Father, help our leaders to be presented with the gospel and a loving Christian witness.
House Democrats, Targeting Right-Wing Cable Outlets, Are Assaulting Core Press Freedoms
According to Glenn Greenwald, “Not even two months into their reign as the majority party that controls the White House and both houses of Congress, key Democrats have made clear that one of their top priorities is censorship of divergent voices. On Saturday, I detailed how their escalating official campaign to coerce and threaten social media companies into more aggressively censoring views that they dislike — including by summoning social media CEOs to appear before them for the third time in less than five months — is implicating, if not already violating, core First Amendment rights of free speech. . . .
The same Democratic House Committee that is demanding greater online censorship from social media companies now has its sights set on the removal of conservative cable outlets, including Fox News, from the airwaves.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday announced a February 24 hearing, convened by one of its sub-committees, entitled “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.” Claiming that “the spread of disinformation and extremism by traditional news media presents a tangible and destabilizing threat,” the Committee argues: “Some broadcasters’ and cable networks’ increasing reliance on conspiracy theories and misleading or patently false information raises questions about their devotion to journalistic integrity.”
. . .
But what House Democrats are doing here is far more insidious than what is revealed by that creepy official announcement. Two senior members of that Committee, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Silicon-Valley) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) also sent their own letters to seven of the nation’s largest cable providers — Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum, Dish, Verizon, Cox and Altice — as well as to digital distributors of cable news (Roku, Amazon, Apple, Google and Hulu) demanding to know, among other things, what those cable distributors did to prevent conservative “disinformation” prior to the election and after — disinformation, they said, that just so happened to be spread by the only conservative cable outlets: Fox, Newsmax and OANN.
In case there was any doubt about their true goal — coercing these cable providers to remove all cable networks that feature conservative voices, including Fox (just as their counterparts on that Committee want to ban right-wing voices from social media) — the House Democrats in their letter said explicitly what they are after: namely, removal of those conservative outlets by these cable providers:
Congresswoman Eshoo boasted on her official site about these efforts, lauding herself and McNerney for “urging 12 cable, satellite, and streaming TV companies 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.” . . .
Other than the indictment of Julian Assange — which most Washington Democrats cheered — what did the Trump administration do in the way of attacking press freedoms that remotely compares to Democrats abusing their majoritarian power to force the removal of conservative cable outlets from the airwaves, just days after doing the same with dissident voices online?
There is not a peep of protest from any liberal journalists. . . .
While many conservative outlets are covering this story, it is difficult to find any liberal outlets writing about it at all. An article from The New York Times was one exception, though it largely attempted to justify these censorship efforts, with paragraph after paragraph purporting to demonstrate the dangerous misinformation spread by these channels. The only nods to the dangers of press freedoms in the article came from statements by Fox News and a GOP member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Revealingly, these same two members of Congress who sent this threatening letter to cable providers said during the Trump years that freedom of the press must be safeguarded at all costs. “The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws that abridge the freedom of the press, and we cherish our country’s culture of free expression,” they intoned when writing to the FCC in 2019 to complain that Russian news outlets were concealing their affiliation with the Kremlin. “We’re not requesting any press censorship,” they assured the FCC under Trump. Yet they are clearly doing exactly that now. . . .
In response to my inquiries, Commissioner Carr added in a separate statement to me:
The greatest threat to free speech in America today is not any law passed by the government—the First Amendment stands as a strong bulwark against that form of censorship by state action. The threat comes in the form of legislating by letterhead. Politicians have realized that they can silence the speech of those with different political viewpoints by public bullying. The letter sent by two senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to cable companies and other regulated entities, and the Committee’s own hearing this week on “disinformation in the media,” are the latest examples. They are singling out selected newsrooms for their coverage of political events and sending a clear message that these media outlets will pay a price if they do not align their viewpoints with Democrat orthodoxy. That is a chilling transgression of free speech and journalistic freedom. No government official has any business inquiring about the ‘moral principles’ that guide a private entity’s decision about what news to carry. . . .
Indeed, the justifying script Democrats are using here is the one most commonly employed by autocrats around the world to silence their critics. Those they seek to silence are not merely expressing a different view, but are dangerous. They are not merely advocating alternative ideologies but are destabilizing society with lies, fake news, and speech that deliberately incites violence, subversion and domestic terrorism.
The Democrats sound a great deal like the Egyptian regime of Gen. Abdel el-Sisi. Just two weeks ago, Sisi’s regime finally released an Al Jazeera journalist who had been imprisoned for four years based on accusations that he had “spread false news” and was guilty of “incitement against state institutions and broadcasting false news with the aim of spreading chaos.” Sound familiar? It should, since that is precisely what House Democrats are saying to ennoble their multi-pronged assault on free expression.
