FCC rejects role as censor in Trump misinformation chain

The Federal Communications Commission refused to consider a petition by Free Press, an activist group, calling for an investigation of broadcasters airing false information on the pandemic provided by President Donald Trump during White House briefings. The FCC said they could not act as requested since that would jeopardize the free press. (Jurist, April 7, 2020, by Austin Koltonowski)

Free Press was particularly concerned about Trump’s comments about hydroxycholoroquine as a promising treatment for COVID-19. The drug is untested and gained little support from doctors and researchers as a viable cure. Fox News brought up the drug over 100 times in three days. But FCC chair Ajit Pai said, “The federal government will not—and never should—investigate broadcasters for their editorial judgments simply because a special interest group is angry at the views being expressed on the air. In short, we will not censor the news.” (The Verge, April 6, 2020, by Russell Brandom)

For related FAC coverage, click here and here.