“It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo

I testified yesterday on possible private and public limitations on free speech and the free press, including a letter from Democratic members pressing companies to remove Fox News and networks from cable.  Democratic members sent the letter to AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Cox, Altice, Hulu and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. During the hearing, House Democrat Anna Eshoo (D., Cal.) insisted that she was only “asking questions” and then reframed the objections to the letter as whether the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. It seemed like the line from A Hologram for the King: “It all meant something. Until it didn’t.”

Given the limited opportunity to respond to Rep. Eshoo in the hearing, I wanted to respond.

Rep. Eshoo insisted that the hearing itself was guilty of the type of disinformation that she was combatting in her letter co-authored by Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.). That itself was disconcerting since we were sharing opposing views on the import of her letter, including widely shared views that the letter was pressuring these companies to drop Fox News and other networks from cable programming.

The First Amendment Argument

Eshoo started out by objecting by reading the First Amendment on the government abridging free speech. She then added:

“The First Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting laws abridging the freedom of speech. . . It does not, however, stop us from examining the public health and democratic implications of misinformation. The idea that members asking questions violates the First Amendment is absolutely absurd; it’s our job to ask questions.”

She then added that she had submitted the letter to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to see if there was such a violation in the letter. The problem is that I did not say that the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. Indeed, my testimony said the opposite while noting that free speech values go beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, I raised the danger of letting members do indirectly what they cannot do directly. Asking the CRS to look for First Amendment violations is about as useful as asking them to look for endangered species violations. It was answering a question not asked.

Ironically, the emphasis on the narrower test under the First Amendment is precisely what some of us have objected to in this and other controversies. As I stated in my testimony:

What is particularly concerning is the common evasion used by academics and reporters that such regulation is not really a free speech issue because these are private companies and the First Amendment only addresses government restrictions on free speech. As a private entity, companies like Twitter or publishing houses are clearly not the subject of that amendment. However, private companies can still destroy free speech through private censorship. It is called the “Little Brother” problem. That does not alter the fundamental threat to free speech. This is the denial of free speech, a principle that goes beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, some of us view free speech as a human right.

Consider racial or gender discrimination. It would be fundamentally wrong even if federal law only banned such discrimination by the government. The same is true for free speech. The First Amendment is limited to government censorship, but free speech is not limited in the same way. Those of us who believe in free speech as a human right also believe that it is wrong to deny it as either a private or governmental entity. That does not mean that there are no differences between governmental and private actions. For example, companies may control free speech in the workplaces and companies have been recognized as having their own free speech rights. However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech. Indeed, these companies sought immunity on the false claim that they were not making editorial decisions or engaging in viewpoint regulation. No one is saying that these companies are breaking the law in denying free speech. Rather, we are saying that they are denying free speech as companies offering speech platforms.

Some have noted that it is possible for pressure from government officials to constitute state action for the purposes of an actual First Amendment claim. Thus, they cited cases when a borough president in New York City asked a billboard company to take down a sign or when a village official wrote to a local chamber of commerce objection to an ad. In both cases however the standard involved a dismissal where all facts must be inferred in favor of the opposing party. The point is valid that letters can cross the line as a threat of retaliation or action against a private company.  Yet, there are countervailing political speech and legislative interests for members of Congress. Courts are often uncomfortable in drawing such lines between advocacy and coercion by elected officials. A great variety of letters can be taken as veiled threats of possible congressional action. I know of no case where a letter of this kind ultimately resulted in a successful claim. There is also the question of relief. If a court were asked to enjoin Eschoo, what would the court order her not to do? She is engaging in free speech as a representative of her district as well as inquiry as a member of the legislative branch. If the relief is a declaratory judgment, what would be declared? That it is unconstitutional to encourage companies to apply misconceived moral standards?

There is a serious question of whether Congress is using Section 230 (and the threat to remove its protection) as a way to coerce companies to censor political critics. That is a more substantial theory with a closer nexus between legislative authority and direct demands for action.

The vast majority of criticism directed at this letter (including my own) was that it undermined free speech values and not that it was in itself a First Amendment violation. This ties into the next issue.

