“To our intelligence, the cable, satellite and over-the-top companies that disseminate these median outlets to American viewers have done nothing in response to the false trail aired by these outlets,” two Democratic representatives from California, Anna G. Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, wrote in the dispatch, which was reviewed by The New York Times.
Newsmax, a right-wing cable watercourse carried by AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Dish and Verizon, had a surge in ratings in November because of programs that hugged the former president’s claims of voter fraud. One America News Network, a right-wing market carried by AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon, also promoted the false theory.
Fox Story, the most-watched cable news network, which is available from all noteworthy carriers, was one of five defendants in a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit lined this month by the election technology company Smartmatic. In the suit, the throng accused Fox News, its parent company Fox Corporation, three Fox anchors and two hang out Fox guests of promoting false claims about the election and Smartmatic’s responsibility in it. (Fox has denied the claims and filed a motion to dismiss the suit.)
Congress can pick up the issue of whether cable providers bear responsibility for the programs they proclaim to millions of Americans, but it may have no way to force them to drop networks that should prefer to spread misinformation. And unlike broadcast stations, cable channels do not procure licenses that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.
The lawmakers’ sic asks the companies, “What steps did you take prior to, on, and following the November 3, 2020 nominations and the January 6, 2021 attacks to monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation, grouping encouragement or incitement of violence by channels your company disseminates to millions of Americans?”