A first-of-its-kind antitrust action was filed Tuesday against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Washington Post, Reuters and Associated Press, seeking damages totaling millions of dollars based on the collusive censorship of online health and political news publishers who dared to question the narrative relating to vital matters such as the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine mandates.
The lawsuit reveals that by March 2020, a partnership was created called the Trusted News Initiative (TNI) between Big Tech and legacy media to exclude rival publishers from the dominant internet platforms. On Dec. 10, 2020, TNI agreed to focus on combatting the spread of harmful vaccine disinformation. This coordinated effort is, by definition, a classic unlawful “group boycott” to damage the ability of smaller publishers to compete or even survive.
Members of the TNI include legacy media outlets the BBC, The Washington Post, Reuters and Associated Press, along with social media and tech giants—Twitter, Meta (Facebook/Instagram), Microsoft/LinkedIn and Google/YouTube. The TNI members collectively hold 90% of the overall social media market, an 85% market share of the online social media news market, a 90% share of the social networking market, 75% of the video hosting market, and over 90% of the search-engine market.
The complaint points to multiple examples of what plaintiffs state violates antitrust laws.
“By their own admission, members of the ‘Trusted News Initiative’ (‘TNI’) agreed to work together, and have in fact worked together, to exclude from the world’s dominant Internet platforms rival news publishers who engage in reporting that challenges and competes with TNI members’ reporting on certain issues relating to COVID-19 and U.S. politics.
…For example, TNI members deemed the following to be ‘misinformation’ that could not be published on the world’s dominant Internet platforms: (A) claims that COVID originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China; (B) claims that the COVID vaccines do not prevent infection; (C) claims that vaccinated persons can transmit COVID to others; and (D) claims that compromising emails and videos were found on a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden.
…The TNI did not only prevent Internet users from making these claims; it shut down online news publishers who simply reported that such claims were being made by potentially credible sources, such as scientists and physicians.”
Important legal precedent is clear on the issues addressed in the antitrust lawsuit. As the Supreme Court stated in Associated Press v. United States, 326 U.S. 1, 20 (1945), “Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.” (emphasis added)
Dr. Ben Tapper, Dr. Joseph Mercola, independent news publisher and founder of The Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, independent journalists Ben Swann and Erin Elizabeth Finn, independent news outlets TrialSite News and Creative Destruction Media and health-freedom activists Ty and Charlene Bollinger join Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Children’s Health Defense (CHD) as plaintiffs.
“My uncle, President Kennedy, and my father, the Attorney General, sought to prosecute antitrust laws that are still on the nation’s books with vigor,” said Kennedy. “As private enforcers of those laws, we are confident that the Federal Court in Texas will vindicate our bedrock freedom to compete with legacy media in the marketplace of ideas.”
RFK, Jr. and CHD have long questioned the safety and efficacy of vaccines, more recently fighting COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. government mandates and other pandemic response actions.
“This lawsuit is about preserving our free speech rights as Americans and holding those involved in violating antitrust laws accountable, like the TNI. My husband and I remain steadfast in our commitment to highlighting the well-documented risks of COVID-19 vaccines and the myriad of dangers to those who have been misled by the media,” said Charlene Bollinger.
Ty and Charlene Bollinger have spent decades educating Americans about alternative medical treatments and run “The Truth about Cancer” and “The Truth about Vaccines” group pages.
“These are the twin evils of our day,” added Dr. Joseph Mercola, a plaintiff in the case. “Platforms partner with the alphabet soup of federal agencies to censor speech. Those same platforms and legacy media outlets conspire to boycott stories that don’t fit an official narrative about COVID and many other topics. Our nation’s founding fathers would be appalled and resolute in defense of maintaining an informed citizenry.”