The Obama-linked nonprofit “Free Press,” which seeks to “change the media to transform democracy to realize a just society” has petitioned the FCC to pressure broadcasters into either not broadcasting President Trump’s public comments about the Chinese virus, or “fact checking” everything Trump says.
In its petition to the FCC, “Free Press” accused President Trump of telling “dangerous lies about a public health emergency,” and urged the FCC to “rein in radio broadcasters that seed confusion.”
Via the petition:
When the president tells dangerous lies about a public health emergency, broadcasters have a choice: don’t air them, or put those lies in context with disclaimers noting that they may be untrue and are unverified. And certainly the FCC has a duty to rein in radio broadcasters that seed confusion with lies and disinformation. . . We recommend that television disclosures appear in writing in the lower third and orally, and that radio broadcasters correct misinformation about COVID-19 in oral reporting after press conferences and immediately following other instances when false information airs.
The FCC rejected the petition, correctly noting that the progressive nonprofit vastly overstated the commission’s powers.
“The Petition rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Commission’s limited role in regulating broadcast journalism,” wrote the FCC in its response.
“And at worst, the Petition is a brazen attempt to pressure broadcasters to squelch their coverage of a President that Free Press dislikes and silence other commentators with whom Free Press disagrees.”
This brazen call for censorship did not come from a fringe group: Free Press enjoys a great deal of influence in the Democrat party. When the Obama administration imposed Title II common carrier regulations (misleadingly labeled “Net Neutrality” by Democrats) on internet service providers, it cited Free Press more than fifty times to justify its new regulatory regime.
According to Free Press, “Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking freely online.” It seems Free Press believes that ISPs, who have never blocked political speech, pose a censorship risk, but the FCC pressuring broadcasters and radio stations to censor conservatives is not.
Free Press is clearly not opposed to corporate censorship. In another recent petition, the left-wing nonprofit called on tech giants to tackle “hate and disinformation about COVID-19” spread by “violent white supremacists, Fox News personalities and President Trump himself,” calling on social media platforms to do more to remove so-called “harmful” content.
Yet Free Press has also recently testified before Congress in support of the Democrat-backed Save The Internet Act, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled House last Spring, which would restore Obama-era Title II regulations. The double-speaking group’s testimony before Congress carries titles such as “Preserving an Open Internet for Consumers, Small Businesses, and Free Speech.”
Again, this is not a fringe group. The Free Press has testified before the current Congress six times, at the invitation of Democrats, and based on its influence with the Obama White House, may well play an influential role in future Democrat-led administrations.
According to its latest reports, it receives funding from a range of progressive and left-wing foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, and George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.