In 2014, the French journalist Valeria Costa-Kostritsky warned in the Index on Censorship that anti-terrorism laws and accusations of promoting subversion were becoming the primary means which authoritarian states from Turkey and Jordan to Russia and the UAE use to justify the silencing of journalists:
Anti-terror legislation seems to be the perfect tool for a state seeking to crack down on opposition. “It’s so elusive. You can [see] anything as terrorist propaganda. There needn’t be any evidence of violence, any praise of violence. Plus, if you blame someone for having a connection with the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] the public buys that argument easily, especially in a country that is suffering from terrorism, as Turkey is,” said Sevgi Akarçeşme, former editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Today’s Zaman (the English-language edition of daily Zaman), who had her newspaper taken over by the government in March 2016.
A similar means used by repressive governments to silence disfavored media outlets is to claim they are promoting “extremism.” As Costa-Kostritsky detailed:
There’s another word one can use to browse through reports published on the [Mapping Media Freedom] map: “extremism”. Anti-extremism legislation is used to intimidate journalists in post-Soviet countries, particularly in Russia. On the map, of the 35 incidents flagged with “extremism”, 11 took place in Russia, and seven in Crimea, others include Belgium, Italy, Hungary, France and Spain. Five reports connecting the media to “extremism” took place during the first half of 2016. They include website closures and journalists being put on a list of extremists. In Russia, most cases using anti-extremism legislations against journalists happen via Roskomnadzor, the national media regulator. . . . .
The Washington Postreported that “as 2019 draws to a close, there are 30 journalists in jail worldwide on charges of ‘false news’ — or, as it’s also called these days, ‘fake news.’” In sum:
It has now become commonplace to throw around fake-news accusations in the United States. But in other countries around the world — like Egypt, Turkey, Somalia and Cameroon — such charges can have very chilling and stifling impacts on the press, according to an annual report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
In Egypt — where General-turned-President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi has been overseeing a crackdown that human rights groups say is harsher than any before — there are 21 journalists in jail for allegedly publishing “false news,” according to the CPJ’s data. In practice, press freedom advocates say, these charges stem from a simple fact: The journalists published news that Sisi didn’t like.
In a passage that the Post would only publish about foreign countries but never about House Democrats, even though it now applies equally, they observed: “There is a serious global problem of disinformation spreading online and sowing distrust and sectarianism. The problem, say press advocates, is that the laws regulating fake news all too often are a means of stifling the media rather than fostering a more transparent environment online.”
. . . Justifying the silencing of journalists by accusing them of inciting domestic terrorism and extremism is now the most common means used globally for censorsing the press. The Committee to Protect Journalists in 2013 said they had “tracked a significant rise injournalist imprisonments.” The culprit, said the group, was “the expansion of anti-terrorism and national security laws worldwide” after the 9/11 attack, which had been repeatedly abused to criminalize media outlets. “The number of journalists jailed worldwide hit 232 in 2012, 132 of whom were held on anti-terror or other national security charges.” In sum: “CPJ’s analysis has found that governments have exploited these laws to silence critical journalists.”. . .
MSNBC and CNN spent four years endorsing the most deranged conspiracy theory imaginable, one with very toxic roots in the Cold War: namely, the McCarthyite script that the Kremlin had taken over control of key U.S. institutions through sexual blackmail over the President, invasions into the nation’s heating system and electric grid, and criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign to hack into Democrats’ emails.
All of that was false, just as the one-month tale told over and over by the media about a pro-Trump mob murdering Brian Sicknick by bludgeoning him to death with a fire extinguisher was false — a story which remains unretracted or corrected by most who spread it.
. . . It is hard to overstate how extreme the rhetoric would have been that Trump and the Republicans were engaged in authoritarian measures to destroy free speech and a free press.
. . .
The corrective is for journalists to rebuild trust and faith with the public by exposing their misinformation and proving to the public that they will do accurate and reliable reporting regardless of which faction is aggrandized or angered.
But corporate media outlets and Democrats (excuse the redundancy) who spent the last four years posturing as virulent defenders of press freedoms never meant it. Like so much of what they claimed to believe, it was fraudulent. The proof is that they are now mute, if not supportive, as Democrats use their status as majority party to launch an assault against press freedoms far more egregious than anything Trump got close to doing. . . .
Attempt to Shut Down Cable News Outlets Fails Badly For House of Dems
According to The True Defender, “. . . On Monday, both Democratic Leaders, Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, asked television companies to respond to them about what media channels they chose to carry on their platforms. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Apple, and Amazon were among the following cable television and major tech giants. . . .
