Federal Communications Commission acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has yet to condemn the Democrats and left-wing media’s attempts to bully certain broadcasting stations out of carrying conservative networks including Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network, despite her previous opposition to political interventions in broadcasting.
When former President Donald Trump suggested pulling licenses for certain “fake news” networks in a series of tweets in 2017, Rosenworcel, who was an FCC commissioner at the time, expressed frustration with the “assault on free expression.” When asked by CNN’s Brian Stelter if the FCC would ever carry out an order from Trump to pull the licenses, Rosenworcel said she hoped her agency would “honor the First Amendment and our democratic norms associated with it.”
“I don’t think that the government should be in the business of substituting its judgment for programming licensees,” she said. “I think it’s essential for newsgathering that the government isn’t dictating what content should and shouldn’t be on the airwaves.”
Nearly four years after Trump’s jabs calling for certain news networks’ licenses to “be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked,” Democrats and leftist corporate media journalists are questioning whether there should be action against conservative news outlets for spreading “misinformation.”
Just this week, Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney of California sent letters to multiple companies including AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, Dish, Cox, Altice, Hulu, and Alphabet asking them if they will continue to enable “misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm” such as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“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?” the representatives asked, pressing the companies on whether they are still “planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN.”
The House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee also plans to examine how certain cable and broadcast networks fueled the “spread of disinformation,” a move condemned as a “chilling transgression of the free speech rights that every media outlet in this country enjoys” by Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.
“I call on my FCC colleagues to join me in publicly denouncing this attempt to stifle political speech and independent news judgment,” Carr said.
Rosenworcel, however, remained quiet on the issue and did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.