The mainstream media, and now the government, want to shut down FOX News
FOX News, which last October marked its 26th anniversary as a cable news channel, has long been a target for its increasingly leftist competition, CNN and MSNBC. But now, the Federal Government is jumping on the kill-FOX bandwagon and making noises about trying to rein in, censor, or even silence the country’s #1 basic cable television channel.
In recent weeks, FOX News’s ratings-challenged competition – CNN and MSNBC – have devoted endless hours to bashing FOX News as an outlier – a fake news channel that lies, distorts, and serves as an inspiration for violent, election-denying, white nationalist insurrectionists. CNN and MSNBC have been joined in this First Amendment-busting crusade by the nation’s leading mainstream print and online media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press, as well as PBS, NPR, the broadcast networks, and too many other broadcast and print/online outlets to mention.
This campaign against FOX News is nothing new. But the new 2023 rallying cry is the contents of several recent legal filings by the companies suing FOX for libel for its coverage of the aftermath of the 2020 election. As the left wing British publication The Guardian wrote, in one of its several score articles bashing FOX News in recent weeks, this new political red meat mobilizing FOX’s critics results from:
the $1.6bn defamation lawsuit that has been brought against Fox News Network (FNN) [note: it’s actually FNC, FOX News channel] and its parent company Fox Corp. . . by Dominion Voting Systems. The firm, one of the largest providers of electronic vote counting machines in North America, is claiming that its business was harmed by falsehoods aired by Fox News hosts and their guests in the wake of the 2020 presidential election based on Donald Trump’s lie that the election was stolen from him.
The Dominion vs. FOX lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next month, if it’s not settled out of court before then. But the hundreds of pages of legal filings by Dominion’s lawyers, their contents cherry picked by the anti-FOX media, have led to literally hundreds of breathless reports in all media excoriating FOX News and predicting its imminent demise. A simple Google News search of “fox news” yields a plethora of recent anti-FOX articles.
In recent days, alarmingly, the anti-FOX campaign has moved from the Fourth Estate to the Federal Government. For example, as the Daily Wire reported on March 11, “Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) [a candidate for the 2024 U.S. Senate seat vacated by Dianne Feinstein] suggested on Saturday that despite not wanting to ‘get in the business of telling troops what they can and cannot watch,’ he might be open to banning Fox News on military installations.” In an appearance Saturday on MSNBC, Swalwell cited his agreement with a tweet by a group called VoteVets:
FOX hosts' election lies and disinformation splits the ranks, hurts unit cohesion, and weakens America's national defense. They must be removed from all TVs on military installations NOW.
Swalwell made his opinion clear: “I don’t know if I disagree with VoteVets, who was [sic] saying that we need to take a look at, you know, how this is being broadcast to our troops.”
Even more insidious was a comment on the subject by President Biden’s spokeswoman. As Mediaite reported in an article on March 11 “EXCLUSIVE: Karine Jean-Pierre Asked Straight-Up Should Fox News Face Being Shut Down By Government:”
SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if Congress should give the FCC the power to shut Fox News down over conduct revealed in the blockbuster filings from the Dominion defamation suit [Under current law, the FCC – Federal Communications Commission – can only regulate over the air broadcast channels and networks and not cable or satellite networks and channels]. . .
In an interview for Monday’s edition of The Dean Obeidallah Show obtained exclusively by Mediaite, the host asked Jean-Pierre about the need to hold Fox accountable, and suggested treating them the same as broadcast networks by expanding the jurisdiction of existing FCC regulations:
DEAN OBEIDALLAH: Look, the FCC the way the law is right now, it does not cover cable news. We all know that. Broadcast news, though. It does. It, it’s called distortion. And it has to be you have to show that they said something false on purpose they knew was false and they could be sanctioned. They can lose their license on a network. It doesn’t apply to cable.
Do you think there’s any chance to explore the idea of expanding that, it would take an act of Congress, to expand the FCC’s mandate to include, just apply that, what that already applies to CBS and ABC and FOX on network to cable equally. It would apply to everyone, if (inaudible) did same thing that we know Fox did. Because if not, why would Fox not just keep lying to the American public without any consequence? I don’t know why they would stop this.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I have to be careful. FCC is an independent agency, so we need to be careful here. But I get your point.
You know, look, I think everybody has a responsibility, if you call yourself a news organization, to tell the truth, you know, and I mean, that’s probably as far as I can go. I think when you ask me about Fox, and I think that’s I think the question that I got on MSNBC with Alex was close enough to that.
But to the question that you did, you just you just asked me. And in the best way that I can answer it is even Fox News leadership, in their depositions say, as we as I was being asked about the Tucker Carlson show, that it’s not news or truthful. And I think that tells you everything that you need to know. I mean, when the when the leadership is saying that, I think that tells you everything that you need to know and I’ll just leave it there.
Two years ago, I wrote several articles at American Thinker about moves in the first days of the Biden Administration to openly discuss regulating and censoring FOX News. For example, in an AT article on February 25, 2021, “Capitol Hill hearing targets Fox News and lays the groundwork for government censorship,” I wrote:
One of the most chilling examples in modern times of the accelerating full-spectrum assault on free speech and the First Amendment took place yesterday on Capitol Hill, courtesy of a subcommittee of the Democrat-controlled House Committee on Energy and Commerce. For over three hours on Wednesday afternoon, the subcommittee held a virtual hearing titled "Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media." The target was conservative media in general and Fox News in particular.
Instead of waiting to see what the outcome is of the scheduled trial next month in the Dominion vs. FOX News case, the government and the mainstream media now appear eager to shred the First Amendment to the Constitution and censor and de-platform FOX News.
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades. His web page with links to his work is http://peter.media. Peter's extensive American Thinker archive: http://tinyurl.com/pcathinker. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka