A chilling attack on free speech is happening as California Democrats Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney pressure cable providers for broadcasting right-wing media reports.
The Blaze reported that the two California Representatives wrote letters to a dozen cable providers and demanded they explain the "misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies" the "right-wing media outlets" they carry, which are Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network.
The said letters were sent to Alphabet, Altice, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Dish, Hulu, Roku, and Verizon. It contained, as per The Blaze, various accusations against the three news networks whose programming and content pushed the "radicalization of seditious individuals who committed acts of insurrection on January 6" at the U.S. Capitol, "all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections," and promoted "misinformation related to the pandemic."
"Some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm," the letters revealed. "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 Blaze pointed out that the two Democrats demanded from cable providers to explain "what moral or ethical principles (including those related to journalistic integrity, violence, medical information, and public health) do you apply in deciding which channels to carry or when to take adverse actions against a channel?"
The cable providers were also asked to detail steps undertaken to "monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation," to identify any punitive measures to correct them, as well as, to express plans to continue carrying the three media networks should their contracts expire, as per The Blaze.
Eshoo and McNerney are part of the subcommittee under the House Energy and Commerce Committee of Congress that intends, The Blaze highlighted, to hold a hearing entitled "Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media" on Wednesday.
Republicans and journalists among others, reacted negatively to Eshoo and McNerney's actions calling it a threat to the First Amendment.
"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" Federal Communications Commission head Brendan Carr denounced the two representatives in a statement posted in Twitter.
"Debate on matters of public interest should be robust, uninhibited, and wide open. More speech is better than less. Yet the concerted effort by Democrats to drive political dissent from the public square represents a marked departure from these First Amendment norms," he highlighted. "A newsroom's decision about what stories to cover and how to frame them should be beyond the reach of any government official, not targeted by them."
As per CBN News, media outlets Fox News and Newsmax responded to allegations against them by pointing out that their reporting has always been "in-depth" and "fair" coverage.
"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," Fox News said.
To which Newsmax echoed, "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 House Democrats' attack on free speech and basic First Amendment rights should send chills down the spines of all Americans," Newsmax added.