When Questions Are Answers

Rep. Eshoo then noted “Now I don’t know, Mr. Turley, if you find this so chilling that it is actually glacial for Congress to ask strong, important questions.” As I noted in the hearing, these were clearly statements masquerading as questions.  Putting a question mark after this line does not make any less than a statement:

“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 vast majority of writers — on the left and right — took the letter as less of an inquiry than a not-so-veiled demand. The letter was sent after many have campaigned to force these same companies to drop Fox News and other networks. Demanding to know why these companies still air Fox News was obviously as a statement against such access. Indeed, the letter was heralded by many who want to see Fox News taken off the air and saw the letter as prompted by the campaign to bar Fox News from cable.

In fairness to Rep. Eschoo, parts of the letter did request information. Moreover, I do not question her deep-felt and honest concerns over the impact of false and extremist speech. I share some of those views even if we disagree on how such speech should be addressed in our country. (Indeed, I share many values with Rep. Eschoo and support her efforts particularly in the area of the environment and protecting the California coastal areas).

The “chilling” aspect of Eshoo’s letter was also her insistence that there should be “moral” criteria applied in deciding whether to allow viewers to watch Fox News and other networks. The answer should begin with the obvious principles of free speech and the free press, which are not even referenced in a letter pushing for major news outlets to be essentially shutdown. Instead, the companies are asked if they will impose a morality judgment on news coverage and, ultimately, access. This country went through a long and troubling period of such morality codes being used to bar speakers to censor material in newspapers, books, and movies, including feminists, atheists, and other disfavored groups. To invite a return to such subjective standards is alarming, particularly in barring the preferred news sources for tens of millions of citizens. Fox News has long ranked as the most watched cable network for news, and is the primary source of news for tens of millions of citizens. Like CNN and MSNBC, it is also the target of criticism over the balance of its reporting. However, the role of these companies is not to take “adverse actions” against channels because of such objections to the focus or viewpoints exhibited on such channels.

The letter stresses that “not all TV news sources are the same” and confronts the carriers on airing the networks as purported “hotbeds” of disinformation and conspiracy theories. Specifically, they object that “Fox News . . .  has spent years spewing misinformation about American politics.” The letter does not address the long-standing objections to networks like CNN, MSNBC, and others for pronounced bias and refuted stories. There is a long list of such false stories. Some were corrected and some were not. Indeed, major media figures like Chuck Todd have made demonstrably false statements and aired a clearly false or misleading clip without any correction. Those were false stories but there are a broader array of stories that advance arguments based on rejected theories or legal interpretations. Claiming that there are strong criminal cases to be made on rejected legal interpretations is “disinformation” but it is also a form of opinion – and clearly an exercise of free speech.

Yet, the letter solely seeks to bar those networks that the members and their constituents do not like or likely watch. It is a complete list of every major television channel viewed as conservative-leaning. If the companies were to yield to such pressure, there would be no major television outlet offering a substantial alternative to the coverage of companies like CNN and MSNBC. Tens of millions of viewers would be forced to watch those channels or watch nothing at all. Frankly, such curtailment or outright elimination of these networks would work to the advantage of these and other Democratic members.  There is a rather obvious conflict of interest that is laid bare not only by the demand but the inclusion of only networks with large conservative audiences. The objection to “spewing misinformation about American politics” is clearly made from one side of such politics.

Finding Clarity and Common Ground

I do believe that the Eshoo letter is an attack on free speech and the free press values. However, I appreciated the civil and substantive dialogue in the hearing. While Soledad O’Brien and I disagree on points, we share a concern for how our media is changing with the “echo chamber” model that is now widely adopted. We also agree on the need to bolster local media and to more clearly distinguish between opinion and news coverage. Finally, all of the witnesses agreed that Congress should not try to regulate the media and that there should not be a push to take Fox and other networks off cable platforms — a rejection of the underlying premise of the letter.

Where O’Brien and I disagree is on her position that we should all support free speech but not for “liars.” O’Brien insists that media should bar “liars” from interviews without defining how we make such judgments. She simply suggests that it is obvious Free speech means little if it does not apply to anyone accused of “disinformation.” We have seen how subjective that standard can be.

