Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton discussed practical ways to curb Big Tech’s monopoly on the public discourse during a Wednesday night segment of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Do you think we can “have a democracy in the same country as Google?” Carlson asked Hilton to begin the segment.
“Google wouldn’t even consider this to be a political intervention,” said Hilton, referring to Tuesday’s news about Google executives trying to tip the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016. “To them, the idea of a Trump presidency is so unthinkable and unacceptable that working to block it just regulates like breathing to them.”
Hilton laid out two steps that should be taken to circumvent Google’s “dominance.”
“First of all, we need to actually require Google to reverse the power grab that it’s already made,” said Hilton. “It’s actually built itself up by acquisition. It needs to sell YouTube, sell Android, all these little bits of its empire that it has acquired but we need to go a lot further than that.”
Hilton contended that President Trump could “take forward” a “radical anti-trust agenda,” like Teddy Roosevelt did in his day, to break up the stranglehold that larger companies have on the market.
“We wouldn’t mind so much about these accusations of bias and so on if there were 100 search engines that people could choose between,” he said. “But it’s not like that.”
“So that’s the crux of it right there,” said Tucker. “You are hearing Google, or you have for the past ten years, Google, Facebook and a number of other companies defended on pro-market grounds,” Tucker said before making the point that a “monopoly changes the calculation completely.”
Conservatives typically recoil at the notion of “government regulating business,” Hilton contended while noting that his suggestion was entirely different. “Antitrust action to force competition into a market, that is the antidote to regulation. That is the exact way we avoid having to intervene in the exact behavior of individual companies. You’ve gotta have competition, so this is a pro-market argument.”
Hilton detailed the way company mergers and acquisitions lead to companies “getting more and more dominant.”
“We’ve got to stop it and that’s a conservative argument, a pro-market argument,” said Hilton.
“Of course, this is not the capitalism I signed up for,” responded Carlson. “It’s not capitalism. This is the Chinese model, transplanted to the United States. So quickly, we need to trust the algorithm. We need to trust that Google search results are not being designed to favor one candidate or party over another. We have to, because they control all human information. How do we trust them?”
“One thing that I think would be very helpful would be to have transparency,” said Hilton. “Some people have called for algorithms that are used by these companies and others that we haven’t discussed to be made public. Not all the details – there’s commercial secrets in there – but to be supervised, to have a board of independent algorithms and scrutineers if you like, that can try and give the public some sense of reassurance.”
“I think really, in the long run, it’s competition that is the real answer,” concluded Hilton.