FCC Commissioners Denounce House Democrats Attempt to Censor Newsrooms Based on Politics

Two top officials from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday said an attempt by House Democrats to pressure television carriers to de-platform Fox News and two other cable news channels was “troubling” because it seeks to “stifle political speech and independent news judgment.”

February 23, 2021

FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington in separate statements responded to letters penned by two Democrat members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were sent to 12 cable, satellite, and streaming companies.

“To the House Democrats that used their official letterhead to launch this inquiry, I would say this: Your demand to know the ‘moral principles’ that guide a private entity’s decision about what news to carry cannot be reconciled with bedrock principles of free speech and journalistic freedom,” Carr said (pdf).

In their letters, the Democrat House members urged the companies to take steps they asserted would combat the spread of “misinformation.”

Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) alleged that right-leaning Fox, Newsmax, and One America News had spread “misinformation” after the November 2020 elections and about COVID-19. Their letters also demanded answers to why the carriers were carrying these television outlets.

The carriers were asked questions such as what moral or ethical principles they apply in deciding which channels to carry, how many subscribers tuned into the networks in the weeks preceding the presidential election, and whether they’ve taken adverse actions against any channel in the wake of the election or the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Carr said that the two House Democrats had “selectively targeted” several news media outlets for their coverage of political events, saying that such actions send a clear and troubling message of “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,” he said.

The commissioner continued by reminding Americans that discourse on matters of public interest should be “robust, uninhi….

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