Two Democratic lawmakers are working a plan for backdoor censorship.
U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both from California, wrote a letter to the chief executives of America’s major cable providers on Monday urging them to yank conservative stations off the air or force them to reprogram.
“Our country’s public discourse is plagued by misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies. These phenomena undergird the radicalization of seditious individuals who committed acts of insurrection on January 6th, and it contributes to a growing distrust of public health measures necessary to crush the pandemic,” they wrote in a letter sent to AT&T.
“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 Democrats wrote.
“Experts have noted that the right-wing media ecosystem is ‘much more susceptible … to disinformation, lies, and half-truths,” they add. Those “right-wing media outlets” include Newsmax, One America News Network, and Fox News, which “has spent years spewing misinformation about American politics.”
“Yet, 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,” they said.
By carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, “AT&T plays a major role in the spread of dangerous misinformation that enabled the insurrection of January 6th and hinders our public health response to the current pandemic.”
The pair then demand answers to several questions.
“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?”
“Do you require, through contracts or otherwise, that the channels you carry abide by any content guidelines?”
“How many of your subscribers tuned in to Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on “ AT&T’s services the month before Nov. 3 election and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol?”
“What steps did you take prior to, on, and following the November 3, 2020 elections and the January 6, 2021 attacks to monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation, including encouragement or incitement of violence by channels your company disseminates to millions of Americans?”
“Have you taken any adverse actions against a channel, including Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, for using your platform to disseminate disinformation related directly or indirectly to the November 3, 2020 elections, the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, or COVID-19 misinformation?”
“Have you ever taken any actions against a channel for using your platform to disseminate any disinformation?”
“Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on” AT&T‘s services “both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?”
Robby Soave, a columnist for Reason magazine, noted the same letter was sent to Verizon, Cox, Dish, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Hulu.
“The First Amendment prohibits Congress from infringing on free speech —and that includes the freedom of provide companies to decide what kind of speech appears on their platforms. Politicians are not in charge of setting the parameters for acceptable speech on the internet and television. That responsibility devolves to individual companies and individual viewers” Soave wrote.
“Make no mistake: The letter to television providers was an act of intimidation.”
For the record, Eshoo and McNerney were members of the party that promoted the fact-free Trump-Russia collusion hoax for four years, claims that were repeated nightly on CNN and MSNBC, among other falsehoods.
And other members of their party, Vice President Kamala Harris and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to name just two, repeatedly argued that COVID vaccines could not be trusted, while they were being developed under the Trump administration.
It’s getting tiresome pointing out the hypocrisy of Democrats.
Yet hopefully these companies will do that and remind the lawmakers, who want to claim again and again that Trump undermined the Constitution are in fact undermining the Constitution.