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Herbst: Newspapers' antitrust exemption request is a long shot

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst said Tuesday that he doesn't have high hopes for the antitrust exemption newspapers want to negotiate a better deal with Facebook and Google."First of all, I don't think it's going to happen in the current environment," Herbst told me said at the Technology Policy Institute's annual conference. "And it was bad luck for the News Media Alliance that the Democrats then just came out a few weeks later with their platform — it featured, if anything, a skepticism of concentration in all its forms."Reminder: The Democrats' "Better Deal" package contains recommendations for strengthening antitrust laws, not weakening them as an exemption would do, albeit in an minor way.Why it matters: Questions are swirling about the power that the big tech platforms have over content publishers as legacy media outlets continue to struggle. It also feeds into the larger debate over whether the biggest tech firms are too powerful overall, especially when it comes to online advertising.