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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Google Muscles Think Tanks

At The New York Times, Jonathan Taplin writes that the New America Foundation just fired scholar Barry Lynn.
What horrible, dangerous act had Mr. Lynn committed? He wrote a piece for New America’s website in support of the $2.7 billion fine the European Union levied against Google for antitrust violations in June. That post fit perfectly with the work of the Open Markets initiative he lead, which has been one of the strongest voices in Washington calling for more antitrust scrutiny of our economy. It’s the platform Mr. Lynn, Matt Stoller and Lina Khan have used to call for regulatory scrutiny of the tech monopolies like Google, Amazon and Facebook as these companies increasingly come to dominate our economy. But Google’s financial power at New America was apparently such that it could close the group down. Though Ms. Slaughter denies the connection between Google’s funding and her decision, the implication seems clear. A firm whose motto was “Don’t Be Evil” has no interest in being called a monopoly by a think tank it funds.
The Wall Street Journal’s report found that since 2009, Google had directly funded 100 papers written by academics and 100 papers that came through think tanks funded by Google. These papers make their way to the congressional committees and regulatory agencies that are charged with overseeing Google’s business, like the Federal Trade Commission.