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House Democrats, Targeting Right-Wing Cable Outlets, Are Assaulting Core Press Freedoms

House Democrats, Targeting Right-Wing Cable Outlets, Are Assaulting Core Press Freedoms

Democrats’ justification for silencing their adversaries online and in media — “they are spreading fake news and inciting extremism” — is what despots everywhere say.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (C) with other House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol January 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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.

Now they are going further — much further. 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.”

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