O’Brien said that the media should not be continued interviews after former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts.” Yet, wasn’t that news? Conway was interviewed about that phrase and what she meant. Under O’Brien’s approach, she would not have been interviewed further? I obviously disagree that interviews with challenged individuals is still not news. I noted in the hearing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of lying about about nursing home deaths from Covid-19 and his Administration’s past statements to the state and federal governments. Should we refuse to interview because some say he is a liar? What if we believe he is lying, isn’t it still news to interview him and challenge him on those points?

These are difficult and interesting questions. I would prefer to discuss them at media conferences rather than a congressional committee. Particularly with the release of the Eshoo letter, the hearing was widely taken as an effort to apply pressure on these companies and fuel demands for forms of private or public speech controls.

I was hoping that Rep. Eschoo and other Democratic members would use the hearing to offer a simple and unifying statement: we oppose efforts to remove Fox News and these other networks from cable programming. Not a single Democratic member made that statement, which (in my view) should be easy for anyone who believes in free speech and the free press. Even though every witness (including one who lost her father to Covid-19) made that statement, no Democratic member was willing to state publicly that they would oppose efforts to remove Fox News from cable access. That silence was also chilling to the point of glacial.

This blog was updated.

106 thoughts on ““It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo”

  1. Constitution 101

    ABSOLUTE

    The Constitution and Bill of Rights are absolute and immutable.

    The rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are provided, and NOT qualified, by the Constitution and Bill of Rights and are, therefore, absolute and immutable.

    Without hindrance, impediments or interference, Americans have the right to fully and absolutely enjoy the rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities provided by the Constitution and Bill of Rights over any

    concern or thesis of Congress and/or the Judicial Branch.

    The judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court, has NO power to legislate or modify legislation and enjoys as its sole duty and charge merely the power to assure that actions comport with law.*

    Fundamental law may not be modified by Congress or the Judicial Branch, including the Supreme Court, or by any State, but only through exercise of the constitutional amendment process.

    The freedoms of speech, press, religion and assembly are not qualified and are, therefore, immutable.

    The right to private property is absolute and immutable allowing only owners to “claim and/or exercise dominion” over private property, brooking no interference whatsoever by governmental entities.

    The right to keep and bear arms is absolute and immutable and shall not be infringed in any aspect or facet.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    What America is facing is conquest and extinction by its direct, mortal enemy, global communism and the emerging global hegemon, communist China, which, incidentally and importantly, made clear its intent to

    achieve dominion by releasing a biological weapon, “China Flu, 2020,” to improve its geopolitical position.

    The prime enemy is China and communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America have for decades been committing actionable treason by “…adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid

    and Comfort.”

    The enemy is not at the gates, the enemy is inside the gates.

    The enemy is egregiously violating fundamental law and is irrefutably culpable.

    Listening further to the mad rantings of hysterical and incoherent zealots is no longer tenable.

    The enemy, as has been the case throughout history, must be neutralized, before said neutralization is no longer possible.

    America, including its Constitution and Bill of Rights, is in its final, mortal struggle for survival.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and

    to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776
    _____________________________

    *
    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “… men [will] do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton
    ________________

    “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

    – James Madison

  2. “her insistence that there should be “moral” criteria applied in deciding whether to allow viewers to watch Fox News and other networks. ”

    Moral? For decades we have been teaching at university cultural relativism, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. In each of these the notion of anything being “moral” is discounted. Allegedly there is no objective right and wrong; all is consequential at best, relative, or arbitrary.

    NOW THEY SAY we are immoral. No. I say: your values are not ours; you morals are not ours. Simple as that

    Saloth Sar

  3. Notice which party is the party of censorship? Did Republicans try to pressure cable to drop all the Democrat news media sources? Nope.

    Hey, you moderate Democrats out here. You’ve already left it so late that if you speak up, you’ll be threatened with financial ruin by your own party. If you leave it any later to object to the direction your party is taking, then it will reach the level of totalitarianism. It’s fast approaching.

    Stop denying there is a problem and do something about it. Democrat politicians and Big Tech don’t care that conservatives don’t like being censored and canceled, but they WILL care if you vote differently, and stop using their services.

