A pair of California Democrats sent a letter to cable television providers and streaming services last month asking why they carry Fox News Channel and other conservative news outlets.
That move has led to Republicans on Capitol Hill sounding the alarm, including a demand for action issued by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the party’s ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.
“The scourge of cancel culture”
The lawmaker sent a letter to committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on Monday requesting that a hearing be held on the “dangerous” effort.
“There is no better issue on which Republicans and Democrats can work together to address in our first full committee hearing than to address the scourge of cancel culture in the United States,” Jordan proclaimed.
He went on to cite examples including the decision of social media giants that kicked former President Donald Trump off their platforms earlier this year.
“Most recently, two Democratic members of Congress wrote to twelve cable companies demanding that they not broadcast certain news networks,” he added.
“Key vectors of spreading misinformation”
Jordan was referencing a letter authored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA), both of whom serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
In their letter, the lawmakers stated: “Right-wing media outlets, like Newsmax, One American News Network (OANN), and Fox News all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections.”
The pair went on to complain that these “networks also have been key vectors of spreading misinformation related to the pandemic.”
“A marked departure”
In conclusion, the California Democrats asked the cable providers which “moral or ethical principles” they applied “in deciding which channels to carry or when to take adverse actions against a channel.”
Their words brought a pointed response from Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, who called the letter “troubling” and a threat to freedom of speech for media companies.
“The concerted effort by Democrats to drive political dissent from the public square represents a marked departure from these First Amendment norms,” he added, going on to call on his colleagues within the Federal Communications Commission to join him “in publicly denouncing this attempt to stifle political speech and independent new judgment.”