Oh Noes! The Obamabots are at it again. Remember when they confiscated all of our guns, set up concentration camps, and handed Alabama over to ISIS? Well now they have a new plot to outlaw free speech and suppress the patriots at Fox News.
The conservative InterTubes are afire with paranoid panic over remarks by a member of the Federal Election Commission. Democratic commissioner Ellen Weintraub wrote a memorandum to her colleagues with the subject “Revised Proposal to Launch Rulemaking to Ensure that U.S. Political Spending is Free from Foreign Influence.” To anyone not suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome, this would appear to be responsible election oversight. Which is the mission of the FEC. However, to hysterical right-wingers this is an assault on free speech. The offending paragraph from the memo simply asks:
“Given the ban on direct or indirect foreign national spending in U.S. elections. should any limits be imposed on corporate spending based on the percentage of the corporation’s foreign ownership?”
It is already illegal for foreign nationals and corporations to donate to U.S. candidates and political referendums. The reasons are obvious. Nobody wants hostile nations to be able to interfere with American elections. Russia or China should not have the ability to plant their operatives in our Congress. The rulemaking proposal by Weintraub is only meant to close any loopholes and to secure the integrity of our political system. The memo states exactly that:
“The FEC needs to address the real threat that foreign individuals, corporations, or governments may seek to manipulate our elections through domestic corporations they own or control. Given everything we have learned this year. it blinks reality to suggest that that there is no risk of foreign nationals taking advantage of current loopholes to intercede invisibly in American elections. This is a risk no member of the Federal Election Commission should be willing to tolerate.”
This could not be more clear cut. Weintraub is plainly seeking to prevent our enemies from corrupting our elections. So leave it to Fox News to create a controversy where none would otherwise exist. To that end, the hosts of Fox & Friends barreled headlong into the phony squabble with Brian Kilmeade introducing senior correspondent Ed Henry:
Kilmeade: Oh, in case we didn’t mention it, Fox News could be banned from covering politics. That is if Democrats on the Federal Election Committee (sic) get their way.
Henry: Democrats on the Federal Election Commission targeting Fox and other media companies who have even a tiny bit of foreign ownership, saying they should not be allowed to engage in any ‘electioneering communication.’ This could be used to muzzle free speech and it was offered by a Democratic commissioner on the FEC, Ellen Weintraub.
The segment went on to assert that the commission was enacting a regulation that “could ban Fox and others from endorsing or covering” politics. Although there is nothing in the memo that even alludes to that. In fact, the memo never even mentions the media. What’s more, it isn’t enacting anything, it is merely opening a dialog. And the dialog is wholly focused on corporations that are owned by foreign nationals or governments. The actions addressed are strictly identified as electioneering, not reporting, endorsing, or any other function of journalism. Weintrab even reiterated that in an official statement:
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) October 2, 2016
Did that ease the irrational fears of the conservative outrage machine? Of course not. On the Internet there were frantic tweets from the usual fringy suspects. In addition, the Media Research Center (the ultra-right watchdog group and home of Newsbusters) published an article with a headline that shrieked “FEC Attempting to Kill Fox News, WSJ, NY Post Political Coverage.” Their lede was a false and feverish declaration that “The propaganda machine inside the federal government is in full swing to squelch any conservatives or dissenting views.”
As is apparent from the original memo and the appended affirmation, none of that is true. It’s just another fit of hysteria from right-wing conspiracy kooks. These are the same folks who thought that military exercises in Texas were a prelude to invasion. They worried that Obama was deliberately infecting America with Ebola. Before long these fruitcakes will be clamoring for Hillary Clinton’s impeachment due to her covert lizard identity. In the meantime, Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt is showing her grit by standing up to the infidels:
“If they want the government to control the media then they can move to North Korea, or Russia, or China. It’s not happening here. No one’s telling us what we can and can’t say.”
Well, no one except for the Fox News executives and the Republican National Committee. It is no accident that there is a uniformity of opinion on Fox. They are presently serving as the Trump PR office. And this latest imaginary atrocity will just be another of their excuses after they lose in November.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
UPDATE: The real threat to freedom of the press is Donald Trump:
“Mr. Trump, especially given the positions he’s staked out … would represent a really significant threat to the tradition of an independent free press in the United States,” says David Barstow of The New York Times.
“I think Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to the liberties of the people, to the idea of the First Amendment,” agrees David Cay Johnston, now a columnist for The Daily Beast.