The Democrats wanted to know, explicitly, if they planned to continue to carry Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News.
“SCOOP: Congressional Dems sent a letter to Comcast, Amazon, Google, ATT & others asking them to know what they intend to do about the “spreading of dangerous disinformation” from Fox News, OAN and Newsmax, including whether they will continue to carry it,” Rachel Abrams posted from the Times. . . .
To justify their channel bundles, Fox News responded to the outrageous pressure of the House Democrats on cable providers.
“In a statement, the network said, “For individual members of Congress to highlight political speech they do not like and insist that cable providers indulge in discrimination from a point of view sets a horrible precedent. The letter was also slammed by Newsmax as a ‘assault on free speech.’
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr blasted the attempt of the House Democrats to strong-arm these businesses into shutting down opposition and bringing only the political material accepted by the House Democrats. . . .
“Today, two senior Democrats selectively targeted a handful of news media outlets on the House Energy and Commerce Committee for their coverage of political events,” notes Carr’s message. “The Democrats send a message that is as clear as it is difficult by writing letters to the cable providers and other regulated entities that carry these news media outlets. These regulated entities will pay a price if the targeted newsrooms do not conform to the preferred political narratives of the Democrats.” . . .
“Debate should be robust, uninhibited and wide open on public interest issues,” Carr continues. Better than less is more voice. But Democrats’ systematic attempt to drive political opposition from the public square reflects a marked deviation from these values of the First Amendment. . . .
“I would say this to the House Democrats who used their official letterhead to launch this inquiry: your request to know the “moral values” that guide the decision of a private entity on what news to carry can not be reconciled with the fundamental principles of free speech and journalistic freedom,” he added.
“In publicly denouncing this attempt to stifle political speech and independent news judgment, I call on my FCC colleagues to join me.”
Appointed under the Trump administration, Brendan Carr was overwhelmingly confirmed by the U.S. From the Senate.
It will be important to see if any Biden appointees take such a bold stand against government-led restrictions on free expression, particularly given the recent purge of public officials who are not ideologically confirmed by the administration.
It is clear that Democrats plan to use strong regulatory arms to efficiently enforce a government strategy of restricting free expression by media corporations and big tech suppliers. . . .
Don't have a login? Click here to create a new account.
Sign Up to Pray for Your Elected Officials
You will receive our weekly e-alerts.
Already have a profile? Click here to login.
We are concerned about and respect your privacy while visiting our web sites. Intercessors for America will never sell, lease or rent your confidential information, though non-confidential information (name and address) may be given to outside vendors. We always will endeavor to take steps to assure that financial information you provide to us will remain secure. We want you to feel safe in your online experience while visiting our site. We, therefore, request that you take a moment to review the following valuable information.
Collection of Information
Intercessors for America does not collect personal information without your knowledge while you are visiting our web site.
However, Intercessors for America allows you to provide personal information on our web site. The type of information we collect directly corresponds with the service you request. For instance, you can make donations, offer your thoughts, opinions, prayers, concerns, ideas, personal experiences, questions and/or suggestions. The type of information we collect is only voluntary and used for purposes of interacting with the website or with others viewing the website. Also, the information may be necessary to facilitate our response to your specific request such as your name and contact information.
If you request to have a resource sent to you and/or make a donation, Intercessors for America will collect the information necessary to complete this transaction which may include your contact information, credit card number and other transaction information.
If you offer your thoughts, comments, opinions, concerns, ideas, personal experience testimonies, request prayer, ask questions, etc., Intercessor for America collects that information and may use the information in one of the ways set forth in the following section titled “Use of Information.”
Use of Information
Intercessors for America uses the information provided by you to:
Provide online interaction opportunities between you and others who also voluntarily provide personal applicable information on our website for the intended purposes of sharing prayer requests, sharing of information regarding prayer groups and/or other interactions related to the intended use of the site.
Respond to your correspondence, questions, comments, suggestions, thoughts, opinions, prayers, concerns or ideas to fulfill a resource request.
Continually update, develop, design and customize the content of our web site to meet the needs, interests and requests of our audience.
Contact you via e-mail, text messages or phone calls to confirm specific resource or information requests, confirm subscription information, inform you of new products and special offers, or provide information we think may be of particular interest to you.
Provide the Internal Revenue Service the names and addresses of donors who give $5,000 or more in a given year, either through the web site or other means.
Disclosure/Sharing of Information
As stated above, Intercessor for America does not sell, rent or lease your confidential information to others. On some occasions, vendors will approach Intercessor for America with a product that we determine might benefit our supporters. In that instance, we will provide non-confidential information.