    Silence is what led the National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazis) to power. Do not be silent now.

    1. Karen, the GOP ended the Fairness Doctrine for broadcast TV and radio and we now have mega media companies setting right wing radio programming 24/7 across the nation and buying local TV stations where they dictate right wing programming and editorializing

      Tells us about your concern for freedom of expression on these limited and public airwaves.

      1. “we now have mega media companies setting right wing radio programming 24/7 across the nation and buying local TV stations where they dictate right wing programming and editorializing”

        So, are contending that NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and CNN, are guilty of “setting right wing radio programming 24/7 across the nation”?!

        You really need to come up with something better than that. Because all you’re doing is making JT’s argument for him.

        Also, keep in mind that taxpayers fund PBS, NPR, and all of local public radio and television.

      2. Karen, the GOP ended the Fairness Doctrine for broadcast TV and radio and we now have mega media companies setting right wing radio programming 24/7 across the nation and buying local TV stations where they dictate right wing programming and editorializing

        The Fairness Doctrine was humbug, as explained by Nat Hentoff.

        You have Salem and Clear Channel providing commentary through an antique medium. This bothers liberals because they are emotionally disturbed.

  4. Aside from two Democrat senators, I see no Democrat veering from the racist and speech-suppressing false narrative pushed by leader Pelosi and the leftist mob. Whereas with Republicans, which most the time sees several at least who are willing to go against the tide.

  5. Former president Obama loves going around talking about the “need for only one set of facts.” He led the charge on discrediting Fox News and right-leaning outlets of news and information all throughout his presidency. Now he still spouts off about it on large platforms with Oprah and Bruce Springsteen on their new nauseating ‘bro’ podcast. This Fox-bashing crap is Obama’s favorite subject, still.

    1. Former President Barack Hussein Obama lies with impunity. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” He has no credibility. It is absurd to listen to him.

    1. This is why they keep Grandpa Pudding Brain under wraps. Has he stood up, as president, and answered questions from the press yet? Has Biden answered any questions that are not “pre-vetted” and “pre-selected softballs” asked by their chosen “friendly” press allies? Nope.

      Notice how many “lids” the White House calls for this busy President Biden? “Lids” signal to press: No more activities, or events on presidents’ public schedule. Grandpa Earpiece needs lots of rest and downtime doesn’t he? Hmmm.

    2. I know right? I’d much rather be back to behind the scenes panicked planning about how to not act on trump’s impulses re the football.

      1. I’d much rather be back to behind the scenes panicked planning about how to not act on trump’s impulses re the football.

        I’m no doctor, but your condition may be treatable with Xanax.

        No charge. You’re welcome.

  6. “That silence was also chilling to the point of glacial.”

    Bit of a mixed metaphor there, Jon. I could see the vibe being chilled to that point. Maybe not the silence. Who knows.

    And unfortunately it seems congressional hearings are designed for framing statements as questions. That’s the trick, right? Witness Jim Jordan and Louie Gomert and Ron Johnson venture deep into space with their five minutes in any hearing.

    You touch on something I’ve been thinking for awhile in this current ‘free speech under threat’ climate…, that being I feel like it’s more of a good faith vs. bad faith communication theme than a purely free speech one. I suppose I’m more in agreement with O’Brien in that respect. Maybe the billion dollar defamation suits against Fox, Newsmax, Rudi, the My Pillow guy, et. al will have the most effect in deciphering where the rubber meets the road, ay?

    Just my thoughts from the cheap seats.

    EB

    1. Global multinationals own the mass media. They will always and ever advance their own corporate interests. The interests of the people and the nation have little meaning for them except as they are required to maintain a certain pretense of caring about either. Lawfare in this space is also just a cost of doing business. In the long run, the aims are not narrow profits, either., they are long term operant conditioning of the masses. Over a century certain things are painfully obvious. For example: they never met a war they did not like, they are always eager to project the government’s excuses for war and invasions, and they never much dare to touch upon the underlying economic motivations for war. Because why? because those underlying motivations are shared by them too. Wrap your heads around this. The “military industrial complex,” the “intelligence community,” the core of the American political establishment and the mass media establishment almost always have an identity of shared perceptions and strategic interests when it comes to foreign policy and war. Sal Sar

      PS. the American media should not be so arrogant as to believe that the divergent interests of people inside the US can’t lead to major conflict. Here is a story from Spain. A rapper wrote a song against the king. Lese majeste is a crime there and he got locked up. This enflamed the people of Catalonia who have secessionist ambitions. Protests and crime are on a rampage there.

