Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to look further into the sale of a Miami radio station popular with the Hispanic market in hope of blocking the sale — something Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr tells Newsmax TV is a completely partisan move.
Caucus members are infuriated over the firing of the station's top-rated host, Raul Martinez, a Democrat who is the former mayor of Hialeah, by radio station Caracol 1260 AM. The new ownership, America CV, which owns the América TeVé network, fired Martinez for purely political reasons, and intend to use the station to further cement what they call "The Big Lie" among Hispanic voters, caucus members say.
But Carr, appearing Thursday on "Spicer & Co.," said the Congress members simply "don't like the political content that would be aired to Hispanic voters" in South Florida.
"There's a former Democrat congresswoman out of Florida that said, to win in 2022 this must stop," Carr said. "So, they want to turn the FCC into the speech police for the DNC to increase their electoral odds in '22."
Had any such thing happened during the Trump administration from the opposite side of the aisle, he said, "the protests outside this window right here at the FCC would be so loud it would drown out anything that we want to do."
Yet the traditional media has been mostly silent on the issue, Carr said.
Asked about the firing of Martinez, Carr said Democrats appear to dislike the fact they are now getting less progressive left-leaning news on the airwaves, since Martinez was "presumably" replaced with a more centrist or right-leaning host.
"This is the type of conduct that we're more used to seeing about 100 miles south of Florida in Cuba," he said. "People are free to have their own political views, but to try to bring the arm of the regulatory state government down because you don't like that your political opponents are going to express their views and let the people decide how to value those views — that's scary stuff."
For the FCC to give in to the demands to deny the sale of the station is "a fundamental transgression of the First Amendment" right to free speech, Carr said. It would be a mistake to reject the sale based on the political views might be aired, he said. Instead, the transaction should be addressed in "ordinary course."
It is vital for Democrats on the commission to speak up, he added.
"They didn't have any trouble finding a camera and a microphone in last 3 or 4 years when they thought that President Trump said something that they didn't like, and I think that they should do the same thing here," Carr said.
Normal processes should take their course, he added. Typically, such sales are put out for public comment for roughly 30 days. If there is no opposition, the sale is granted.
"But people should track this issue and hold the agency accountable if we politicize the transfer of this license," Carr said.
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