MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas made the case for outlawing the Fox News cable network based on his estimation that they goaded viewers into “terrorism” after the rioting at the U.S. Capitol.
“It’s time for this question to be front and center: Should Fox News be allowed to exist? Brain-mashing as a business model shouldn’t be legal,” tweeted Giridharadas on Friday.
The first tweet of Giridharadas thread received more than 3.8k retweets and more than 16.2k likes on Twitter.
“I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t understand why you’re not allowed to manufacture bucatini that doesn’t have a certain threshold of iron in it but you can broadcast brain-mashing falsehoods and goad people toward terrorism,” he continued.
“If the Fairness Doctrine, applying to broadcast, was constitutional, why would a new Fairness Doctrine, applying more broadly, be a violation of that same Constitution?” asked Giridharadas.
The Fairness Doctrine, originally implemented in 1949 by the United States Federal Communications Commission, required media outlets with a broadcasting license to present both sides of a controversial political issue fairly and equally. The FCC ended the policy in 1987 because it stifled free speech.
“Twelve percent of Americans supported the terrorist insurrection on the Capitol. After the fact. You cannot pin this only on leaders. This has been institutionalized incitement in which the media played a giant role, and democracy is endangered by it,” Giridharadas continued.
He recognized that such a policy could be abused, but added, “none of that means, to me, that a business model of incitement and falsehood is absolutely protected.”
Giridharadas’ suggestion was immediately denounced as “fascist” by some critics on social media, while others questioned the practicality of banning Fox News.
“Curious where @AnandWrites thinks the Fox audience should go? Should they not have news outlets at all, should they go to a new conservative outlet that will somehow suck less than Fox, should they learn to love CNN? What’s the plan?” asked Matt Taibi of Rolling Stone.
“I am amazed that people keep suggesting this without thinking through the obvious consequences. If the government could shut down Fox News, think what the Trump admin would have done to CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, WaPo and more,” responded Tech editor Mike Masnick.