On Monday, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA), senior members of the House Energy and House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, sent letters to several cable and streaming services questioning their “ethical principles” in deciding which channels to carry.
The letter stated that, “Some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.”
The letter went on to say, “Misinformation on TV has led to our current polluted information environment that radicalizes individuals to commit seditious acts and rejects public health best practices, among other issues in our public discourse.”
The letter chastises the TV providers for not “taking any action” against the conservative outlets, whom they blame for the Capitol riot:
Have you taken any adverse actions against a channel, including Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, for using your platform to disseminate disinformation related directly or indirectly to the November 3, 2020 elections, the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, or COVID-19 misinformation?
The letter, sent to Verizon, Comcast, Amazon, Google, Apple, Roku, and Hulu, appears like a demand to the TV providers to justify why they carry conservative channels, which the Democrats specifically mentioned: Fox News, One America News Network (OANN), and Newsmax TV.
Conservatives and Republicans see the letter as an implicit threat or demand that the providers take unapproved outlets off the air.
Two House Democrats sent a letter to every major cable provider essentially demanding that they stop carrying the conservative news networks Fox, Newsmax, and One America News, as reported by Politico.https://t.co/WFG3u7kr0P
— American Greatness (@theamgreatness) February 23, 2021
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Democrats Want To Silence Conservative Voices
The election was barely over before the Democrat Party decided it would declare war on their ideological opponents, and the media were more than happy to assist.
CNN was among the first to publicly question why Fox News Channel was allowed on the air.
On January 8, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson announced on his show that, not only was this happening, but that “CNN staffers had already contacted the six major cable carriers in this country, the companies that carry our signal into your home, and pressured them to drop Fox News.”
“On what pretext you may ask? On the pretext that this show and others on the channel are directly responsible for the violence at the U.S. Capitol this week,” Carlson said.
Even the name of the hearing seems to illustrate just exactly what the intentions are of Democrats, who seem to have trouble with views that are different from theirs own: “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.”
The statement put out by the committee gave off a still more chilling idea.
“The spread of disinformation and extremism by traditional news media presents a tangible and destabilizing threat. Some broadcasters’ and cable networks’ increasing reliance on conspiracy theories and misleading or patently false information raises questions about their devotion to journalistic integrity.”
#Censorship is coming! “Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing entitled, ‘Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.’”
Look out #conservativemedia
— Todd V. McMurtry (@ToddMcMurtry) February 23, 2021
Response Was Swift And To The Point
In a report from “The Hill”, all news channels named in the letter were quick to respond. The statement from Fox News Channel read:
“As the most watched cable news channel throughout 2020, FOX News Media provided millions of Americans with in-depth reporting, breaking news coverage and clear opinion. For individual members of Congress to highlight political speech they do not like and demand cable distributors engage in viewpoint discrimination sets a terrible precedent.”
Newsmax also defended their coverage and denounced the letter:
“The House Democrats’ attack on free speech and basic First Amendment rights should send chills down the spines of all Americans. Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the recent election contest.”
Republicans were also quick to respond to what they say is an attempt to quell any dissent from Democrat opposition and silence any viewpoints they disagree with.
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-WA) stated that it is “a dangerous escalation” that might lead to a revival of the Fairness Doctrine.
McMorris-Rogers went on to say, “Combating misinformation is a shared goal, but we do not want to follow the lead of an authoritarian country.”
There has long been accusations by Republicans of conservative bias by the media and Tech giants.
They point out the blocking of a New York Post story in October of 2020 that reported on possible damaging information about Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden on Twitter.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican was a bit more to the point.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) February 22, 2021
Who Gets To Decide What ‘Misinformation’ Is?
Progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald perhaps asked the most pertinent question.
“Since when is it the role of the U.S. government to arbitrate and enforce precepts of “journalistic integrity?”
Greenwald went on to point out:
“Unless you believe in the right of the government to regulate and control what the press says — a power which the First Amendment explicitly prohibits — how can anyone be comfortable with members of Congress arrogating unto themselves the power to dictate what media outlets are permitted to report and control how they discuss and analyze the news of the day?”
One America News Network’s Jack Posobiec tweeted out a response calling out the hypocrisy of NBC’s Soledad O’Brien, who Posobiec claims once deceptively edited a video attack a Republican Michigan Senate candidate, John James.
O’Brien was a witness at the hearing.
FLASHBACK: In October 2020 @soledadobrien spread a deceptively-edited video to smear combat veteran John James
Today Soledad is a Democrat ‘expert’ witness in a misinformation hearinghttps://t.co/Qpf0cqKzhV
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 24, 2021
Greenwald highlights portions of the letter sent to the cable companies, and puts forth the idea that there can be no doubt of their intent.
Fellow progressive journalist Matt Taibbi may have summed up the Democrats true intent:
What people who call @ggreenwald right-wing are actually saying is that his views – opposition to monopoly, surveillance, and censorship, skepticism of secret police agencies, belief in journalistic fairness – are incompatible with current Democratic Party orthodoxy.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) February 19, 2021
We are starting to walk a very dangerous line when elected officials can openly demand the silencing of their ideological opponents.