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DEMS TARGET CABLE OUTLETS TO ASSAULT FREE PRESS BUT FAIL MISERABLY

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.

International Federation of Journalists, Feb. 5, 2021 . . . .

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 Post reported 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 in journalist 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.  . . .

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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4 Replies to “DEMS TARGET CABLE OUTLETS TO ASSAULT FREE PRESS BUT FAIL MISERABLY”

  1. Lord I pray for Your continued protection and I pray that evil plans to harm will continue to be thwarted by You and I pray that Your will be done! Jesus holy name I pray, Amen.

    Amen! 7
  2. Dear Heavenly Father, please free us from the wicked machinations of these evil people. They know full well that they are deconstructing our God-given freedoms. In Jesus precious name I pray O’ Lord, Amen.

    Amen! 9
  3. Precious Redeemer,
    We are thankful for Your sacrifice for us. We praise Your mighty name. We are Your children and we are willing to do all that you ask us to do. Lord we ask You to show us strategy to protect our free speech. We ask Your protection to insure our freedoms are not given away. Lord is it appropriate for congressman to send threatening letters to instill fear in cable companies and cause them to censor our freedom. Lord as we listen for your strategy guide us in Your way. Help us to insure our freedoms are kept for the citizens of USA. This we ask in Jesus’s name Amen

    Amen! 17
    1. Lord God,
      Help our nation and help us to make our nation stronger abiding in love for each other,v knowing the real attack is from the devil and he is watching us. Amen

      Amen! 1

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