The Media Institute, a media company-backed free speech defender, came out strongly Tuesday (Feb. 23) in defense of a free media and in opposition to a letter from a pair of House Democrats calling on video distributors to defend their carriage of news outlets Fox News, Newsmax TV and OANN against charges--by those Democrats--that they spread disinformation and promote extremism.
In a statement, Media Institute president Richard Kaplar said the letters, which went to Comcast, Cox, Dish, Charter, Roku and others, were an attempt to chill speech of certain outlets by intimidating the companies that distribute them.
While Kaplar said the spread of disinformation and misinformation are of legitimate concern, what was not legitimate was to try to control the content of media outlets.
“The letter from two members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to several cable, satellite, and streaming services demanding that they explain their moral or ethical principles in deciding which channels to carry, and that these content distributors explain why they plan to continue carrying certain news channels, is an affront to the First Amendment," he said.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee is holding a hearing this week on what the Democratic majority said is traditional media's role in promoting disinformation and extremism.
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