Biden Administration

Jonathan Turley: Letter sent by Dem Reps to block conservative media ‘is not just chilling, it’s positively glacial’

I never saw it coming. The sheer brazenness of the Democrats’ latest attempt to silence conservative media outlets, such as Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network was breathtaking.

A Monday press release on Rep. Jerry McNerney’s website reported that he and fellow California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, both senior members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, had sent letters to “12 cable, satellite, and streaming TV companies urging them to combat the spread of misinformation and requesting more information about their actions to address misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies spread through channels they host.”

Nearly half of Americans get their news primarily from TV. However, not all TV news sources are the same. Some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.

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.

This letter comes ahead of Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on traditional media’s role in promoting disinformation and extremism.

Companies receiving letters include AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, Dish, Cox, Altice, Alphabet, and Hulu.

Copies of the letters can be viewed here.

The announcement for the hearing read:

The prolonged severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attack on our Capitol on January 6 have driven home a frightening reality: the spread of disinformation and extremism by traditional news media presents a tangible and destabilizing threat. Some broadcasters’ and cable networks’ increasing reliance on conspiracy theories and misleading or patently false information raises questions about their devotion to journalistic integrity. We look forward to hearing from media experts about what is being done and what more can be done to address this growing problem moving forward.

At the Wednesday hearing, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) told colleagues: “Partisanship and polarization in media has [sic] been building for years, but these more recent events reflect a point of frightening escalation. Media companies have increasingly set aside journalistic standards to chase audience share and higher profits.”

Unfortunately, Doyle is not referring to the networks that brought you the Russian collusion hoax and Ukrainegate, or those that covered up the Hunter Biden laptop story shortly before the election. He is referring to Fox, Newsmax and OAN.

If you’re starting to feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, you’re not alone. The left has just taken the gloves off in their war against conservatism.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the ranking member on this committee called McNerney and Eshoo’s letter “a one-sided affront to a free press.”

“In all my time on this committee, there’s never been a more obvious and direct attack on the First Amendment,” the congresswoman said. “Condemning the Jan. 6 attack and upholding truth and facts, it’s a shared, bipartisan goal. If the majority was really interested in a meaningful dialogue, you wouldn’t schedule a hyper-partisan hearing to shame and blame. You wouldn’t be sending letters pressuring private companies to block conservative media outlets.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley who is, by the way, a Democrat, attacked the letter as well. “From the perspective of free speech and the free press, the letter is not just chilling, it’s positively glacial. I admit that I may be a relic in my views, but I continue to believe the greatest protection against bad speech is better speech.”

In an op-ed published on The Hill last week, Turley wrote: “Increasingly, free speech in the United States is described as a danger that needs to be controlled, as opposed to the very value that defines us as a people.”

It makes no difference if one party holds the majority in both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. The Democrats’ attempt to shut down free speech is unconstitutional. Pressuring cable, satellite, and streaming TV companies to drop conservative networks they happen to disagree with is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

If Trump administration officials had introduced a plan to eliminate CNN and MSNBC, he would have been impeached a third time and immediately convicted by the Senate.

Unfortunately, we can no longer count on the Supreme Court to even hear the case, much less stand up for the Constitution.

Republicans have submitted too frequently to Democrats. Will they capitulate or will they stand strong against the Democrats’ flagrant abuse of power?

Will the networks themselves stand up for their right to exist?

Will the American people finally wake up to the reality that this is a massive power grab by a party that seeks total and permanent control over the U.S.?

America is in crisis.

We’ve all heard the old Ben Franklin story. He was allegedly asked, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?

Franklin replied, “A democratic republic, if we can keep it.”

Can we keep it?

3 replies »

  1. Elizabeth, another timely and valuable article, following a string them. I am glad I signed up.

    Mille grazie,

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. Keep quoting the Founders. Contrary to “cancel culture” they not all held slaves. Dr Franklin created the first antislavery movement on this continent. All people of both genders, and all races, color and Creed’s Founded this new nation. Real history for lazy communists/global elites, bears this out!
    We ARE NOT a DEMOCRACY! On purpose. It leads to the chaos currently ruled by corrupt media fanning the flames of anarchists they fund and support.
    We are a by God Republic with democratic tendencies brought ever more democratic through continued subterfuge of our laws (horrible judges), Constitution and public education system. The media and elites want one world government. They’re nuts! Misled and sophomoric at best in logic, science, technology, history, government, policy et al.

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