Thanks to California’s Insane New AB5 Law, You Will Be Reading Me a Lot Less on Mediaite in 2020
For better or worse, you will very likely be reading a lot less of me on Mediaite.com in 2020.
No, this isn’t because I don’t like writing on this platform, or because they don’t want me to keep articulating my often contrarian/conservative opinions on their website as a “senior columnist.” In fact, 2019 has actually been an outstanding year for both sides of this relationship, the fourth straight year in which I have been a regular columnist for this news source.
Instead, it is because of an absurd new law — signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 18, which will take effect tomorrow here in California — I will, arbitrarily and nonsensically, be limited to only 35 articles on any one outlet in 2020. The law, AB5, which was intended to combat freelance workers being taken advantage of by the “gig economy,” has already caused hundreds of other California writers to completely lose their jobs, and the carnage resulting from the easily-foreseen unintended consequences of this regulation has only just begun.
The law, written by progressive Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, puts all sorts of crazy restrictions on “freelance” workers based on at least two very flawed premises. One is that no one really wants to be a “freelancer,” and the other is that employers will be thrilled to make such workers “full-time” if they no longer have the option of otherwise employing them, as they previously had, for the full year.
As for the draconian restrictions on freelance writers (just one of many categories of workers negatively impacted by the law), they are straight out of the George Orwell’s prescient 1984 novel. Gonzalez has admitted that there was no real logic to the 35 number and that, at best, it is based on an extremely antiquated notion of how often you need to submit work in the Internet era in order to get paid anything close to legitimate paycheck. For instance, my current agreement with Mediaite has me writing 120 columns per year, which is far less than any of their other regular contributors.
Now, in response to AB5, I could have theoretically become a regular employee of Mediaite, but that would not have worked right now for either party. I am too busy to write full-time due to other projects (including two young children with a wife about to go back to work), and, because columnists can’t possibly produce the amount of content that creators of video/news posts can, it makes little sense for Mediaite to absorb the extra expenses/risk needed to satisfy the new law.
Consequently, barring a legislative miracle, my contributions to this website in 2020 will only be a small fraction of what they have been over the last few years. While there has been a huge backlash against the law (including a class-action lawsuit), and it is presumed that it will eventually be amended for 2021 to reduce at least some of its more overt insanity, Gonzalez is still defending her grotesque governmental overreach, even resorting to profanity on Twitter while openly insulting those who have the audacity to think freelance work actually fits well into their current lifestyles.
Of course, it is difficult to overstate the irony of a progressive Democrat creating a law which, as one tiny impact of thousands, will help mute a strong, national, anti-Trump voice in what will likely be a very close election year. In fact, it is hard to think of anything which better encapsulates the ridiculousness of what California’s one-party progressive rule has routinely triggered than this entire fiasco (Gonzalez, who represents an overwhelming Democratic district along the border, has zero fear of being ousted at the ballot box over this outrage she has created).
So, while there is a pretty good chance you will see some of my writing elsewhere in addition to Mediaite.com in 2020, I wanted to explain why you will surely be reading less of my columns here in the coming year. I also want to thank Mediaite’s editor in chief Aidan McLaughlin, and founder Dan Abrams, for their support of my work in 2019, with the hope that we can properly ration my 35 columns in 2020, and that perhaps the relationship can expand again in 2021, without fear of anyone going to jail.
Thankfully, it looks like 2020 will be a pretty slow year for news…
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.