Not just Big Tech: Legacy media slapped with antitrust lawsuit for censoring covid-related content
By Ethan Huff // Jan 13, 2023

The so-called "Trusted News Initiative" (TNI) faces a new lawsuit from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and multiple other plaintiffs who say the self-described "industry partnership" colluded with Big Tech firms and the legacy media to censor online news content.

First launched in March 2020 at the onset of "covid," the TNI worked alongside social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as numerous legacy media outlets, to silence people's free speech, which is unconstitutional and violates antitrust restrictions, the suit alleges.

The BBC, The Associated Press (AP), Reuters, and The Washington Post, among others, are all members of TNI, and are thus named as defendants in the suit.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas-Amarillo Division, the suit claims that the defendants are guilty of colluding with Big Tech to "collectively censor online news," including stories about covid and the 2020 presidential election that defied the official narrative.

Plaintiffs in the suit include Children's Health Defense (CHD), Creative Destruction Media, Trial Site News, Ty and Charlene Bollinger (founders of The Truth About Cancer and The Truth About Vaccines), independent journalist Ben Swann, Erin Elizabeth Finn (publisher of Health Nut News), Jim Hoft (founder of The Gateway Pundit), Dr. Joseph Mercola and Ben Tapper, a chiropractor.

(Related: Remember when Google banned any mention of covid "vaccines" from its survey platform?)

Systematically silencing certain viewpoints is discriminatory and anti-First Amendment

All of the aforementioned plaintiffs joined the suit because they claim they were among those who were censored, banned, de-platformed, shadow-banned, or in some way penalized by the Big Tech firms that are partnered with TNI. Being accused of spreading "misinformation" and "disinformation," they say, resulted in loss of visibility and revenue.

TNI is also accused of using an "early warning system" targeted specifically against the plaintiffs and others to discriminate against their content. Big Tech also used this early warning system along with legacy media partners to engage in a "group boycott" against the 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," remarked Kennedy about the suit.

"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."

Mary Holland, CHD's president and general counsel, added that she is thrilled this case is starting to move through the system. Holland hopes that it will be given a fair hearing and hopefully lead to justice.

"To have a free society, you have to have free speech, you have to have a diversity of views," she said. "We don't have the same views as all of the other plaintiffs by far ... but we want to protect the marketplace of ideas."

"If, in fact, the government and the corporations they collaborate with can engage in censorship and propaganda nonstop, and there are no alternative voices, democracy is dead."

The United States is a constitutional republic as opposed to a democracy, just to be clear, but Holland's sentiment is still worthwhile. If free speech becomes taboo, then the Constitution effectively becomes null and void – and we cannot allow that to happen.

Plaintiffs in the case are requesting a jury trial and treble damages based on allegations of "rule of reason" violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. This is based on direct and circumstantial evidence of horizontal agreement and economic collusion among the defendants and their Big Tech partners.

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