Episode 67

Woke CEOs, Alex Jones, Antitrust Push, Kansas Abortion, Crypto Crackdown

Ravi, Cory, and Rikki begin with a wave of legislation in red states to combat “corporate wokeness,” as well as the Alex Jones’ defamation trial. From there, they discuss a push inside the Biden administration to crack down on large corporations, highlighting the work of a young and new FTC Commissioner dedicated to reigning in big tech. The hosts then discuss cellphone use in schools before finishing up with a few quick updates we’ve been covering in the news cycle.


Rikki starts off with a quick rundown of different legislations we’ve seen levied against “corporate wokeness,” while noting her own libertarian displeasure of business-government interaction. Ravi and Cory push back a bit, citing the hypocrisy of red-state legislators passing laws against “woke” companies while receiving donations from right-leaning businesses.

The hosts use Alex Jones’ defamation trial as a lens to examine the profitability of misinformation in this country. They discuss the tenuous balance between protecting free speech and protecting those whom free speech could harm. 

Ravi begins with a succinct timeline of antitrust policy in the U.S. before examining FTC Chair, Lina Khan’s, case against Meta’s acquisition of Within and how it upends decades of FTC standards. Rikki provides a clear cut example of standard FTC antitrust policy in Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster. Cory questions the seemingly pick & choose nature of antitrust cases in the US. 

Ravi, a former principal himself, voices his support for a push in grade schools to ban phones inside the classroom. Rikki agrees with a caveat while Cory pushes back, citing the need for teenagers to have phones in extenuating circumstances.

The hosts end with some rapid fire stories to get you caught up on what’s happening in the news, including Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’s punishment from the NFL, Kansas’ recent vote to block an abortion ban, and possible regulations for the crypto industry.

States vs. Woke CEOs [00:50]

How Republican-led states are targeting Wall Street with ‘anti-woke’ laws (Reuters, 07/06)
The ‘Stakeholders’ vs. the People (The Wall Street Journal, 02/12/2020)
The Rise of ‘Woke Capital’ Is Nothing to Celebrate (The New York Times, 04/28/2021)
Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam (Vivek Ramaswamy, 08/17/2021)

Alex Jones Update/Reax [14:20]

Alex Jones concedes that the Sandy Hook attack was “100% real” (NPR, 08/03)
Alex Jones trial – live: Conspiracy theorist to pay Sandy Hook family $4m compensation as verdict reached (Independent, 08/04)
Emotional testimony at Alex Jones trial (YouTube, 08/03)
Alex Jones says the judge and plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Sandy Hook trial “all act demonically possessed” and are “committed to occult ideology of the new world order” (Media Matters for America, 08/02)
Alex Jones Gun Moment Tweet (Twitter, 08/02)

Antitrust Round-Up [22:50]

Biden’s Antitrust Team Signals a Big Swing at Corporate Titans (The New York Times, 07/24)
Justice Department Makes Quiet Push on Antitrust Enforcement (The Wall Street Journal, 10/09/21)
The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the U.S. Antitrust Movement (Harvard Business Review, 12/5/2017)
F.T.C. Chair Upends Antitrust Standards With Meta Lawsuit (The New York Times, 07/28)
FTC’s Khan Overruled Staff to Sue Meta Over VR App Deal (Bloomberg, 07/29)
Will the Biggest Publisher in the United States Get Even Bigger? (The New York Times, 07/31)
Stephen King Testifies Against Book-Publishing Merger (The Wall Street Journal, 08/02)
What Happens When a Publisher Becomes a Megapublisher? (The New York Times, 02/05/21)
Trial Begins in Justice Department’s Bid to Block Book Publishing Merger (The Wall Street Journal, 08/01)
Rumble’s antitrust lawsuit against Google can proceed, says judge (The Verge, 08/02)
Phil Mickelson, 10 other LIV golfers, file antitrust suit against PGA Tour (The Washington Post, 08/03)

Cell Phones in School [39:20]

Take Away Their Cellphones (Education Next, 08/02)

Rapid Fired: NFL Suspends Dolphins Owner, Kansas Abortion Vote, Senate Crypto CFTC [47:24]

NFL suspends Dolphins owner, strips team of 2023 first-rounder for Tom Brady, Sean Payton tampering (CBS, 08/02)
Kansas votes to preserve abortion rights in their state constitution (The New York Times, 08/03)
‘No’ prevails: Kansas votes to protect abortion rights in state constitution (The Kansas City Star, 08/03)
Senate Plan Would Put Bitcoin, Ether Under Commodity Regulator’s Watch (The Wall Street Journal, 08/03)