An anti-trust lawsuit has been filed against major media outlets by a partnership of plaintiffs that includes some independent news organizations and critics of the government’s approach to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The suit targets the Washington Post, Reuters, the Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Corp., which formed what they dubbed the Trusted News Initiative.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, Children’s Health Defense, Dr. Ben Tapper, Dr. Joseph Mercola, The Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, journalists Ben Swann and Erin Elizabeth Finn and independent news outlets TrialSite News, Creative Destruction Media and activists Ty and Charlene Bollinger filed the suit.
In its reporting, The Gateway Pundit called the suit a “first-of-its-kind antitrust action.”
Kennedy, the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, drew parallels between this lawsuit and the work that his famous relatives undertook.
“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. 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,” Kennedy said.
Hoft said what he called a “landmark lawsuit” would “address and preserve the free speech rights in America.”
When the Trusted News Initiative debuted in December 2020, the BBC said its purpose was to “focus on combatting the spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.”
“TNI partners will alert each other to disinformation which poses an immediate threat to life so content can be reviewed promptly by platforms, whilst publishers ensure they don’t unwittingly republish dangerous falsehoods,” the BBC said on its website.
Bunk, replied the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, who allege the media organizations in the partnership 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.”
“While the ‘Trusted News Initiative’ publicly purports to be a self-appointed ‘truth police’ extirpating online ‘misinformation,’ in fact it has suppressed wholly accurate and legitimate reporting in furtherance of the economic self-interest of its members,” the lawsuit said, claiming that the group’s partners have tried to suppress speech concerning the origin of the coronavirus, Hunter Biden’s laptop and the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The suit said TNI’s partners “suppressed competition in the online news market” and “did so out of economic self-interest” while depriving the public of important information.
The suit alleged that the media outlets wanted to freeze out not only the small online news sources in the lawsuit, but all online news outlets to maintain their share of the news market.
The suit noted that “the combined audience of the new, non-mainstream online news publishers is in the tens (or hundreds) of millions, and because their reporting frequently challenges and undermines legacy news reporting, repeatedly demonstrating to large sectors of the consuming public that legacy news organizations often report false, incomplete, or ideologically biased information, undermining trust in those organizations and thereby threatening their entire brand and business model.”
The lawsuit said that the media outlets being sued partnered with Big Tech to impact small online news outlets. The suit referenced technology giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, none of whom are being sued.
“The TNI’s core purpose, from the beginning, was to enlist the Big Tech platforms into a partnership with Legacy News publishers in order to achieve the suppression of competitively threatening online reporting—a suppression that the Legacy News Members could not achieve themselves. That’s why the Legacy News Members persuaded the Big Tech Members to join their ‘collaboration.’”
As the suit pictures it, “TNI’s Big Tech Members have agreed to keep other, rival online news suppliers from reaching the market if they publish Prohibited Claims.”
“In execution of this agreement, when rival news publishers engage in Prohibited Reporting, the TNI’s Big Tech Members subject such publishers to censorship, disparagement of their content as false or unreliable, de-monetization, invisibility or demotion (in search results), shadow-banning, throttling, and ultimately de-platforming,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.