, and Twitter’s abuse. Perhaps it is merely going through the rhetorical motions to appease conservatives when the cameras are rolling, continuing with its agenda of further empowering predatory monopolies behind the scenes. Perhaps that's why, after a sixteen-month investigation, it decided just to give Facebook a small slap on the wrist for its privacy violations last month.

Thankfully, conservative groups are finally speaking up.

Last week, a dozen conservative organizations, including Frontiers of Freedom, Institute for Liberty, and Americans for Limited Government, sent a coalition letter to Attorney General Barr. While the letter stopped short of explicitly telling him to end this hamster wheel project and focus on what's important, it did made clear that this music review is an artificial issue created by his staff.

When one’s whole premise for existing is collusion, there is something wrong, and it will never not be a problem without oversight. That’s as true for music licensing as it is for Big Tech.

The American people are already frustrated with the way it has handled its investigations into the Big Tech companies. Weakening antitrust law and spending its time on issues that the American people frankly don’t care about is not helping its case.

The DOJ needs to get its priorities straight. It needs to get back to work on Big Tech, dropping its wasteful, time-consuming playtime fun at the door.

Steve Gruber is a conservative talk show host with 25 affiliates in Michigan. "The Steve Gruber Show" launched in 2012 with just four affiliates and has grown into the most powerful name in talk radio across Michigan. Steve has been named “Best Morning Personality” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters five years in a row. His conservative, common-sense philosophy was developed during his time growing up in rural Michigan. Steve’s early career found him in several newsrooms including WILX, Lansing where he honed his investigative journalism and interviewing skills. He became the main news anchor of the station and before long was offered a job with NBC in Columbus, Ohio. While working for NBC, he covered the incredible launch of John Glenn, age 77, into space at Cape Canaveral, White Supremacists in Ohio, and the deadly game of selling prescription medication online. Steve was nominated for an Emmy in 2000. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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Ask any Department of Justice antitrust official, and they will tell you that they have more work on their plate today than they can handle.
department of justice, facebook, twitter, google
Tuesday, 13 August 2019 02:38 PM
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