The FTC chair’s efforts to curb corporate power ‘raise questions’—from Corporate America.

by Bradley Blankenship, FAIR

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lost a key antitrust case on July 11 after a federal judge rejected the agency’s move to halt Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game holding company Activision Blizzard.

FTC Chair Lina Khan has argued that, win or lose, the mere act of taking tech behemoths to court would be a partial victory by signaling the pressing need to update antitrust laws for today’s digital economy (New York Times, 12/7/22). But the Times‘ Cecilia Kang (7/11/23) wrote that the latest rulings “raise questions” about Khan’s strategy, with “critics…speaking out more loudly.” As to which critics are raising these questions, the Times buries the lead.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) in conversation with Sara Carter during CPAC Texas 2022 conference at Hilton Anatole

The three critical voices, representing a “tide of criticism,” as the Times described it, represent industry and the right. Adam Kovacevich, chief executive of Chamber of Progress (identified as “a tech trade group”), is quoted, “All these court losses are making their threats look more like a paper tiger.” Chamber of Progress lists among its “partners” companies like AmazonGoogle and Meta, each of which have been sued by the FTC on several occasions for monopolistic business practices. The group has been outspoken against government antitrust efforts.

Ashley Baker of the Committee for Justice, identified by the Times as “a conservative think tank,” added that the FTC has “crossed the line to being reckless with the cases they are bringing.” Baker is more relevantly identified as the founder of the Alliance on Antitrust, described by Washington Monthly (5/25/21) as “an organization dedicated to pushing a pro-monopoly line on Republicans.” The Alliance’s member organizations, the Monthly reported, “receive financial support from Big Tech,” as well as “from monopolistic corporations in other sectors such as oil and gas, Big Ag, telecom, banking and pharmaceuticals.”

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