During a House hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-Wash.) tore into House Democrats, comparing them to Chinese Communists, after two California lawmakers urged television carriers to discontinue carrying right-leaning Fox News, One America News and Newsmax.
McMorris used the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing, which was intended to examine so-called “disinformation and extremism in the media,” to blast the Democrats’ attack on the First Amendment.
Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) on Monday sent letters to every major cable provider, including AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Comcast, DISH, Cox, Hulu, and others, as well as Google’s parent company Alphabet.
In the letter, they falsely described the three cable news channels as “misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm,” baselessly claiming that the channels “all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections.”
The letter further asked the providers “what moral or ethical principles (including those related to journalistic integrity, violence, medical information, and public health) do you apply in deciding which channels to carry or when to take adverse actions against a channel?”
“We have a duty to examine how the perpetuation of these falsehoods impacts the American public,” the pair said in a joint statement, ”from the effect on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to undermining our elections and culminating in a violent insurrection on the United States Capitol. … Disinformation is a life or death matter that warrants a serious discussion.”
Republican Study Committee and Whip Steve Scalise put out a statement blasting their blatant attempt at censuring political opponents. “This is what you’d see in the Soviet Union,” wrote Scalise on Twitter.
🚨🚨 Democrats in Congress are working to ban Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax from all cable and streaming platforms.
They want to control:
– Your news
– Your TV
– Your entire life
This is what you’d see in the Soviet Union.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 23, 2021
Media Institute President Richard Kaplar also released a statement calling the letter “an affront to the First Amendment.”
“This can be seen as nothing other than an attempt by government officials to chill the speech of certain news outlets by intimidating their distributors,” he added.
In her remarks on the Democrats’ latest assault on the Constitution, McMorris didn’t hold back.
“On all my time on this committee, I’ve never seen a more obvious, direct attack on the First Amendment,” McMorris fumed. The congresswoman stressed that both Republicans and Democrats should condemn the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and revere truth and facts, but lamented that that was not the purpose of the hearing.
“If the majority was really interested in a meaningful dialogue, it wouldn’t schedule a hyper-partisan hearing to shame and blame,” she argued. “You wouldn’t be sending letters pressuring private companies to block conservative media outlets.”
McMorris added that she was “deeply troubled” that Democrats would even hold such a hearing.
“Anyone who values free speech and a free press should be worried,” the congresswoman said. “Elected officials using their platform to pressure private companies to censure media outlets they disagree with? That sounds like actions from the Communist Chinese party—not duly elected representatives of the United States Congress.”
McMorris seemed to suggest that Democrats actually share her view that there is a constitutional right to free speech for all Americans.
“Here we cherish free speech, and a free, independent press. We believe in dialogue and in the battle of ideas,” she declared.
“Rather than censure and silence constitutionally protected speech, the answer is more speech!” McMorris exclaimed. “That’s the American way!”
She urged her Democrat colleagues to halt their censorship campaign against political ideologies they disagree with.
McMorris went on to argue that under the Democrats’ new rules, a lot of media “would cease to exist.”
“Should CNN still be carried after hosting Governor Cuomo?” she challenged Democrats. “For months, media lauded him and legitimized his lethal response to Covid-19. He even won an Emmy for his use of TV to spread misinformation.”
How do we know it was misinformation? Because of a balance of networks that pursued investigative journalism.
Should MSNBC be carried after years of spreading the false Russia collusion narrative? Thanks to independent journalists and a robust free press, we learned their reporting was false.
McMorris argued that it was “un-American” for Democrats to hold themselves as the arbiters of truth.
“You think Republican members of Congress agree with all the content on media? No! Have we sent threatening letters to stop carrying certain channels? No!” she exclaimed.
“Now more than ever, we must uphold the First Amendment,” McMorris said, adding that the Democrats’ attempt to censure conservative outlets is “an abuse of power.”
“Ours is a country for WE The People—not a few in a position of authority dictating to the rest,” she pointed out.
Today, the media is the target, but where does it end? We’ve already seen liberal ideology pushed in our schools, where we work, the books we read, who we communicate with, how we practice our faith—it’s frightening! And do you know what the worst part is? People are afraid of a woke and authoritarian system that is getting them fired, cancelled, and shamed so they’re being silent. They have no voice. They can’t trust the broken institutions to protect them.
McMorris proclaimed that this “culture of fear is unjust” and chastised the Democrat majority for attempting to use fear to “force everyone into being the same or be destroyed.”
“It’s an abuse of power and a force of a state religion of liberal ideology!” she said.