It seems one of the best government appointments to come out of Trump’s election was Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC. He’s stood in the fire against all manner of leftist hysteria and verbal non-sense when it comes to net neutrality, censorship, and federal overreach at the FCC. He also stood up to the President when he made the ridiculous suggestion that certain broadcasters should have their licenses pulled. Pai isn’t partisan, he’s principled.
Thursday, he reaffirmed those principles again by formally rejecting an insane request from a dozen Democrat Senators (including Lizzy Warren, Bernie Sanders and Cory 'Scatman' Booker) asking the FCC to “investigate” Sinclair broadcasting for “purposely distorting the news.” Yes, the same Democrat party that shits bricks every time Trump says “fake news” now wants to use the power of the Federal government to investigate the editorial decisions of news agencies because their own media allies got called out. I’d go ahead and call them all hypocrites, but would I be telling you anything you didn’t already know?
Here’s the money quote from the Dem's Clown Posse's request…
“We are concerned that Sinclair is engaged in a systematic news distortion operation that seeks to undermine freedom of the press and the robust localism and diversity of viewpoint that is the foundation of our national broadcasting laws,” the senators wrote. They added that it “may have violated the FCC’s longstanding policy against broadcast licensees deliberately distorting news by staging, slanting, or falsifying information.”This is nuts for many reasons, i'll give you two. For One, all Sinclair did was tape promos saying they’ll be honest, diligent, and not report fake or unsubstantiated stories. I’m no English major, but where in any of that did Sinclair “stage, slant, or falsify” information? Or are we saying because local news promos are staged, they are actually illegal?
And secondly, suggesting they should have their broadcast license pulled is exactly the kind of idiocy that Trump was
excoriated for by these very same Senators! The FCC does not have the power to, nor should they go around pulling broadcast licenses based on their determination of what is “slanted” or any other such qualifier on a free press.
Luckily for freedom loving Americans at least, FCC Chair Ajit Pai responded in kind Thursday, and he didn’t hold back…
"Dear Senator Cantwell: Thank you for your letter requesting that the Commission investigate a broadcaster based on the content of its news coverage and promotion of that coverage. In light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press, I must respectfully decline.
A free media is vital to our democracy. That is why during my time at the Commission I have consistently opposed any effort to infringe upon the freedom of the press and have fought to eliminate regulations that impede the gathering and dissemination of news.
I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts, but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage or promotion of that coverage. Instead, I agree with Senator Markey that “any insinuation that elected officials could use the levers of government to control or sensor the news media would represent a startling degradation of the freedom of the press.” I also take this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment I made to several members of the Senate Commerce Committee last year that the Commission under my leadership would “not act in a manner that violates the First Amendment and stifles or penalizes free speech by electronic media, directly or indirectly."While he does keep it civil, he points out just how ludicrous and “chilling” this request by Democrats was. The idea that any aspect of the Federal government should delve into judging editorial choices of the free press is antithetical to everything this country stands for. To have elected representatives demanding the FCC go after local broadcasters for filming a promo spot (that doesn’t even say anything false) is outright dangerous. By that standard, there is no standard. The government could shut anyone down for basically any ginned up reason. Even worse, to do so would be blatantly unconstitutional.
The 1st Amendment isn’t ambiguous, but then again, to democrats the constitution is only viable if it meets their usefulness. After this episode of foolishness, none of these Senators nor the larger contingent of Democrats who went after Sinclair, have any credibly to speak on freedom of the press. What they have made clear is they don’t actually believe what they’ve sold in the past. It was never about freedom of the press for these people. It was just about freedom for outlets they see as helpful to their cause.