Despite the Constitution’s prohibition of laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” but that is exactly what some critics believe two congressional Democrats are supporting.
According to reports, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both Democrats from California, are pressuring cable companies to drop Fox News Channel along with a pair of right-wing news outlets.
“Key vectors of spreading misinformation”
The lawmakers sent letters to cable carriers including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Roku, demanding to know why they offer Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax TV. As they argued in the letter, these channels are effectively serving as “misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.”
Eshoo and McNearny went on to accuse the networks of having “aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections” as well as acting as “key vectors of spreading misinformation related to the pandemic.”
Their complaints come in response to last month’s violent riot on Capitol Hill, which the pair of legislators believe was in part incited by reporting and commentary broadcast by the conservative news outlets.
The allegations have not gone unanswered by Fox News, which responded with a sharply worded public statement on the matter.
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,” the network wrote.
“Should be robust, uninhibited, and wide open”
Additionally, the company issued its pronouncement that lawmakers who “highlight political speech they do not like and demand cable distributors engage in viewpoint discrimination” are setting “a terrible precedent.”
GOP Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr took issue with the letters in a statement of his own.
“What time does the Democrats’ book burning party start?” he asked.
Carr accused Democrats of “sending a message that is as clear as it is troubling — these regulated entities will pay a price if the targeted newsrooms do not confirm to Democrats’ preferred political narratives.”
The FCC chief concluded that public-interest debates “should be robust, uninhibited, and wide open,” describing “the concerted effort by Democrats to drive political dissent from the public square” as “a marked departure from First Amendment norms.”