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In October 2020, the Heritage Foundation set an important marker for the conservative movement when it rejected contributions from Facebook and Google. Kay Cole James, who was the foundation’s president at the time, explained in letters to both companies that Heritage “cannot in good conscience take money” from companies that “repeatedly and blatantly” unfairly target and censor conservatives.

But as we know from American Principles Project’s Big Tech Funding database, not all conservative organizations made the same commitment. Despite the fact that Big Tech companies — namely Facebook, Twitter, and Google — directly interfered in the 2020 election on behalf of Democrats and ultimately delivered President Joe Biden his victory, many conservative organizations still take Big Tech money today.

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Sadly, one of them is National Review.

I have been a National Review reader for more than 20 years. The magazine has been an enormous asset to both the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It still remains so to this day. I understand this might sound like concern trolling, but it’s not — I truly want National Review to be successful. I think it has a key role to play in strengthening the conservative coalition and advancing important policy priorities. It should be the flagship publication of our movement. It should lead the Republican Party in the fight against wokeism.

But there’s legitimate reason to doubt that the current leadership of National Review is up to the task. In early 2016, the magazine published its famous “Against Trump” issue, signaling the beginning of a period where National Review would find itself completely divorced from the Republican base. After Trump won the primary, and even into his first term, the magazine continued to maintain high profile writers that spent a great deal of their word counts denigrating President Trump, his policies, and his voters.

Let’s be honest: many conservatives in Washington publicly wrestled with how they felt about Donald Trump. Perhaps that is forgivable. After all, National Review did eventually part with some of its more obnoxious NeverTrump writers. But especially after the 2020 fiasco, conservatives have a valid grievance with anyone who claims to represent them while still propping up the Big Tech censorship regime.

In addition to taking direct funding from Google, National Review is also committed to a “strategic partnership” — read: a financial relationship — with NetChoice, a trade group representing Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta (Facebook), Twitter, and TikTok, a company tied directly to the Chinese Communist Party. While the extent of National Review’s relationship with Google and NetChoice isn’t publicly known, we can safely surmise that National Review is fulfilling several expected deliverables.

Last year, for example, National Review editor Charles C.W. Cooke wrote a column insisting that Section 230 should be left alone and that any attempt to amend it is “statist” and should be viewed as “anathema” to conservatism. In February, National Review ran an opinion piece from NetChoice’s Jennifer Huddleston calling for conservatives to oppose antitrust reform and instead embrace privacy legislation backed by the Big Tech companies.

National Review also features NetChoice ads prominently in its podcast “The Editors.” These ads have been running for weeks — and apologies, but they are lengthy in text form. Here’s an example of an ad read at the start of last Tuesday’s episode, which was read by Rich Lowry, National Review’s Editor-in-Chief:

Tuesday, July 12, Episode #450 (0:00 – 3:25)

Rich Lowry: New polling shows 65 percent of Americans blame Biden and the Democrats for rising inflation. If they stand on a united platform to fight inflation, Republicans will likely do very well in this year’s midterm elections. But some lawmakers like Rep. Ken Buck are degrading that strategy by backing proposals which 85 percent of Americans believe will make inflation worse. The last thing Republicans should be doing ahead of the midterms is supporting progressive pet projects. Only 1 percent of voters say they want Congress to focus on tech regulation, while 60 percent say they want lawmakers to focus on inflation. To win in November, Republicans should listen to the people and fight back against inflationary regulations being pushed by progressives. Join us in urging lawmakers to oppose Democratic pet projects like S. 2992 and tell Congress to focus on the issues that matter to you. Learn more about this fight and send a letter to your representatives at NetChoice.org/2992. That’s NetChoice.org/2992. This message brought to you of course by NetChoice.

(Intro music.)

Rich Lowry: Joe Biden descends towards politico zero, and New York City bodega worker stands his ground, and the Left lies and lies some more about abortion. We’ll discuss all of this and more on this edition of The Editors. I’m Rich Lowry, and I’m joined as always by the right and honorable Charles C.W. Cooke, Alexandra “Xan” DeSanctis, and the sage of authenticity woods, Jim Geraghty. You are of course listening to a National Review podcast. Your sponsors this episode are NetChoice, Babel, and ExpressVPN. More about all of them in due course. If for some reason you’re not already following us on a streaming service, you can find us everywhere from Spotify to iTunes. If you like what you hear here, please consider giving us a glowing five star review on iTunes. If you don’t like what you hear here, please forget I said anything.

And before I do anything else, I want to talk to you a little bit about NetChoice and its cause.

Our country is being rocked by soaring inflation, lackluster leadership, and chaos on the world stage. Americans need their legislatures to focus on the issues that matter and ease the economic pain that we are all feeling, but far too many politicians in Washington are focusing on their careers and pursuing pet projects, refusing to address our real problems. Senators like Amy Klobuchar are pushing a Big Government takeover of America’s tech industry through progressive regulations that would worsen inflation and make important digital services like Amazon Prime harder to use and more expensive. Conservatives must block progressive pet projects that will raise prices and undermine our world standing. These lawmakers are our last hope of keeping American innovation number one. Join us to tell Congress to stop raising prices and reject progressive tech regulations like S. 2992. Learn more about this fight and send a letter to your representatives at NetChoice.org/2992. This message brought to you by NetChoice. Again, check it out at NetChoice.org/2992.