      Now, one might argue that is a left-wi8ng oriented secessionist impulse, but it can happen here too, in a different form and faction. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/20/spain-braces-for-fifth-night-of-protests-over-rappers-arrest

    1. Soledad became independent when she started Starfish, and can now have a greater impact on journalistic standards. I applaud her defense of high standards of truth-seeking and ethical content moderation. That said, she has a tendency to oversimplify the challenge of responsible journalism, for example, acknowledging how different perspectives affect news selection and framing. Where I differ from her is perhaps in seeing truth-gathering as an ongoing process, whereas she seems to refer to “the truth” and “facts” as if born of ontological certainty. No matter, her entrepreneurism in her field is a very healthy sign that the established news orgs don’t have a “lock” — the audience will ultimately decide what kind of journalism, and what kind of standards, it chooses to pay attention to.

  7. What these left wing extremist DC Democrats are doing is literally promoting totalitarian styled open persecution of those that have differing opinions. They imply that this wrong think is somehow illegal, terrorism, hate speech, not welcome in our culture, etc, etc. These totalitarian minded DC Democrats are an enemy to the people of the United States of America and are violating their oath of office by promoting this kind of anti-constitutional persecution.

    https://stevewitherspoonhome.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/persecution.jpg

    That sign says “Jews are not wanted here”.

    Our 21st century totalitarian minded Democrats are telling us that Republicans and Conservatives are not wanted here and they are actively in the process of extending their direct and indirect persecution against the political right. This is very equivalent to what happened in the early 1930’s Germany with the totalitarian fascists vs the Jews.

    The prophetic words Martin Niemöller should be ringing in the heads of all those that cherish Liberty.

    First they came for the Socialists,
    and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
    and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me ,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    1. First they came for the guy who went into tyhe pizzeria with an AR 15 and I did not speak out.

      Then they came for the guys with the Auschwitz T-Shirts, breaking windws in the Capital, and I did nothing.

      Then they came for the guys building a hangman’s noose for the vice-President on the mall, and I did nothing.

      Then ……..

      1. Nice stack of ridiculous false equivalencies you assembled there AnonJF.

        When ignorance or intelligence prevents someone from properly understanding logical fallacies those people shouldn’t try to use rhetorical equivalencies.

        Do you want to try throwing some more rhetorical crap at the wall to see what sticks?

      2. AnonJoeFriday, first they came for the White House. The President was moved to the bunker and you did nothing. Next they came to burn the police headquarters and you did nothing. They burned the church in D.C. and you did nothing. They took over the cities of Seattle and Portland and you did nothing. AnonJoeFriday is a highly selective brilliant mind. Joes speech should continue as a very prescient example of a different vision. It is vital that Joe continue to speak.

  8. “During the hearing, House Democrat Anna Eshoo (D., Cal.) insisted that she was only “asking questions” and then reframed the objections to the letter as whether the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. It seemed like the line from A Hologram for the King: “It all meant something. Until it didn’t.”
    ******************************************

    JT has his favorite Eggers quote and I have mine:

    “We’ve become a nation of indoor cats, he’d said. A nation of doubters, worriers, overthinkers. Thank God these weren’t the kind of Americans who settled this country. They were a different breed! They crossed the country in wagons with wooden wheels! People croaked along the way, and they barely stopped. Back then, you buried your dead and kept moving.”
    ― Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

    1. “We’ve become a nation of indoor cats, he’d said. A nation of doubters, worriers, overthinkers.

      Cats don’t like disruptions to their routine, don’t like attention on someone else’s schedule, don’t like sudden and unfamiliar noises, don’t like to be off their territory (indoor or outdoor), and don’t like their freedom of movement impaired (though they’ll tolerate it if they love you). They do not doubt, worry, or overthink anything in any obvious way. A cat does not mean but be.

