A House hearing questioning why broadcast companies allowed right-wing news networks on their platforms was a "direct attack on the First Amendment," according to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., on Newsmax TV.
A House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a Wednesday hearing on "disinformation and extremism in media" centering on cable, satellite, and streaming services carrying conservative channels such as Newsmax.
"I think the biggest takeaway was that we had elected representatives, elected officials, that were using their platform, their morals, to pressure private companies to censure speech based upon political opinion or their political philosophy," committee ranking member McMorris Rodgers told co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith on Wednesday's "Spicer & Co."
"It really was a direct attack on our First Amendment. In all the years I've been on energy and commerce, on this committee, I've never seen a more direct attack on the First Amendment, on freedom of speech right now, and it just plays into this whole woke mob, cancel culture that we see across the board in America today."
Committee members Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., sent letters to providers pressing the companies on why they carried right-wing news networks. The lawmakers said such networks provided "misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm."
Democrats have focused on Republican and conservative content in media and social media since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by demonstrators protesting the election results.
"We all agree that what happened on Jan. 6 was wrong, and we all need to know the facts and what the truth is, that's not what this hearing was about. We need to be working in a bipartisan way in that front.
"But today's hearing really was an affront to freedom of speech. This is one of our fundamental values as Americans, we cherish this. This is part of our personal rights and liberties that has been fought for through the ages, and to have elected officials that are pressuring private companies based upon their own political ideology, that is extremely troubling."
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