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To: Maria Cantwell, incoming Senate Commerce Committee Chair
Deplatform the Fox News Channel
Senator Cantwell, given the lies, disinformation, and propaganda spread by the Fox News Channel (FNC), we believe it is essential that their media power be curtailed. Given your oversight of the FCC, you are uniquely positioned to do so and we request that you consider the following:
1. Require cable companies to unbundle news channels, thus depriving FNC of income from viewers who do not wish to support them
2. Implement a new Fairness Doctrine that covers broadcast, cable, and internet, which requires producers to give equal time to differing political views.
3. Investigate whether political broadcasts favoring particular candidates should be considered as campaign donations, and determine a value based on the audience size.
4. Any other mechanisms you feel are appropriate.
Why is this important?
While we believe in a free press and that censorship is offensive to democracy, FNC is gaming the system in a way that is demonstrably harmful.
The recent political situation has vividly illustrated how many people have been mislead by FNC propaganda. For example, a large number of their viewers have been conned into believing there were election irregularities when none have been proven; FNC viewers are more likely to believe that the threat of COVID-19 isn’t real or has been overplayed; research has shown that FNC viewers are less well informed than viewers of other news channels.
It’s also worth noting that OfCom, the UK broadcast regulator, has found Fox’s programming to be in violation of their impartiality rules for news programs. For these reasons and many others, we urge the Senate or the FCC under your oversight, implement ways to counteract the insidious effect of the Murdoch media conglomerate.