In a Monday op-ed, the Washington Post called on heavyweight telecommunications corporations to shut down conservative cable news outlets including Fox News, One America News, and Newsmax TV, comparing the need to do so with that of shutting down foreign terrorist influencers.
The essay, penned by prominent Trump critic Max Boot, a Post columnist and CNN global affairs analyst, begins by explaining how merely holding the president accountable for “his role in inciting this violent insurrection” is “insufficient.”
“There is a whole infrastructure of incitement that will remain intact even after Trump leaves office,” Boot writes. “Just as we do with foreign terrorist groups, so with domestic terrorists: We need to shut down the influencers who radicalize people and set them on the path toward violence and sedition.”
The essay then heaps praise on the recent purging of conservative voices on social media platforms by tech giants, hoping that broadcast media will follow suit.
“Anyone who cherishes our democracy should be grateful to the management of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for their newfound sense of social responsibility,” the op-ed reads. “We should expect at least the same level of responsibility from broadcast media — and in particular from Fox News, which has the largest reach on the right.”
The essay then criticizes Fox News for not issuing an edict to stop “spreading false claims” regarding election fraud.
“Cumulus Media, one of America’s largest talk-radio companies, has ordered its hosts — who include some Fox News personalities — to stop spreading false claims of election fraud,” Boot writes. “But Fox News itself has issued no such edict.”
The author then suggests that if key members of the Murdoch family, which owns News Corp and its sister company Fox Corp., won’t comply, then large cable carriers should have Fox News shut down.
“If [they] won’t listen, then large cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Spectrum, which carry Fox News and provide much of its revenue in the form of user fees, need to step in and kick Fox News off,” states Boot.
The essay also targeted other conservative outlets.
“And if smaller competitors such as One America News and Newsmax continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off,” the author writes.
Claiming that the United Kingdom “doesn’t have its own version of Fox News” due to a government regulator, the essay concludes with a demand that Joe Biden take heed.
“As president, Biden needs to reinvigorate the FCC [Federal Communications Commission].”
The essay is part of a host of calls on the left to shun conservative voices and at a time of unprecedented “purges” of such voices on various social media platforms.
This week, CNN — where Boot is a fellow contributor — began pushing for conservative media outlets such as One America News and Newsmax TV to be blacklisted.
Earlier this month, a Forbes magazine op-ed warned companies about hiring “fabulists” from the Trump administration.
“Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie,” Forbes magazine’s chief content officer, Randall Lane, wrote.
Also this month, the anti-Trump Lincoln Project announced that it is building a database of Trump officials and staffers with the intention of holding them professionally “accountable” for supporting the president.
Last month, a Washington Post essay encouraged the media to shun Republicans who questioned the election results.
The essay itself admitted promoting “a radical approach” yet stood by it as “the only way to safely proceed with live interviews with Republicans who may be carrying a dangerous conspiracy theory that spreads on air.”
Also last month, the Washington Post published an essay comparing denying election results to denying the Holocaust and using that as a pretext to silence opposing voices.
“We would not allow a Holocaust denier to speak on evening news programs or have free rein on social media,” the essay’s authors write unequivocally. “Old and new media alike should no longer give a platform to these dissimulations, starting with Trump’s.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.