House Democrats are waging an assault on the First Amendment and demanding answers from cable television providers on the role they play in the “spread of misinformation” and how they covered political events.
They accused the right-wing media networks of serving ‘misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds.’ By writing letters to multiple media platforms and cable providers, Democrats are sending a message that there is a price to pay if you don’t conform to their preferred political narratives.
Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney wrote to AT&T, Comcast, Amazon, and a dozen other channel distributors asking if they planned to continue carrying conservative-leaning outlets, such as Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN. They accused the networks of spreading rumors and conspiracy theories on various topics, along with producing content that leads to “real harm.”
The letters were widely criticized by conservatives and concerned members of the media for its transgression against freedom of speech. Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr blasted California Reps. Eshoo and McNerney for attacking the First Amendment and making several false or misleading characterizations of its coverage. He asked his colleagues on the commission to denounce the lawmakers.
“By writing letters to the cable providers and other regulated entities that carry these news media outlets, the Democrats are sending a message that is as clear as it is troubling — these regulated entities will pay a price if the targeted newsrooms do not conform to Democrats’ preferred political narratives. This is a chilling transgression of the free speech rights that every media outlet in this country enjoys,” Carr said.
Carr asked for more debates on matters on public interest, not less, and said the concerted effort by Democrats to drive political dissent marks a departure from First Amendment norms. He said a newsroom should decide what stories to cover and how to frame them, adding that it should be beyond the reach of any government official, not targeted by them.
Newsmax also blasted Democrat Members of Congress for attempts to stifle political speech and censor them. They said the government has no business being in their news and editorial rooms and that the First Amendment should protect them from such unconstitutional intrusions.
“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. We did not see that same balanced coverage when CNN and MSNBC pushed for years the Russian collusion hoax, airing numerous claims and interviews with Democrat leaders that turned out to be patently false,” the statement reads.
The letters were sent in preparation for a hearing called “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media” held by the House Energy & Commerce Committee, on which both Eshoo and McNerney sit. They plan to discuss traditional media’s role in “promoting disinformation and extremism,” why playing a key role in implementing any new rules lawmakers have in mind.
“Well-intentioned” censorship is even more dangerous than censorship that is overly motivated by bad intensions. As the great Justice Louis Brandeis once warned us, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”