Media

As his committee attacks conservative news outlets, Welch suggests government funding of media

At the 3:02:46 mark, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) says market forces have created America’s polarized media and suggests government funding as a solution.

By Guy Page

A Congressional subcommittee of which Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) sits on a House subcommittee that is investigating conservative media for allegedly contributing to deadly misinformation about the pandemic and the January 6 riot at the Capitol Building. 

At a Feb. 24 public hearing, Welch said market forces created our polarized national media and suggested government funding as an alternative.

What is his committee doing? Sunday evening, Vermont Daily sent an email and left a phone message for Lincoln Peek, communications director for Rep. Welch, asking Vermont’s lone congressman questions about the aggressive investigation his committee has launched against online/cable carriers of Fox, OANN, and Newsmax. As of Wednesday morning, no response has been received. 

The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee held a public hearing last Wednesday, February 24 entitled “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.” E&C Chair Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) opened with an ‘I support the First Amendment, but……” disclaimer statement:

“Let me start by saying we’re all staunch defenders of the First Amendment and its mandate that “Congress make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The First Amendment prohibits us from passing laws that inappropriately limit speech – even when it is controversial or overly partisan. But that does not mean that we should ignore the spread of misinformation that causes public harm.”

But Pallone clearly relishes his committee’s role as Public Inquisitor:

“We must ask uncomfortable questions. Like whether these media outlets, for example, have an incentive to air extreme conspiratorial programming or content. And, how journalists can help each other find ways to cover controversial topics in a way that doesn’t undermine our democratic structure and health. There are no easy answers, but we must try to find them.”

The committee and sub-committee on which Rep. Welch sits doesn’t just vaguely blame conservative media for pandemic deaths and the Capitol riot. It’s pointing fingers and demanding answers in a “what did you know and when did you know it” manner worthy of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthyite Red Scare of the 1950’s. Two Commerce & Technology members – California Democrats Gerry McNerney and Anna Eshoo – Feb. 22 sent an intimidating inquiry letter to carriers ATT, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter and others demanding specific, sensitive information about their relationship with conservative news networks Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax. 

The lawmakers demand questions like: “How many subscribers tuned in?” “What steps did you take?” “Are you planning on carrying Fox News now and beyond your annual contract renewal date?” In the legal world, this letter resembles the introductory “stiffly worded letter” from the plaintiff’s lawyer. The recipient is given to understand that without compliance, more, much more, will follow – and it won’t be good. 

What does Welch himself think? Rep. Welch does not hold a leadership position on either the committee or the sub-committee. So where in this upside-down world in which Congress is demanding answers from the press does Welch fit in? Is he joining the Pallone, McNerney, Eshoo and the mob? Is he stridently upholding the rights of a free and independent press?

So far, it appears, he is doing neither. But he is talking openly about moving Vermont media away from the market model to the taxpayer-supported model. At the 3:02:46 mark during the Feb. 24 hearing, he interrogates conservative law professor Jonathan Turley:

“First of all, I’m totally for the First Amendment,” Welch begins. “I just want to be clear that we can’t really regulate it. But Professor Turley, you said that you hope the market would correct some of these extreme problems. I believe the market created these extreme problems. If you’re a Newsmax or an MSNBC…..you’ve developed a market plan, you’ve disseminated a point of view that appeals to the demographic, and you’ve then you get advertisers to support it.”

Welch added that he sees Vermont local news – now struggling to survive under the market model – as a ‘public good’ that may require some taxpayer support. In fact, this plan is already underway. In a December press conference, Welch reported that the second round of Paycheck Protection funding had included the traditional press not covered under the first round last year. 

It’s worth noting that not all of the hearing’s criticism of media-inspired violence came from Democrats. Fellow committee member Steve Scalise (R-LA) recalled how the Bernie Sanders devotee who shot him and others at a baseball practice was an MSNBC watcher. Politically-inspired violence didn’t begin on January 6, he said. 

