Republican FCC commissioner Nathan Simington joined fellow Republican commissioner Brendan Carr to push back on a call this week from a pair of powerful Democratic House members for top video distribution platforms to defend their carriage of Fox News, Newsmax TV and One America News Network.
Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both California Democrats, both members of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, wrote to a dozen cable, satellite and streaming companies Monday (Feb. 22) calling on them to better combat disinformation--which they principally identified as Fox, Newsmax and OANN--and asked the whether they were going to continue to carry those outlets and, if so, why? The letters came in advance of a hearing Wednesday (Feb. 24) in the House Energy & Commerce Committee on traditional media's role in spreading disinformation and extremism.
In response to the news of the letters, Simington said he shared Carr's view that more speech, rather less, should be the aim of public policy.
“It is worrying that members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have found it appropriate or necessary to apply the overbroad and vague label of ‘misinformation’ to any media reportage that calls into question their preferred political narratives," he said in a statement, "and have sought to intimidate into silence those who would distribute on their platforms disfavored points of view."
He said it was particularly problematic because the House Energy & Commerce Committee "supervises the Communications Act, and their statement could be read to imply that action will be taken under the Communications Act should the recipients not agree in advance to chill their speech."
Simington said he trusted the American people to decide "to whom they choose to listen.”
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