Rep. Eshoo wants to know why TV providers carry Fox News and other conservative channels

Daily Post Staff Writer

Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, have sent cable TV companies and internet providers of TV channels pointed letters asking why they carry conservative news channels. The two House members say the channels are disseminating misinformation about the presidential election and Covid.

The two, who sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent letters to the CEOs of 12 carriers including AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Apple, Hulu, Google and Xfinity, asking them why they carry the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and the One America News Network, or OANN.

The two House members also asked if the carriers apply ethical or moral principles when they decide what channels to offer.

The letters come ahead of a House hearing today (Feb. 24) called “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.” The hearing is meant to examine the role of broadcast and cable news “in disseminating disinformation and extremist content to the American people,” according to a memo from the committee.

The memo cites a Pew Research Center analysis that says over 50% of Americans get their news primarily from TV or radio programming, versus less than 20% who get their news from social media.

“While much of the blame has been placed on the widespread disinformation on social media platforms, industry participants have also noted that broadcast and cable outlets have played a role in the spread of disinformation,” the memo says.

The memo from the committee appears to throw cold water on the journalistic principle of getting both sides of a story.

“Despite criticism, many traditional media outlets continue to allow for the disinformation in an attempt to follow journalistic standards and present multiple viewpoints in a news story,” the memo says.

Confusing opinion and news

One issue, according to the memo, is that viewers often get confused by whether what they are watching is news or opinion.

When asked by the Post in an email if she thinks the FCC should consider regulating cable and internet-based TV providers, Eshoo responded: “My letters and the upcoming hearing are asking questions to gather information about our media ecosystem. I am not currently advocating for or proposing legislative or regulatory actions. I’m asking questions to help inform how Congress should deal with deadly misinformation.”

The letters from Eshoo and McNerney have raised the hackles of some.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page said their letters are “part of a campaign to engineer a more pliant media through coercion of the corporations that distribute information.”

CNBC quoted a Republican aide for the committee saying that the two Democratic House members are “flirting with violating the First Amendment.”

“Should the government be pressuring private industries to censor legally protected content and suppress the freedom of the press? No. If a free and independent press is still valued and mainstream in America, this censorship campaign should alarm every single journalist and member of the media,” the unnamed aide told CNBC.

Fox News calls it a ‘terrible precedent’

Fox and Newsmax are firing back at the two House members.

“As the most-watched cable news channel throughout 2020, Fox News Media provided millions of Americans with in-depth reporting, breaking news coverage and clear opinion,” the company said in a statement to CNBC. “For individual members of Congress to highlight political speech they do not like and demand cable distributors engage in viewpoint discrimination sets a terrible precedent.”

Newsmax, in a statement to Politico, also criticized Eshoo and McNerney.

“The House Democrats’ attack on free speech and basic First Amendment rights should send chills down the spines of all Americans,” Newsmax said. “Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the (election). We did not see that same balanced coverage when CNN and MSNBC pushed for years the Russian collusion hoax, airing numerous claims and interviews with Democrat leaders that turned out to be patently false.”

Eshoo says she supports the First Amendment

In her email to the Post, Eshoo said that she is an ardent supporter of the First Amendment and that her letters “do not make any law, do not have the force of law and do not threaten any laws.”

“The First Amendment does not prevent me from examining the public health and democratic implications of disinformation. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and there’s credible evidence that disinformation reduces compliance with public health guidelines and increases vaccine hesitancy. There’s also clear evidence that disinformation enabled the Jan. 6 insurrection. This is a clear basis for beginning an inquiry,” Eshoo wrote.


  1. Saying she’s just asking questions is misleading. She’s asking those questions on government stationery as a member of Congress, not an ordinary citizen. And the CEOs getting her letters are regulated by her committee, so of course they will want to appease her. This is an intimidation attempt. She’s telling them through her leading questions to keep conservative viewpoints off the air.

  2. I’m a Democrat and I totally disagree with this move. Let people hear both sides of any issue and let them make up their own minds. No need to censor anyone.

  3. For someone who has been in Congress since 1993 and done NOTHING but make herself comfortable, Anna has got a lot of guts to write such a letter. She is trying to take us down a path toward totalitarianism.

  4. The liberal owners of NBC-Comcast have refused to put One America News on their cable systems, and now the issue is in the courts. Anna doesn’t need to intimidate companies like NBC, they’re already doing her bidding.

  5. A capitol police officer was bludgeoned to death by a fire extinguisher when murderous insurrectionists believed that the election was stolen. All the courts in the land have confirmed this was a big lie.

    Sadly, Emily Mibach is now misleading the Post’s readers. The letter (linked in the story) doesn’t take issue with conservative news channels. The letter deals with misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, etc.

  6. Today’s front page photo of Anna Eshoo appears to show her with a metal spike of some sort penetrating her skull into the brain. That explains everything.