Regarding links to third-party web sites
Intercessors for America’s Privacy Statement does not govern any exchange of information between you and any third party web site. IFA does not monitor, and is not responsible for, the privacy and data use policies of its corporate sponsors. We recommend you review their policies (likely to be found on their web sites) prior to accessing, but especially before sharing any personally identifiable information. Similarly, this Privacy Statement does not govern the privacy practices of any third party web site to which you might link from the IFA website.
Ability to Edit and Delete
If you would like to correct, update, add, or delete personal information, simply let us know by calling us at (800) USA-PRAY, emailing us at email@example.com or writing us at Intercessors for America P.O. Box 915 Purcellville, VA 20134 and we will respond promptly to your request.
Please understand that all postings, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, or other materials ( “Content”) posted on, transmitted through, or linked from this website, are the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated. More specifically, each person is entirely responsible for each individual item (“Item”) of Content that they post, email or otherwise make available via the Service. Please understand that IFA does not control, and is not responsible for Content made available through the Service, and that by using the Service, you may be exposed to Content, as much as we try to prevent it, that is offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. For the health of the IFA community you must agree that you will evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of any Content, and that under no circumstances will IFA be liable in any way. Be wise and understand that IFA does not pre-screen or approve Content generated by our community of website users, but IFA does have the right (but not the obligation) in its sole discretion to refuse, delete or move any Content that is available via the Service, for violating the letter or spirit of the terms of understanding or for any other reason. If you ever find objectionable material please contact us at 800-USA-Pray or use our contact form to notify us.
Questions or Suggestions
Online Personal Safety We hope and pray that all intercessors involved in Intercessors for America are trustworthy, well-meaning, and have a heart for prayer for our nation.
However, please take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline. People online are not necessarily who they say they are or seem to be. Never give out passwords, credit card information, or other private data. Be very wary of disclosing private information to a stranger you meet via prayer messaging. Even apparently innocent information, like the name of your employer, can be used against you by scammers.
When meeting with someone for the first time to gather to pray or establish a prayer group in your local area, please remember to:
Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe or shopping center.
Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.
Take your cell phone along if you have one.
Consider having a friend accompany you.
Trust your instincts.
Taking these precautions will help make your online experience safer. Any risk in using Intercessors for America’s online web tools to connect with others is assumed by you. Intercessors for America disclaims any liability or responsibility for acts, omissions, or conduct by you or any other party using its online web tools.
For more information about online personal safety, check out these resources:
Statement of Use
All of the content, images, logos and photos appearing on this website are copyrighted and are the property of Intercessors for America. Other images, brands or logos are copyright of their respective owners. Information and images found on the site cannot be reproduced either in print or electronically without express written permission from Intercessors for America.
The IFA or GAP Web Site may contain links to third party web sites such as those posted by members of the Get America Praying website. These third party web sites are not controlled by IFA. The links to these web sites are provided for convenience. IFA is not responsible and assumes no liability for the contents of any of these web sites, and unless expressly stated does not endorse these web sites or their contents, products, or services. IFA is not responsible for the content of any sponsor’s Web page linked to the IFA web site, and the opinions and views expressed on the sponsor’s Web pages do not necessarily reflect those of IFA. The contents of the sponsor Web pages are not reviewed in any way before they are linked to the IFA web page. Intercessors for America reserves the exclusive right to remove any links, posts or members that it deems necessary for any reason. The intended usage of the website is for the facilitation of prayer groups. Requests for donations other than for the owner of the site, posting of blogs and misuse of site is expressly forbidden. Inactivity of any group or site for more than 90 days will constitute an automatic removal of the member or group from the site.
Intercessors for America Comments Policy
IFA is a prayerful community of believers interceding for the nation. We want to foster a community of commenters that reflects our values: Prayerful, Truthful, Generous, Hopeful, and Relational.
Comments are welcomed and encouraged on this site, but there are some instances where comments should be reported.
• Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature will be deleted. Including a link to relevant content is permitted, but comments should be relevant to the post topic.
• Comments including profanity or vulgarity will be deleted.
• Comments that condone, encourage, or incite violence of any kind, for any reason, will not be tolerated.
• Comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive should be reported and will be removed. Note this may include abusive, threatening, pornographic, offensive, misleading, or libelous language.
• Comments that attack an individual directly should be reported.
• Comments that harass other posters should be reported. Please be respectful toward other contributors.
IFA reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to the blog without notice. This comment policy is subject to change at any time. If you have any questions about the commenting policy, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.