The Biden administration’s intention to hold Fox News accountable for its disagreements has been a topic of discussion with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lately. The issue has sparked accusations of hypocrisy from some quarters, particularly given the ongoing defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems and Tucker Carlson’s release of previously unseen January 6 footage.
On Monday, during an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” host Dean Obeidallah suggested that Congress should expand the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include cable news so that the government could shut down Fox News.
Obeidallah said, “Look, the FCC, the way the law is right now, it does not cover cable news. We all know that. Broadcast news, though, it does. It, it’s called ‘distortion.’ And you have to show that they said something false on purpose, they knew was false and they could be sanctioned. They can lose their license on a network,” he said. “It doesn’t apply to cable.”
Obeidallah acknowledged that it would require an act of Congress, but asked Jean-Pierre if lawmakers would consider expanding the FCC’s mandate and allowing the agency to treat Fox News the same way it treats other broadcast networks.
Obeidallah reiterated his position saying, “Because if not, why would Fox not just keep lying to the American public without any consequence? I don’t know why they would stop this.”
Jean-Pierre responded cautiously saying that the FCC is an independent agency, so care must be taken, but she seemed to agree to some extent replying, “I get your point.”
She continued, “You know, look, I think everybody has a responsibility, if you call yourself a news organization, to tell the truth, you know, and I mean, that’s probably as far as I can go.”
Jean-Pierre alluded to her recent remarks to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, where she implied that the White House doesn’t view Fox News as a legitimate news outlet.
Wagner picked up on this and commented that it “sort of sounds like the White House doesn’t think Fox is a news organization.”
Jean-Pierre implied that her response to Wagner was similar to Obeidallah’s suggestion.
The White House press secretary shared a light moment with MSNBC's Alex Wagner in discussing whether Fox News is a news organization. https://t.co/Z2iiEFBuI0
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) March 10, 2023
On the other hand, there is no indication of whether Jean-Pierre believes that mainstream media outlets like CNN and MSNBC should face FCC shutdown for their alleged dissemination of falsehoods about former President Donald Trump, COVID-19 origins, vaccine effectiveness, Capitol protests, and the economy.