Corporations fear bad pub more than voter suppression. Plus: Newspapers sue. Sleep in.

By Gary Abernathy

Corporations fear bad publicity, not voter suppression

There has been a spate of stories and opinion columns suggesting that corporate America has abandoned Republicans over the issue of voter suppression. This narrative claims that GOP efforts to require tougher standards to avoid voter fraud amount to “suppression” and are leading to consequences like Major League Baseball moving its all-star game and other corporations from locating in certain states, or threatening to move or withhold campaign contributions, or merely issuing statements supporting voting rights and rebuking “suppression” efforts.

Let’s be honest. Corporations, by and large, aren’t bothered by state legislative actions on anything other than taxes and other business regulations. What they are bothered by is the notion of being the focus of protests or a drumbeat of unfavorable media stories, i.e., “Coca-Cola stays silent on Georgia voter suppression.”

Corporations understand that the mainstream media will, by and large, unfortunately support and echo the narrative about voter suppression, and can put corporations in the crosshairs of negative publicity. So it’s easier to play along, issue statements to appease the left, and get on with their day.

That’s all that’s happening, as opposed to a sudden development of a liberal conscience, or becoming appalled at new GOP-backed voting laws. And that’s why Republicans shouldn’t overreact in response. Corporations will be back in their corner soon enough, when legislation is needed to help them survive, grow and prosper.

Newspapers sue tech giants over lost revenue

An interesting lawsuit was filed this week by newspaper publishers against Facebook and Google. Here’s how Editor & Publisher magazine described it:

Publishers of 125 newspapers in 11 states filed or announced lawsuits against Google and Facebook on Monday claiming the tech giants have unlawfully monopolized the digital advertising market and engaged in an illegal secretive deal, nicknamed “Jedi Blue,” to thwart competition.

Fourteen complaints were filed or announced by publishers from Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, New Jersey, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland and Delaware. The claims follow a pioneering January 2021 antitrust suit against Google and Facebook filed by HD Media, a West Virginia-based newspaper company that publishes the Pulitzer Prize winning Charleston Gazette-Mail and (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch.

The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and several state attorneys general previously filed antitrust claims against the digital giants. Editor & Publisher reports that newspaper ad revenue has plummeted from $49 billion in 2006 to $16.5 billion in 2017, “threatening the existence of local news, according to the complaints.”

Facebook, Google and other digital giants need to have their monopolies scrutinized and their power reined in, both in regard to unfair competitive practices and in light of their decision to stifle information and opinion. Many newspapers that are complaining about lost revenue should also take up the cause of free speech, rather than cheering the decisions of these digital bullies when they censor conservative voices in particular, or suppress ideas that challenge the status quo on topics like covid.

Hit snooze: Study says working from home productive

Check this out: “A new study finds that, in fact, remote work does indeed make us more productive. The work-from-home boom will lift productivity in the U.S. economy by 5%, mostly because of savings in commuting time, the study says.”

The study was sponsored by the group, “Slackers Who Hate Going to Work.” Just kidding. It was actually a paper co-authored by Jose Maria Barrero of the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven J. Davis of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Hoover Institution. Read more about it here.

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