Ben Shapiro To Testify In Major Media Lawsuit

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will investigate Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a body that arranged member organizations to collude on news outlet stipulations and request demonetization of dissident targets.The showstopper witness is The Daily Wire’s Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro.

The Judiciary Committee began probing GARM more than a year ago, when then-Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote to the head of both GARM and its parent organization, the World Federation of Advertisers, warning that it appeared as though GARM was “potentially violating U.S. antitrust law by coordinating their members’ efforts to demonetize and eliminate disfavored content online.” 

This outlook is also shared by Shapiro who has described GARM as part of “a network of global elites who have created a universal framework full of guidelines and ratings designed to enforce ‘approved’ narratives and punish disapproved ones.”

The executives at a consumer goods giant, Unilever, and GroupM — the world’s largest media buying agency will also testify before the Judiciary hearing.

In emails to GARM members, Jordan has written of documents the committee says it obtained that “directly link” a steering committee member with censorship directed at conservative news and suggest such efforts are grounded in politics rather than brand safety.

Jordan stated in one of the public letters to the companies that “Evidence the Committee has obtained suggests that GARM members, led by Steer Team members, are colluding to demonetize conservative platforms and voices,” Jordan wrote in public correspondence to the companies. “Further, this coordination does not always revolve around ‘brand safety’ and ‘harmful’ content as GARM publicly claims, but instead the desire to censor conservative and other views that GARM members disfavor.”

Although newly formed in 2019, G.A.R.M is actually an initiative from the World Federation of Advertisers. The Brand Safety Floor & Suitability Framework is its lead initiative and the IAB hopes that it will be adopted industry-wide to combat “the challenge of harmful online content.”

Less than a year after GARM was launched, the World Economic Forum proclaimed it one of its “Platform for Shaping Media, Entertainment and Culture” flagship projects.

In an effort to enforce the goal, GARM describes its mission is to create a “common understanding” in the whole industry of “what harmful and sensitive content is” as well as “where ads should not appear,” basing it all on the importance of “brand safety” for its members.

Shapiro asserts that “Brand safety” is a ‘dog whistle’ for censorship and the GARM decision has set up arbitrary standards which censor news it disagrees with.

Jordan’s Judiciary Committee has previously unearthed emails linking the White House to pressuring Facebook, a massive social media corporation, into restricting businesses such as reigning top publisher on the platform The Daily Wire. 

Some members of the ad industry have characterized Jordan’s probe as an assault, even going so far as to claim that it could create a “chilling effect” on its work to save company partners from wasting their ad dollars.

The Judiciary Committee said that the member firms have been apprised of evidence in the possession of the judiciary committee which will reveal how they operate based on “idiosyncratic personal biases.”

“These companies know the evidence collected shows that members of GARM have worked for years to spread their personal biases and censor conservative voices and journalists online,” a committee spokesman said. “These companies are simply trying to get ahead of the incriminating evidence before it becomes public.”

The Judiciary Committee subpoenaed GARM and the WFA in December when they declined a request to turn over documents. GARM chief Rob Rakowitz had previously been asked to testify by the committee after which he agreed to appear voluntarily for transcribed testimony.

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