The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ashley Woolheater,

One of the Most Important Antitrust Cases in American History: Our Reaction to the DOJ’s Historic Suit Against Google

Today, Open Markets Institute Executive Director Barry Lynn released the following statement on the Department of Justice's intent to bring suit against Google parent company, Alphabet, over its monopolization of digital advertising:

"Today's lawsuit by the Department of Justice against Google for the monopolization of advertising will be remembered as one of the most important antitrust cases in American history. No previous corporation has ever posed such a direct threat to U.S. democracy, or to individual freedom of expression, action, and thought. All of us at the Open Markets Institute commend the entire staff of the Antitrust Division for their vision, courage, and selflessness.

"The breadth and scope of Google's threat to the American way of life is astounding. Never before has a single private institution concentrated so much power and control over so many corners of our nation's political economy. But the most dangerous threat of all is Google's theft of advertising dollars through large-scale and pervasive surveillance that, since before the Revolution, have ensured the independence and economic health of America's free press. The cost has been enormous. Tens of thousands of journalism jobs destroyed. Thousands of newspapers and other news outlets bankrupted. Every publisher, no matter how big, made fearful of speaking out.

"Today's case builds on the Justice Department's important recent victory blocking a wide-ranging merger between two dominant book publishers. These two cases, taken together, demonstrate that top federal regulators fully understand what is at stake and intend to use every tool at hand to protect and rebuild our democracy. Executives at other corporations should pay very close heed.

"For all of us at Open Markets, today's action is also personally satisfying. As working journalists and lawyers we have long led efforts to shine a light on the many ways that Google threatens our ability to gather, analyze, and share information, and to engage in constructive debate with one another. This includes hosting the first public discussion of Google's threat to democracy, in 2016, and the first full conference on Google's monopolization of advertising dollars in 2018, an event we titled Breaking the News. It includes carrying these warnings straight into the U.S. Congress and into the European Parliament in Brussels. It includes establishing the Center for Journalism and Liberty, with support from the Knight Foundation, in 2019 to drive this work forward.

"The American people have taken many brave stands against monopoly, going back to the Boston Tea Party. Given the foundational importance of being able to communicate freely with one another, no action stands taller than today's."

The Open Markets Institute works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today's unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power. By combining policy, legal, and market structure expertise with sophisticated communications and outreach efforts, Open Markets seeks not only to hold today's monopolies accountable for abuse of power, but to rebuild an economic system where progress is easier to achieve, because power is far more widely and equitably distributed