Advertising Giant GARM Illegally Censored Conservative Outlets, House Report Finds

Advertising Giant GARM Illegally Censored Conservative Outlets, House Report Finds

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media likely violated federal antitrust laws by censoring the speech of conservative news outlets and personalities, the House Judiciary Committee concludes in a new report.

GARM used its “tremendous market power in the advertising industry” to keep advertising dollars away from certain conservative news platforms, including Breitbart, Fox News, and The Daily Wire, according to the report released Wednesday by the committee chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

According to the report, emails show the alliance’s leadership strategized on how to use the coalition against news outlets with views that differ from its own.

“For an organization reliant on speech and persuasion in advertising, GARM appears to have anti-democratic views of fundamental American freedoms,” the House committee’s report warns.

It says the co-founder of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, Rob Rakowitz, has complained about people with “extreme global interpretation of the U.S. Constitution,” leading to his call for an “uncommon collaboration” to “rise above individual commercial interest.”

Section 1 of the Sherman Act makes unreasonable restraints of trade illegal, including certain group boycotts and coordinated actions that harm consumers. GARM’s conduct may violate that provision, the committee report says.

Others targeted by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s efforts to eliminate monetization include the social media giant X and its owner Elon Musk and Spotify and the popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” according to the report.

GARM, an initiative of the World Federation of Advertisers, includes every major advertising agency holding company in its ranks. The world’s largest media buying agency, GroupM, is on what GARM calls its Steer Team.

The stated goal of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media is to create a “common understanding” in the advertising industry of “what harmful and sensitive content is” as well as “where ads should not appear.” This is based on securing the “brand safety” of members.

Emails between Rakowitz and GroupM executives reveal a plan to monitor The Daily Wire looking for a reason to censor the outlet, using the same strategy used to censor Breitbart, the report says.

“There is an interesting parallel here with Breitbart,” Montgomery wrote in an October 2021 email. “Before Breitbart crossed the line and started spouting blatant misinformation, we had long discussions about whether we should include them on our exclusion lists.”

“As much as we hated their ideology and bull—t, we couldn’t really justify blocking them for misguided opinion,” he wrote. “We watched them very carefully, and it didn’t take long for them to cross the line.”

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.