  9. the answer to the free speech debate is, and will always be

    MORE SPEECH.

    I volunteer to hold every one of them down as we tatoo this axiom on their foreheads.

  10. Although I think it is still fair to say that Fox News tends to be “right of center” in the viewpoints of its commentators, the newscasters in general adhere to a more neutral tack. Furthermore, Fox News makes an effort to present opposing viewpoints, as, for example, in their political panels, when there is almost always at least one “left-of-center” talking head along with one or more who are “right-of-center.” And the politics of the talking heads is usually pretty obvious and out front – they don’t pretend to be unbiased. I think in general that Fox News is fairer and less biased these days than the other networks are.

    1. “I think in general that Fox News is fairer and less biased these days than the other networks are.”

      Agreed. Name the “conservative” and “right-leaning” analysts on CNN and MSNBC. For four years all they did is trash Trump and Republicans. There was no opposing viewpoint. It was Hate, Inc. spewed all day long.

      Is the kook Nicole Wallace’s show allegedly a “right-leaning” hosted show on MSNBC? Coulda fooled everyone on that.

      I say “kook Nicole Wallace” ever since I heard her ask James Comey, “When are YOU running for office? We need people like you in office.” Say whaaat? She is a mess with her whiny irritating voice and her show is beyond awful.

      1. None of the cable/”news” channels are reliable sources of news. They sell opinions, not news. If you want news, watch the broadcast networks, incl PBS, and read the AP, Reuters, BBC, NYTs, WSJ, WaPo, LATimes, Miami Herald, etc. The print sources all have opiniion sections but they all have news reporting which is where the opinion people elsewhere actually learn what happened.

        1. PBS? Even Turley noted its biased reporting in a tweet:

          “NPR reported that there were concerns the Pelosi’s commission on the Capitol riot would “favor” Democrats without mentioning that Pelosi wants a ridiculous 7-4 Democratic majority. The 9-11 Commission was split 50-50. Why 7-4?”

          Key phrase was that NPR reported it “without mentioning that Pelosi wants a ridiculous 7-4 Democratic majority.”

          This is just one tiny example of the biased, slanted “reporting” and “headlines” that happens all the time.

            1. Reporters are human and one way or the other biased. However, valid news sources strive for accuracy, minimize opinion in reporting, issue corrections for error, and provide viewpoints by opposing sides on issues where there is legitimate disagreement (I.e., flat earthers will not be interviewed).

              Having the same “other side” at a dais for “balance” – Rick Santorum at CNN, Juan Williams and Fox – or some minor liberal Palooka for Sean Hannity to shout down and mock are not true balance. We all know the drill. You’re only going to “learn” what you want to learn on these cable networks.

              1. AnonJoeFriday, you often write about the fairness doctrine. If you would answer a question for me truthfully I would appreciate it. When Fox, Newsmax, and OAN are gone will CNN and MSNBC offer opposing viewpoints? They came for Fox and you did nothing. They came for Newsmax and you did nothing. The came for OAN and you did nothing. When they come for AnonJoeFriday he will exclaim, “ Why didn’t I do something”!

        2. PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor is a left-wing advocate more than an unbiased, neutral reporter. She’s one of the worst on the beat. But hey, she’s black, so there’s her job security. AP is ridiculously biased. Just read a headline and it’s in plain view.

          NYT and WaPs have become leftwing rags at this point.

          Reuters is one of the very few that still does a decent job of it.

          1. C-SPAN is needed more than ever now. But even it has suffered an obvious decline since Brian Lamb’s departure…

            See their “presidential debate moderator” scandal. He has since been returned to his position, of course.

            “C-SPAN has suspended political editor and debate moderator Steve Scully after he admitted lying about his Twitter feed being hacked when caught out apparently scheming against President Donald Trump and trying to cover his tracks. Scully was indefinitely suspended on Thursday, after admitting that he hadn’t been hacked after all.”

        3. “None of the cable/”news” channels are reliable sources of news.”

          True, but the point is most people get their “news” and information from these channels and do not know the difference.

