News industry heavyweight Fox News could be banished from coverage of American political races under a new strategy being developed by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission.
The group is, by law, half Democrat and half Republican, and Democrats long have bemoaned the fact that they are not in total control to move forward with their restrictions on conservative media, such as Fox.
Now Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington’s Secrets” columnist, who long has monitored the commission’s agenda, is reporting on an FEC idea to identify media companies with even a tiny bit of foreign ownership and ban them from “covering political races.”
That move, he explained, could affect Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and even the New York Times.
Just this week, the top Democrat on the panel, Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, suggested the commission “begin the process to prohibit companies with foreign ownership as small as 5 percent ‘from funding expenditures, independent expenditures, or electioneering communications.'”
“Given everything we have learned this year, it blinks reality to suggest that … there is no risk of foreign nationals taking advantage of current loopholes to intercede invisibly in American elections,” she wrote. “This is a risk no member of the Federal Election Commission should be willing to tolerate.”
Bedard pointed out that her advocacy for her limits “conceivably” could result in any group reaching her level of foreign ownership being “banned from advocating for a candidate’s election or defeat.”
He explained News Corp., which owns Fox News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times all have some level of foreign ownership. So do many companies, such as the far-left leaning and politically active Ben and Jerry’s, he noted.
“That prohibition could include Fox commentator Sean Hannity or Wall Street Journal editorial. And, according to one analysis, because foreign nationals also are prohibited from making electioneering communications, those media would not even be able to mention Donald Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton, even if just covering them,” he wrote.
Republicans on the commission repeatedly have warned that the Democrats on the panel long have been running a campaign to attack the First Amendment.
WND carried a story a month ago that GOP Commissioner Lee E. Goodman was saying liberals are seeking to “amend the First Amendment” to silence conservatives.
At the time, Goodman explained the attack was developed by Democrats unhappy with the tea party movement, through which entrenched Democratic politicians were being challenged in the ballot box.
At the time, he said, “It has triggered a very aggressive movement by people to amend the First Amendment,”
The Examiner reported then then Goodman saw it as a reversal of beliefs that had developed over the years.
“I have been concerned about bias both in how complaints are brought to the commission just like in the way, the lobbying campaign for Lois Lerner,” he said. “It was all one sided. But generally I try to make my First Amendment case by pointing out that we have to impact liberal and conservative speech in the same way. But I have been concerned from time to time about every time a conservative group comes up, somehow, some way, exceptions and distinctions are made and this is the problem giving government the power to regulate speech in the first instance because ultimately human beings have to make that decision,” he said during a radio station interview.
“It’s now the left attacking conservative speakers, like free market speech because they are concerned that the big corporations might convince somebody, they might speak about free market economics,” he said.
Democrats on the panel frequently have launched attacks on issues such as the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that affirmed speech rights to conservative news sites on the Web.
In Weintraub’s newest submission to the panel, she calls for rules limiting speech when companies have foreign nationals on their boards or any foreign government ownership.
In June, WND reported, Democrats on the FEC voted in secret to “punish” Fox News for its sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate.
It was, the Examiner reported at the time, “the first time in history that members of the FEC voted to punish a media outlet’s debate sponsorship, and it follows several years of Democratic threats against conservative media and websites such as the Drudge Report.”
However, at the time, the action was blocked by the three Republican commissioners.
WND CEO and Internet news pioneer Joseph Farah noted recently that there are other threats to the integrity of the American voting process.
One he cited was the possible involvement of the federal government in local elections.
The Department of Homeland Security has been mentioned as a possible help in prevent election fraud. However, he noted there is “no federal authority to control or secure elections.”
“It is reserved for each state to administer its own elections, restricted only by constitutional protections for voting rights. The federal government is already too involved in setting complex campaign finance laws that often diminish free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. Those same laws have been used selectively to punish those the controlling powers don’t like – for example, Dinesh D’Souza. We don’t need Washington meddling to any greater degree in elections.”
He pointed out the U.S. Constitution specifically authorizes states to run elections.
The Democrats’ campaign, however, is ironic in that it is the Democratic Party that has fought, tooth and nail, every time a state adopts rules and regulations to assure that voters in elections are American citizens.