When it comes to censorship, one editorial board said, "it's about as subtle as carpet bombing." Liberals, who used to at least pretend to have some use for free speech, have dropped all pretense now. The war against a thinking culture is out in the open now, as shameless and determined as ever. To them, it's no longer enough to yank books off shelves, ban conservatives from the public square, and slap warning labels on thousands of years of proven science. They want to totally control the airwaves too. And they'll stop at nothing to force the carriers to do their bidding.
It started as a letter from two Democrats. Insisting they were concerned about the latest scourge of "misinformation," Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) fired a volley of threats to 12 cable, satellite, and streaming companies, accusing them of spreading lies and conspiracy theories just by carrying channels like Fox, Newsmax, and One America News Network (OAN). Pull the plug, they demanded. Or at least make it hurt.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr looked on in horror. Are Democrats actually suggesting that these companies will "pay a price if the targeted newsrooms do not conform to Democrats' preferred political narratives?" he asked. If so, he warned, Americans are in for a dangerous new chapter -- one that looks a lot more like Communist China than the home of the First Amendment.
"From the perspective of free speech and the free press," law professor Jonathan Turley argued, "the letter is not just chilling, it's positively glacial." Still, radical Democrats pressed on, insisting Wednesday at their House hearing, "Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media" that the best way to combat misinformation is to shut conservative newscasts down completely.
Like most Republicans on the committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) was outraged at the suggestion. If you want to talk about misinformation and lies, she fired back, how about CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC, who spent the last five years broadcasting complete and utter fiction on everything from the Russia collusion to Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D-N.Y.) nursing home killing field. "In all my time on this committee," McMorris-Rodgers fumed, "there's never been a more obvious direct attack on the First Amendment."
"So today, the media is the target -- but where does it end? We've already seen liberal ideology pushed in our schools where we work, the books we read, who we communicate with, how we practice our faith. It's frightening. And you know what the worst part is? People are afraid of a work. An authoritarian system that is getting them fired, canceled, and shamed. And so they're being silent. They have no voice. They can't trust the broken institutions to protect them. This culture of fear is unjust, and this committee should not be using fear to force everyone to be the same or be destroyed. It's abuse of power, and it's a force of a state religion of liberal ideology."
Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.), who nearly lost his life because of hyper-charged liberal rhetoric, warned Democrats against heaping all the blame on the Right. "For anyone to just try to suggest that discourse started getting out of control on January 6th would be disingenuous when you look at where we've gotten and how are this has come. I want to take you back to June 14th, 2017. A day that a gunman walked onto a baseball field and shot at a dozen members of congress including myself... Let's be consistent," he insisted and stop suggesting disingenuously that this toxic language only comes "from one side of the political spectrum."
That message was lost on the corporate bullies at Amazon and Target, whose virtual book burnings -- Ryan Anderson warns -- are the stuff of 1930s dictators. Anderson, the new president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, waited three days for an explanation on why his book about responding to the transgender movement, When Harry Became Sally, was pulled from the online store. Despite more than three years on Amazon's shelves -- as a best-seller in two categories -- "They told us late yesterday that it violates their 'content policy," Ryan explained on "Washington Watch." "But they won't tell us what aspect of the policy it violated. and they won't tell us what passage, what page, what sentence is the offending passage." Obviously, he said, "anyone who's telling the truth, anyone who believes that we're created male and female, whether from a faith-based perspective or from a science-based perspective, is going [to be banned]."
What's next? Bouncing every biology book that's ever been printed? The Bible? Where does the mob draw the line? Abigail Shrier's book, the very powerful Irreversible Damage, was stripped from Target's website again Wednesday. Obviously, Ryan said, liberals are scared that someone will stumble on the truth about this lethal ideology. "If they could defeat [conservatives' arguments], they would just argue on the merits. This is why lawyers say, 'Where you can argue the facts, argue the facts. Where you can argue the law, argue the law. When you can't argue either, bang the table.' And I think that's what we're seeing here. They can't argue based on the science. They can't argue based on the medicine. They can't argue based on the philosophy. They can't argue based on the theology. So what's left? Just don't have the argument. Use our market power to shut it down."