The Democratic efforts include a House hearing Wednesday where lawmakers lambasted conservative-leaning broadcasters and cable channels as sources of dangerous conspiracy theories about the pandemic and the November election. Two House Democrats also sent letters to cable, satellite and streaming providers on Monday asking why they carry Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network, all of which had spent months echoing President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.
Outside D.C., New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has called for the Federal Communications Commission to revive its long-discarded Fairness Doctrine, which he inaccurately suggested required balanced coverage on cable news.
Democrats, who have spent years pounding online companies like Facebook and Twitter for spreading misinformation, say it’s just as important to scrutinize falsehoods by media outlets whose coverage reaches tens of millions of Americans. Their questions also reflect the blurring lines between the broadcasting and online realms, as more televisions are hooked to the internet and more video-streaming platforms begin to resemble traditional cable TV.
The Democratic lawmakers also cited the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol as a major reason for their inquiries.