The war on conservative media is entering a new phase. Two House Democrats have written a letter to AT&T, Comcast, Dish, Verizon, and other TV providers asking them if they plan to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News.
Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney of California denounced these channels as dangerous Fake News that should be scrapped.
“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,” they wrote. “To our knowledge, the cable, satellite, and over-the-top companies that disseminate these media outlets to American viewers have done nothing in response to the misinformation aired by these outlets.”
The Democrats want TV providers to curtail networks that provide information harmful to Democrats – er, the public.
They asked a series of loaded questions, such as: “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 seventh and last question is this: “Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?”
Democrats know this kind of campaign is safe, because the censors at CNN's Media Unit made it clear it's not about freedom of speech, it's about "freedom of reach."
Left-winger Glenn Greenwald summed it up:
It’s just a fact that the people who spent the last 4 years claiming to be so very worried about authoritarianism are absolutely committed to using their new power as the majority party to censor their adversaries off both the internet & cable using bullying tactics like this: https://t.co/aycybk9Uvx— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 22, 2021
Fox News issued a statement: “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.”
Eshoo and McNerney serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will hold a hearing on "misinformation" on Wednesday.
Now imagine House Republicans in February of 2017 holding hearings on why cable providers are still carrying CNN and MSNBC, and then imagine how that would be greeted with screechy claims of Hitlerism/Stalinism descending on America.
No Republican is proposing CNN's "freedom of reach" be drastically curtailed because it sold a phony Russian-collusion narrative for three years, or championed the "election denialism" of Stacey Abrams in Georgia, or carried endless hours of Andrew Cuomo puffball press conferences as he dramatically mismanaged the coronavirus in New York.
CNN's Oliver Darcy is clearly proud of this letter, as if he scripted it himself. "Eshoo and McNerney posed a number of questions — some of which I have asked and been unable to get the answers to — to TV providers. Those are fair questions these companies do not seem to want to answer." He complained "I checked in with the major TV providers to see if they had any comment, but didn't get any."
We have a comment: Stuff it, Oliver.