Vermont Daily emailed to Peek the following questions, with a promise to publish the response:

Having read the letter by Rep. Eshoo and McNerney, I would like to ask the Congressman: does he support the requests made by his fellow subcommittee members? 

If the answer is no, please explain his disagreement. If the answer is yes, please answer these questions:

1. Why should carriers divulge their content guidelines to Congress, as requested by Reps. Eshoo and McNerney? 

2. Why does Congress need to know the specific number of subscribers watching Fox, OAN and other channels during the events of January 6?

3. Why should these channels be required to defend their news coverage to Congress? Does Congress believe the press is accountable to Congress for its coverage?

4. Why should carriers tell Congress their plans to renew the contracts of these news channels after their current contracts expire?

5. Does it concern you that the plain reading of these questions resemble government interference in the freedom of the press?

Thank you for your prompt attention to these questions. I welcome any other comments you wish to make.

Vermont Daily and many other Vermont media are examples of the market-based, independent, non-taxpayer supported press. Vermont Daily, anyway, believes it should stay that way. There can be no government shekels without government shackles. We get by without taxpayer support so that without fear or favor we can ask our elected public servants ‘uncomfortable’ questions and publish the most relevant answer. This system has worked well in the United States since the 18th century. Let’s hope Congress makes sure it stays that way. 

  1. Of course the Socialist/Communist argument is no fraud has been proven and ignore the fact that no legitimacy has been…

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  1. This former ambulance chaser calls protected free speech that is not to his liking and not within the confines of the leftist orthodoxy: “deadly misinformation”. It was hardly “market forces” that created a polarized national media. It was the fascist demoKKKrat party to which he is a member that has monopolized and consolidated the vast majority of the broadcast, print and online media with a symbiotic relationship that serves all their needs.
    We hear the occasional lamentations from the left/demoKKKrats about how unfortunate that Vermont is the only state which has not sent a woman to serve in the House of Representatives. It’s not like we haven’t had the opportunity. Vermont’s former Adjutant General Martha Rainville ran against him a few years back. Vermonters had the choice between sending a highly qualified woman or just ANOTHER lawyer… and we chose the lawyer, and now this man has far outstayed his welcome. Elections have consequences.

  2. Are we not seeing an example of “State Funded” (influenced) media already in the form of PBS, and VPR, etc. ? It doesn’t matter if it’s Judy Woodruff, Robert Costa, or whoever else is sitting in front of camera,or behind the mike on these government financially assisted broadcasts, after hearing a few minutes of it, the political bias is so flagrant that I can’t stand it, and find something (almost anything!) else. We don’t, or at least should not (I’m not so sure about some lefties) want anything resembling PRAVDA, or TASS where the media is run by, or beholding to the government. Media will never “bite the hand that feeds it” no matter how egregious or biased a reported issue is. (Example, Hunter and the Biden families influence peddling business) State run or “funded” media is propaganda period, end of story !

    • ALL Good points about the “public Media, PBS etc already pure gov’t!!
      .
      But ask Pete, Burnie, and Pat to add up the $$$billions of dollars every branch of Gov’t already spends trying to “tilt the news” to their favor!
      How many thousands of “public relations” flack writers are already employed in their politics, and in the 100,000 various agencies?

  3. Great article, Mr. Page. It was third eye opening. Welch, “just another lawyer, for sure,” has drunk the Kool-Aid of-the-left’s Cancel Cultured government controlling media. But I was not aware of this local connection. Yikes! The spiritually-morally-politically-intellectually-culturally evolved Democrats could be building re-education camps for us knuckle-dragging Republicans as Bill Gates buys up thousands of acres in the mid-west for socialist work-farms? Comrade Bernie calls himself a socialist because it is so much easier for the public to swallow than “communist.” Comrade Bernie loves Fidel Castro, both of ’em pendejos.