And on Friday, National Review gave a NetChoice ad two full reads back to back for good measure. I’m not joking — they really wanted you to hear this one.

Friday, July 15, Episode #451 (0:00 – 3:20)

Rich Lowry: New polling shows 65 percent of Americans blame Biden and the Democrats for rising inflation if they stand on a united platform to fight inflation, Republicans will likely do very well in this year’s midterm elections, but some lawmakers like Representative Ken Buck are degrading that strategy by backing proposals which 85 percent of Americans believe will make inflation worse. 

The last thing that Republicans should be doing ahead of the midterms is supporting progressive pet projects. Only 1 percent of voters say they want Congress to focus on tech regulation, while 60 percent say they want lawmakers to focus on inflation. 

To win in November, Republicans should listen to the people and fight back against inflationary regulations pushed by progressives. Join us in urging lawmakers to oppose Democratic pet projects like S. 2992 and tell Congress to focus on the issues that matter to you. 

Learn more about this fight and send a letter to your representatives at NetChoice.org/2992. That’s NetChoice.org/2992. This message brought to you, of course, by NetChoice. 

(Intro music.)

Who’s winning the debate over pregnant-capable people, and how upscale can the Democrats go? We’ll discuss all of this and more on this edition of The Editors. I’m Rich Lowry, and I’m joined as always by the right and honorable Charles C.W. Cooke, Madeleine “Maddie” Kearns, and the notorious M.B.D., Michael Brendan Dougherty. You are of course listening to a National Review podcast. Our sponsors this episode are NetChoice, Link, and the new Brad Thor thriller, “Rising Tiger.” More about all of them in due course. If for some reason you’re not already following us on a streaming service, you can find us everywhere from Spotify to iTunes. And if you like what you hear here, please consider giving us a glowing five star review on iTunes. If you don’t like what you hear here, please forget I said anything.

So before we get into this Ep in earnest let me pause and give everyone a message from the aforementioned NetChoice. 

New polling shows 65 percent of Americans blame Biden and the Democrats for rising inflation if they stand on a united platform to fight inflation, Republicans will likely do very well in this year’s midterm elections, but some lawmakers like Representative Ken Buck are degrading that strategy by backing proposals which 85 percent of Americans believe will make inflation worse. 

The last thing that Republicans should be doing ahead of the midterms is supporting progressive pet projects. Only 1 percent of voters say they want Congress to focus on tech regulation, while 60 percent say they want lawmakers to focus on inflation. 

To win in November, Republicans should listen to the people and fight back against inflationary regulations pushed by progressives. Join us in urging lawmakers to oppose Democratic pet projects like S. 2992 and tell Congress to focus on the issues that matter to you. 

Learn more about this fight and send a letter to your representatives at NetChoice.org/2992. That’s NetChoice.org/2992. This message brought to you, of course, by NetChoice. 

Shilling for Big Tech

I’m not going to mince words here. These ads are ridiculous and embarrassing. They totally misrepresent the bipartisan efforts to rein in Big Tech, and they completely destroy National Review’s credibility with anyone remotely informed about what’s happening in Washington. The specific bill they’re referencing — the American Innovation and Choice Online Act — has (per my sources) at least 20 Republican Senators in support of it should Chuck Schumer call it for a vote.

The talking points here are just nauseating. “Inflationary regulations”? Give me a break. Here’s what I wrote for The Federalist in April about how Amazon currently uses its market power to screw over businesses and increase prices for consumers:

Consumers primarily use digital platforms like Amazon to buy products. Amazon effectively bans businesses that want to sell to these consumers from offering their products for a cheaper price anywhere else, even if a business could ship cheaper directly from its own website.

This is particularly tough because many businesses are forced to pay fees as high as 40 percent of the product price to maintain reasonable access to Amazon. Businesses often find they cannot appear under the sales option unless they sign up for Amazon fulfillment services, advertising, and participating in Prime.

All of these fees add up to a huge tax on businesses, and because of Amazon’s policies these firms are forced to charge that same price everywhere. AICO would forbid these unfair conditions and let businesses set their own prices on various platforms, which would immediately result in lower prices for consumers.

Seems like the monopolist status quo is pretty inflationary on its own! And while there’s plenty of room for good faith disagreement on the merits of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, the NetChoice polling numbers cited in the ads are absurd beyond belief. “Only 1 percent of voters say they want Congress to focus on tech regulation”? Yeah, okay, sure, let’s see how NetChoice phrased that question.

We asked swing state voters about antitrust back in May and got — ahem — very different results:

Turning to a different topic, please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement. Congress should pass bipartisan antitrust legislation that would rein in the power of the largest tech companies, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

Author: Jon Schweppe

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