There has been much talk in recent months and years about how the major Silicon Valley tech and social media companies have grown too big, too fast, and are wielding an inordinate amount of control over society, prompting some on both the right and the left — for vastly differing reasons — to call for the federal government to intervene by way of regulations on those companies.
But federal regulations aren’t the only tool the government has to rein in massive monopolistic corporations — like the tech firms and social media platforms — and conservative talk radio king Rush Limbaugh spent some time on Monday’s program discussing that governmental tool … trust-busting, a la former President Teddy Roosevelt.
Limbaugh drew attention to an op-ed article in USA Today by “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds, which suggested that President Donald Trump should follow Roosevelt’s example and “trust-bust” the society-domineering monopolies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, not to mention a few others like them.
“Teddy Roosevelt busted up the trusts, among them Standard Oil, the Rockefeller family, and J. P. Morgan, who was on the verge of owning the United States financial markets,” said Limbaugh. He added, “You know, I don’t like monopolies, and I really hate government intervention, but this social media stuff is getting totally out of hand.”
Limbaugh referenced a recent poll which showed that roughly 42 percent of Americans believed that Russians had colluded with Trump to interfere in the 2016 election, even to the point of tampering with vote totals, and exclaimed, “This has been one of the most successful hoaxes that has ever been run in politics,” as he proceeded to point directly at social media platforms for helping along “one of the most successful disinformation campaigns ever.”
The radio host noted that, despite no real evidence to support the myth of Russian collusion and interference — indeed, also in spite of ample evidence to the contrary — it was the monopolistic social media platforms and tech companies that helped promote that Russian collusion myth to the point that four in ten Americans actually believe it unquestioningly.
Circling back to the call for trust-busting of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, Limbaugh said, “They have become monopolies. But more importantly, they have become monopolies of information. The old Drive-By Media, old mainstream media had a monopoly on the news, and it was a profound monopoly, three networks and all the newspapers.” (Thankfully, Limbaugh himself helped break up that liberal monopoly with his program years ago, and opened the door for alternative conservative media outlets like this one to thrive in a more competitive media market.)
“This is far more dense. 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.”
Limbaugh agreed with Reynolds’ conclusion that, if Trump didn’t do something soon to counter the monopolistic control of big tech and social media — such as Roosevelt-style trust-busting — he likely wouldn’t stand a chance at being re-elected in 2020, as the power to control information by those monopolies would have grown too great to overcome.
Reading from Reynolds’ article, Limbaugh said, “‘Big monopolies aren’t just an economic threat: They’re a political threat. Because they’re largely free of market constraints,’ because they don’t have any competition, ‘they don’t have to put all their energy into making a better product for less money. Instead, they put a lot of their energy into political manipulation to protect their monopoly.'”
“These are people who are uber-leftists. Whether you’re talking Amazon, Netflix, Google, Facebook, they are all uber-leftists, and they are not just setting up their systems here to make money,” he continued. “They’re setting up their systems to influence public opinion.”
Following further discussion and examples of the obvious liberal bias against conservatives among the big tech firms and social media platforms, as well as the mainstream media, Limbaugh returned to Reynolds’ article and read, “‘Today, things look a lot like Teddy Roosevelt’s era,’ with Standard Oil and J. P. Morgan. ‘A few monopolies occupy much of the tech world: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google … They gobble up potential competitors, as Facebook did with WhatsApp and Instagram.'”
“‘These new tech monsters,’ writes Glenn Reynolds, ‘have a one-two punch that Standard Oil (didn’t have): Not only do they control immense wealth and important industries, but their fields of operation … give them direct political power that in many ways exceeds that of previous monopolies of the Teddy Roosevelt era,” he continued.
“This is exactly right,” Limbaugh added. “They should be busted up. They are monopolies controlling the flow of information.”
Limbaugh concluded that the social media construct of today had grown “untenable,” and said, “The left loves to throw around the word ‘fairness.’ They’re obsessed by it. There isn’t any fairness. There isn’t anything approaching fairness in the social media universe. Busting them up as monopolies is not to facilitate conservatism. It is to help American consumers by providing competition and so forth, which they, these companies, are all shutting out by buying them up.”
Rush Limbaugh himself said — and countless conservatives and libertarians agree — that government intervention in the private market is generally a thing to be avoided. However, in instances of corporations gaining monopolistic control of those markets, intervention in the form of trust-busting is much more preferable than the imposition of strict regulations that transfer too much control to government bureaucracies. We tend to agree, and look forward to Trump emulating Roosevelt in breaking up the massive corporations that exert undue control over markets and society in general.
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