    • Re: “socialist work farms”. Forced labor is found all over the political spectrum. In CA, people, many of them veterans are homeless. One city had a plan in place to force them into a warehouse and require labor. Bill Gates’ encroachment is indeed dangerous. But, as I’ve stated elsewhere in these pages, “socialism” is a broad term. The State of Israel considers itself “socialist”. Sweden considers itself “socialist”. What we are seeing is the ultra-wealthy setting out to exploit the masses of people. It seems the Bill of Rights means nothing anymore. But shouldn’t the ultra-wealthy pay fair taxes? Amazon has cheated the people of this country of countless billions of dollars. When you have a pie, if a few people grab nine tenths of it, it doesn’t leave much for the rest.

  4. Whether they’re willfully cooperating or not, by their own actions these leftists increasingly indicate influence of evil. It is as Saint Paul so clearly stated within his epistle to the Ephesians:

    “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

    We’re fighting evil here, folks.

    • 2 Timothy 3:3

      1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

      ‘” the sun will be darkened, and the moon will will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Matthew 24:29

    • What good are term limits with the attempted theft of the 2020 election going unaddressed? The attempted theft must be overturned and those who conspired to steal the election brought to justice if we hope to move forward.

  5. I agree that media all too willing to endorse any left-of-center trend is a serious problem. Questions are often dismissed. Question the Equality Act’s excesses is “transphobic” or “hate speech”. Condemn the rioting and looting that destroyed so many lives is “racist”. “Cancel culture” has come from both sides, mostly the left.

  6. Representatives like Peter Welch should be congratulated for finally being honest !! Now we know for sure that they represent a government that wants socialism to control the media,government,people!! Little do they realize that many patriots,conservatives,and Christians won’t settle for lies,manipulation,and immoral behavior!!This is still the USA,We have God and our Constitution!!

    • As I have said, several people here have no idea of what “socialism” means. That being said, there is a genuine institutional bias, not merely toward the “left”. An endorsement of extreme views concerning race relations, transgender issues, the looting of last summer, etc.

      • Definition of socialism
        1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
        2a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
        b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
        3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

      • Mr. Eshelman, I’m sorry if you have a disability vis-a-vis your attention span. That is a definition of “socialism”. I suggest thta you contact the Swedish and the Israeli embassies and ask them if their countries are not designated as “socialist”.

      • AlterNet’s Media Bias Rating | AllSides
        AlterNet has a Left media bias.
        AlterNet has been given a mixed rating by Snopes.com fact checks, and was included in an initial index of “unreliable” news websites crafted by numerous media scientists and fact-checking groups.

      • Alternet is more than merely “left”. It is biased, completely one-sided, and runs scam advertisements for revenue. It distorts facts and admits no news, facts, or evidence which in any way run counter to any extreme leftist views.

  7. Once again, Welch doesn’t fail to disappoint and forgets what he was elected to do.While focused on forming the US version of Pravda, he ignored Vermont. A tidbit on the current “Covid Stimulus Bill” just passed by the house, shows Vermont at the bottom of the list for “aid”. While pelosi will take home 42.3 billion, Welch will settle for a mere 852 million of our as yet uncollected taxpayer dollars. Four US territories will receive less aid, 49 states more. https://www.openthebooks.com/assets/1/6/CD13263501.pdf
    According to: https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/350-billion-covid-bailout-states-cities-and-counties-here-are-biggest-winners-and-losers, Vermont is one of the biggest losers, at a NET 2.1 Billion loss from the deal.
    Good Job Pete, Thanks much.

  8. Media is all ready government supported and funded – PBS, NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC via the C I A All alphabet agencies! Pete, Leaky, Bernie all know that and utilize it to the very fullest advantage. The uni-party controls everything – like the mafia

  9. It seems that the left only has a problem with media if it’s right wing conservative media. The NYT, WAPO, CNN etc have long become nothing but a leftist op-ed. Guess Welch has no problem with that given that it spouts the party line. Government funding of media would only go to “approved media”.

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