Ross Douthat: Warren is right go after Google and Facebook

But she’s wrong to lump them with Apple and Amazon, says the New York Times’ most conservative columnist.


Transcribed from the March 13 episode of The Argument: “One-on-One With Elizabeth Warren

Douthart: I think Warren is making a mistake by trying to go after Silicon Valley in full.

I think the smart version of what Warren is doing would separate Google and especially Facebook from Amazon and Apple, and make a bigger issue of Facebook and Google’s stronger monopolies and their control over the flow of information, which is something that Apple and Amazon don’t exercise.

And say: “Look, we’re not going after all of Silicon Valley, we’re going after these specific bad actors who have a different kind of monopoly than what Amazon is trying to build.”

I think Warren is right to go after Silicon Valley, but she and all Silicon-Valley crusaders need to do a better job of sort of dividing and conquering, rather than trying to take on the full tech panoply, as it stands.

David Leonhardt: Oh Ross, whenever you go populist I like to end the segment.

My take: I highly recommend this weekly podcast from the New York Times. Every Thursday on The Argument, three New York Times op-ed columnists take on an issue of the day, pitting Douthat on the right against Michelle Goldberg on the left with Leonhardt somewhere in the liberal middle. I don’t often agree with Douthat. This may be the first time.