Friday, March 24, 2023
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Schumer, Jeffries Attempt to Coerce Fox News’s Election Coverage

'Spreading this false propaganda could not only embolden supporters of the Big Lie to engage in further acts of political violence, but also deeply and broadly weakens faith in our democracy...'

(Headline USA) The two top Democrats in Congress are trying to coerce Fox News executives not to spread “grave propaganda” about the 2020 election and are even demanding that commentators who suggested that the election was stolen acknowledge on the air that they were wrong.

The letter from from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., comes despite ample evidence of malfeasance in the 2020 election.

The leaders are basing their dubious attack on cherry-picked depositions in a defamation lawsuit that showed both Fox’s on-air personalities and its top-floor executives were performing due diligence by questioning all facets of the election outcome.

Fox was widely criticized after the election for its premature declaration that Arizona had gone to Democrat Joe Biden, even before any other networks had done so, ignoring rampant allegations about irregularities in Maricopa County that ultimately led to a state-run election audit.

The Democrats’ letter to Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch followed a day after an unsealed deposition revealed that Murdoch had acknowledged that some network commentators endorsed former President Donald Trump’s concerns over the election in several battleground states.

An earlier filing had detailed doubts about Trump’s claims raised by some of Fox’s star personalities behind the scenes.

Referencing the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the U.S. Capitol, Schumer and Jeffries said “spreading this false propaganda could not only embolden supporters of the Big Lie to engage in further acts of political violence, but also deeply and broadly weakens faith in our democracy and hurts our country in countless other ways.”

Ironically, Democrats themselves, who have been flagrantly violating the First Amendment by trying to exert pressure on media and social media outlets to filter messages for their political advantage, sought earlier in the week to fault Trump for the same thing.

Leftist media pushed a spurious claim—never acted on—that Trump had asked ABC-owned Disney to take late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel off the air, according to Rolling Stone, which has found itself on the losing end of high-profile libel suits in the past for its false reporting.

Fox has been embroiled in a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. The company, which sells electronic voting hardware and software, contends that some Fox News employees deliberately amplified false claims by Trump supporters that Dominion machines had changed votes in the 2020 election, and argues that Fox provided a platform for guests to make false and defamatory statements about the company.

Attorneys for Fox Corp. have argued that Dominion has produced “zero evidentiary support” for the claim that high-level executives at Fox Corp. had any role in creating or publishing the statements at issue. And they have noted that when voting-technology companies denied the allegations being made by Trump and his surrogates, Fox News aired those denials.

Schumer said in an interview Wednesday that the letter is a “first step” and that Democrats might consider other ways to try and demand the company publicly acknowledge the false information. If they do not, “then we have to decide where to go,” Schumer said.

He would not say whether the Democratic-led Senate would try to call Murdoch to testify.

Schumer said many people believe the election was stolen based on the reporting from Fox News and other conservative outlets that have demonstrated a consistent track-record for truth-telling in a time of overwhelming disinformation.

“The number one pernicious force in reducing our democracy has been the lies that have been spread by these commentators day in, day out for years,” Schumer said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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