Ohio Representative Bill Johnson condemned the Democrats' efforts to silence dissident media and called it "eerily similar" to the Chinese Communist Party's actions during the House Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Breitbart reported that Johnson spoke at the House Committee hearing on "Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media" that California Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney were part of. Eshoo and McNerney wrote a letter to dozen of cable providers questioning them for carrying "right-wing media outlets" Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network.
"Demanding private companies to stop broadcasting television channels is a direct attack on free speech. And the Democrats know it," Johnson tweeted on Wednesday.
Johnson said during the hearing that the letter the said representative sent resembled what China did when they banned BBC World News in China due to "misinformation," Breitbart said. China alleged that BBC World News' reporting abroad hurt "China's national interests and ethnic solidarity."
"Just two weeks ago, China's national radio and television administration banned BBC World News from broadcasting in China, because it found BBC's reports, I quote, 'seriously violate' broadcast guidelines, including, and I quote again, 'the requirement that news should be truthful, and fair, and not harm China's national interests,'" Johnson raised during the hearing.
"So I have to say, I am disappointed and seriously blown away by my House Democrat colleagues' letter to the broadcasters, pressuring them to remove conservative news channels from their networks - a letter that looks eerily similar to the statement released by the CCP when it banned BBC," he pointed out.
"So, this begs the question. Does the American government have the authority to dictate what can and cannot be broadcast to the American people? I suggest it does not, but Democrats here on this committee seem to think that it should," he stressed before he asked George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley on the constitutionality of what the Democrats did recently.
As per Breitbart, Turley acknowledged that the Democrats' actions are "an attack on free speech" and should cause alarm to co-legislators.
"Well, it's constitutional in the sense that it isn't expressly prohibited by the First Amendment. But it is an attack on free speech. We should be concerned when members are trying to do indirectly what they cannot do directly," Professor Turley said.
The professor added that these actions create a "little brother problem" and cited Big Tech Twitter and Facebook's effect on hampering free speech and impairing Democratic institutions.
"And this creates what is sometimes referred to as the 'little brother problem'. We do have a really good system in dealing with 'big brother', and avoiding state media. But what we've seen in the last few years is that the use of private companies like Twitter and Facebook is far more damaging to free speech. It's no accident that recently Vladimir Putin called out Twitter and Facebook, and said, 'You're endangering Democratic institutions'," he stressed.
Adding that, "This is one of the most authoritarian figures in the world, he obviously cares nothing about Democratic institutions, but he seemed to indicate an almost begrudgingly respectful view that Twitter and these companies could achieve this level of control, something that exceeds his own abilities."
Johnson pointed out that asking the ban of Fox News and Newsmax from cable providers due to the violence that resulted in January 6 U.S. Capitol riots as purported by Eshoo and McNerney was purely unfounded since intelligence report showed the riots were "predominantly" planned on social media.
"From the other side of the aisle, if I didn't know better, I would think that Fox News or Newsmax issued a direct rallying call to storm the Capitol on January 6," he said, "But all of us know nothing even close to that happened. In fact, all of the intelligence suggests that any planning for the riots occurred predominantly on social media, including on Facebook."