The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2021 that HD-Media, LLC owned by Doug Reynolds had filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet, Inc.’s – Google claiming the tech giant manipulated the digital-advertising market, making it difficult for his paper to survive.
Fast forward to April 17, 2023 and WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined 16 other states in a lawsuit claiming that Google is monopolizing digital technology.
The HD-Media lawsuit was the first of its kind filed by a news outlet. Their lawsuit also included Facebook as a defendant and alleged the two companies colluded to rig digital markets through an agreement called “Jedi Blue”. The “Jedi Blue” agreement has been under scrutiny between other state’s attorneys general as well as the European Union.
HD Media CEO Doug Reynolds was the Democrat nominee who challenged Morrisey in 2016. Reynolds purchased the Gazette-Mail in 2018. The paper’s daily management is ran by WV House of Delegates Minority Leader Doug Skaff.
West Virginia joins 16 other states and has asked for a jury trial. The relief sought by these states includes monetary damages and breaking up the Google Advertising platform.
The lawsuit can be viewed here: PDF of Lawsuit