  7. This is a great idea, no other party will ever try something similar once they’re in power. Wonder which states will block CNN and The NY Times? Maybe still bitter over getting caught ignoring Rona to get her hair dyed

  8. Fox News is allowed to stretch truthful news reporting because the Supreme Court ruled they dont have to deliver the truth as they’re considered entertainment, despite *fox snooze* advertising *fair and balanced*. There should be a creeper message/ disclaimer telling viewers *for entertainment only * of course they won’t do that as they’ll lose gullible viewers and ratings.

    • @Allan Martinez, could you please cite (or link) the U.S. Supreme Court decision you’ve mentioned? Or something to help me find it, like the name of the plaintiff or the year of the decision? I don’t recall any Supreme Court decisions involving Fox News Channel. I think misinformation is a problem for those on both the right and the left.

    • Oh please Allan Martinez! Have you even watched Fox? Or are you glued to those champions of truth CNN and MSLSD?

      Let’s see, where to begin: Russia Collusion Delusion, Blasey Ford fever dreams, Impeachment hoaxes, etc, etc

      The DEMOlition Party run media is nothing but an echo chamber of lies, misinformation and propaganda the CCP feeds it, along with their cash. Wake up brother! You’re brain has been fully hacked!

  9. This is really outrageous. This is Eschoo using her office – OUR office – to conduct a political vendetta orchestrated by the Democrat party in an attempt to subvert the First Amendment – all of it shameful act by an immoral person who should not be representing this district. Yet, there she is, elected again and again.

  10. One feature of Italian fascism was an integrated corporate/government structure. Thanks to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and endless other examples we have achieved Mussolini’s objective. Anna Eshoo believes the first amendment should be modified by government’s corporate partners but not by the government itself.

  11. I am relieved to see that even in liberal Palo Alto, most readers have the good sense and fairness to oppose censorship. Perhaps things are not as dire as they often appear.

  12. Glad to see the Post is covering this issue. Interesting how the Weakly, Chronicle and others have ignored it, as if Free Speech isn’t important to them.

  13. Anna must publicly apologize for and rescind this letter immediately, or resign. She has misused her public trust and needs to be held accountable.

  14. The DEMOlition Party has reached point of no return, full tilt, insanity. The bells of their arcade pin ball machine are flashing read and irs shaking, soon to implode. What a joke Eshoo is and has been, just a lapdog for Pelosi and hasn’t done anything significant for her district in decades. NEWS FLASH for DEMOlition Party: once you’ve trashed the house completely (just about there), defecated throughout the living room (done), and torn up the place (done), we are going to kick you on your keester the heck out of power, faster than you can say “Tucker Carlson.” You may not realize this but over 75 million Americans have had it with your trampling our US Constitution, our rights, including FREEDOM OF SPEECH -1st Amendment, look it up! Your DEMOlition Party is DONE! Stick a fork in it! 2022 can’t come fast enough, I’ll personally work to remove Eshoo and “Mr. bang bang fang fang” – it will be wonderful to see them both booted out!

  15. Eshoo is way off! This ongoing attack of our us Constitution and 1st amendment will not end well for Eshoo and all others in democrat party. People have now reached same level of disdain as they reached against McCarthy. McCarthyism was ended and so too this will pass! We’ll boot the Dems out in 2022 and 2024 and win America back from their totalitarian death grip.

  16. Why don’t we let US citizens decide for themselves what is “disinformation?” Once the government starts making that decision for us it’s censorship. Plain and simple. Back in the 70’s – the liberal party would fight tooth and nail for freedom of speech, no matter what the topic. What happened? We’re headed down a very scary path that violates the core tenets of this country.

  17. Eschoo’s effort to cancel free speech is so much more offensive and dangerous because of the district she represents. This district is America’s premier tech center and home to Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. Each of these companies were great until they became corrupt and predatory – we could debate which is worse (Facebook) but all three must make us wonder what have we unleashed. We know that these companies will cancel us in a heartbeat if our work can be exported, we know there is very little loyalty, we know that the wealth generated by these companies has flowed up to the top and not to the normal rank and file, we know that these companies are up to a lot of evil beyond the value they provide. Now we see Eschoo supporting tech’s ability to cancel any ideas they don’t like (no one seems to mind the dark, violent, idiotic, smut media delivers but ideas? – those have to be surpressed). Now we see Eschoo trying to partner with these tech companies to destroy the First Amendment – U.S. Representatives should never be caught trying to subvert the Constitution and certainly not one from a district that is literally defining the future of information exchange.

  18. It’s time to start letting the good people in government decide what TV channels we watch and what books we can read. All this talk about “First Amendment rights” is so boring! Let’s scrap the Constitution so that Anna doesn’t have to hide her instructions in the form of questions! She should be able to tell any broadcaster, publisher or blog-writer what they can and cannot say. As we begin to move toward Socialism, where the government takes things away from people who have earned them and gives them to the lazy, there’s going to be a lot of upset people. Allowing the news media to run free might stop the move toward Socialism. I don’t want that to happen!

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