          And it is also true that Fox News is the “most watched, most trusted,” for a reason.

          1. Fox has had no competition for right wing “news”. CNN and MSNBC combined are at least it’s equal in viewership.

            Whoop de doo!

              1. Their business model appears to be to capture the space which used to be occupied by those we called ‘the nutroots’ 15 years ago.

        4. AnonJoeFriday, going into all the news sources that you used as examples would take to long. I can isolate a couple of story’s by the N.Y. Times. The first would be the reporting on Nicholas Sandman harassing a Native American. That story cost them a pretty penny in a law suite. The second and more recent story depicted the death of officer Sicknick by a blow to the head with a fire extinguisher. They later had to retract that story. Excuse me if I don’t accept your recommendations of fair and impartial sources for my propagandists.

  11. The Congressperson needs to go back to CC and take a basic civics course, and then perhaps follow-up with some additional poli sci courses on the Constitution before attempting to censor the media

  12. From Her House bio: “Eshoo is a graduate of Cañada College and the CORO Foundation and was awarded an Honorary Degree by Menlo College. She was elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1982 and served on the County Board for ten years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.”
    ***************************

    “Oh was that wrong?” Ne’er a legal degree to be found but she did “graduate” from CORO, a Democratic activist mill that also produced such splendid “graduates” as our own, Sen. Tim Kaine (at least he’s a lawyer):

  13. It is apparent by now that not only don’t the Democrats believe in free speech, but precious few of them believe in the rule of law at all. Did it ever occur to them that four years of Russiagate falsehoods pushed on MSNBC and other MSM would not have been allowed if Eshoo’s views were accepted back then? While some of us might count that as a plus, nevertheless, I would never call for the MSM to be canceled. Bad views need to be challenged, not canceled. Let’s hope this is just an ugly phase the country is going through, like the McCarthy period, and that soon saner voices will prevail. In the meanwhile, voices like Turley’s are crucial to keeping the light burning at the end of the tunnel.

    1. @giocon: Well stated. My only quibble would be that leftists do, indeed, believe in the rule of law. The caveat is they intend it more along the lines of, “We should have an iron-fisted rule regarding laws that stifle any divergence (past or present) from today’s current group-think; and we fully intend to enforce them against anyone who questions our authority–which derives solely from our sense of moral superiority.” As you can see, the main issues are then tendency of group-thin to modulate over time, and the lack of an external truth that defines morality.

      My fear is that the end-of-tunnel light is actually an oncoming train rather than open tracks. That is, unless ours will be the first and only nation since “In the beginning…” that will not suffer the righteous judgment of the Creator and Living God who has grown weary of our collective idolatry. Although Deut. 31:14-18 was explicitly spoken to Moses about Israel, the lesson is for each generation and every nation: follow false gods, invoke the wrath of the real One.

      Pause, and selah, indeed.

  14. The Pinkos are on a tear; they want to undermine the Constitution because they think that they will benefit.

    They have the right to their opinions, but recognize that these legislators swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

    They are liars and oath breakers.

    Watch the usual lefty bloggers scream in outrage, but recognize that they are trolls suffering from TDS.

    I honestly gave them months of consideration, but have concluded that few of them argue in good faith. They post out of anger, derangement, and a desire to insult.

    I pass by most of their post – just read the responses from normal people.

    1. Monument– “The Pinkos are on a tear; they want to undermine the Constitution :
      ****
      Fully agree except substitute “burn” for “undermine” and note that it is already in flames.

    2. They believe in will to power. The problem with will to power in a culturally divided society, is that the less scrupulous element always makes longer and wider gains at the expense of the more scrupled.

      This will continue until we are wiped out, or we divide.

      The only thing stopping us, is adhering to their false, counterfeit, bogus narrative in which we actually “share values” which can unite a nation. They are not interested in uniting; they are interested in subjugating us, and when we are no longer strong to resist, culling us.

      They– meaning, the increasingly arrogant and mean spirited Democratic leadership– are however, not the true enemy. They are hired hands of the true enemy.

      The true enemy is: the group of western, billionaire globalists, who are our new feudal lordships. Eventually, there is no way out but through them.

      Sal Sar

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