Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr on Tuesday described a letter from the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby seeking a probe of a conservative television station "chilling" and a "direct assault on freedom of the press."
The complaint against the Sinclair-owned station WBFF-TV claimed its coverage of Mosby was biased, inflammatory, and dangerous, the Baltimore Sun reported Monday.
In an interview on Newsmax TV’s "John Bachman Now," Carr, who was appointed to the FCC by former President Donald Trump, said he had "never seen anything like this."
"You've got the top prosecutor for a city, the state's attorney's office, filing a formal complaint at the FCC asking us to censor a newsroom because they're doing their constitutionally protected job of shining a light on the work of this office."
According to Carr, the TV station was awarded the regional Edward Murrow award for journalism excellence.
"[It’s] just a chilling and direct assault on freedom of the press," Carr said, asserting he called on his fellow commissioners to dismiss the complaint.
Carr also said the FCC has a "role to play" in regulating social media platforms through the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230, which provides protection to websites from some lawsuits.
"Courts over the years have read Section 230 as giving carte blanche to engage in any and all forms of censorship, bias or otherwise," Carr argued. "That's not what Section 230 says. So I led the calls at the FCC for us to update our approaches on Section 230 last year. Unfortunately, we did not have the votes to get that across the finish line.
"But I'm now looking to work with state legislatures as well that are looking to pass laws to address the bias in the censorship that we see going on right now," he continued, adding: "I think more speech is always better than less speech."
Carr said that he’s particularly in favor of the expansion of broadband access that is now a part of the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal.
"This is an area where Democrats and Republicans agree," he noted, adding more rural broadband access "could easily pass" in Congress, calling for "a skinny bill focusing just on that."
"There was a lot of the [President Joe] Biden infrastructure proposal that had nothing to do with infrastructure," he said. "I think that broadband piece was an exception to that … My focus is, let's get … $40 billion out the door before we saddle additional debt on the American people, and if we need more, let’s come up with a targeted plan for doing that," he urged.
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