Back in the bad old days of John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, unfettered, unregulated, unrestrained capitalism posed a dire threat to economic growth for any but those playing monopoly.
It’s still a grave danger today from the new tech monopolies of Google, Facebook, Amazon and company. But there’s another peril to America’s most critical political institutions – free speech, free press, free religious expression and even free elections.
While the so-called “progressive” left obsesses over a phantom foreign compromise of the 2016 presidential election, the real peril to the sanctity of the 2020 race will be from a deliberate, systematic, dynamic disinformation campaign from a Big Tech Cartel fully capable of throwing an America election without leaving any fingerprints.
Trust me, it will not be towards Donald Trump and the Republicans.
I’ve been writing about the seriousness of this situation for the last two years. I do so because I take the attacks very personally. WND, the first independent online news site, founded more than 20 years ago, has felt the excruciating pain of the effects of bias from those who control search engine algorithms and the lion’s share of digital advertising budgets.
Since Donald Trump became president, WND’s revenues have dropped more than 70 percent! Like other independent media, we now survive almost exclusively on the generosity and appreciation of our long-time supporters and subscribers.
Yes, the Google, Facebook, Amazon cabal have the means, motive and opportunity to do what the Russians or any other foreign adversary could never accomplish.
In other words, American liberty faces an imminent existential threat unless President Trump takes steps to smash these monopolies now.
It’s time for the president to do now what Teddy Roosevelt did back then.
In “The Curse of Bigness,” Columbia Law professor Tim Wu makes the point that Roosevelt’s busting up of the monopolies in his day not only improved the economy as competition increased, but political justice, fairness, equity and liberty also abounded.
“[T]he more concentrated the industry, the more corrupt we can expect the political process to be,” explains Wu.
If that was true of the old industrialists, it is even more true of the new “progressive” super-capitalists of the 21st century.
Why? Because today’s Big Tech companies not only control vast wealth, they also control unspeakable amounts of data and communications, media, politics and culture.
Here’s the way Wu describes our crisis: “Big tech is ubiquitous, seems to know too much about us, and seems to have too much power over what we see, hear, do, and even feel. It has reignited debates over who really rules, when the decisions of just a few people have great influence over everyone.”
University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds made the case eloquently recently in USA Today.
And Rush Limbaugh put it this way: “If Trump doesn’t get a handle on the monopolies that exist now – Facebook, Google, Netflix, and … Amazon … we don’t have a prayer because they have monopolized social media, and, in the process of monopolizing it and mass media, they are excluding anything and everybody conservative.”
“The tentacles of this monopoly are woven much more deeply into the grain of our culture and society,” Limbaugh continued. “And they are every bit as partisan as anything ever has been. They are exclusionary. Anything to the right of Karl Marx is obliterated, is not permitted. It is simply eliminated from Facebook, Google, search results, you name it, and the impact that it is having on our culture is deleterious.”
If you really want to understand the threat, I have frequently hailed one outstanding documentary film on the subject – “The Creepy Line.” Every American needs to see it to grasp the potential stakes.
It’s not just conservatives and Christians and libertarians who recognize the dangers to our republic posed by Google, Facebook, Amazon and the rest.
Robert Epstein, a Harvard researcher who supported Hilary Clinton in 2016, studied the way Google and Facebook manipulate American public opinion and found these two tech giants have the power right now to shift “upwards of 12 million votes” in upcoming elections without those being turned even recognizing how they are being swayed.
I seldom agree with ultra-liberal Democrat Robert Reich, but he makes perfect sense when it comes to the Big Tech Crisis: “First, it stifles innovation. Contrary to the conventional view of a U.S. economy bubbling with inventive small companies, the rate at which new job-creating businesses have formed in the United States has been halved since 2004, according to the census. A major culprit: Big Tech’s sweeping patents, data, growing networks and dominant platforms have become formidable barriers to new entrants.
“The second problem is political,” says Reich, a diehard progressive. “These massive concentrations of economic power generate political clout that’s easily abused, as the New York Times investigation of Facebook reveals. How long will it be before Facebook uses its own data and platform against critics? Or before potential critics are silenced even by the possibility?”
Help me reach President Trump with this urgent message.
If we can’t break up Google, Facebook, Amazon and others in 2019, we may not have a free and fair election in 2020.
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