Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Should the Government Intervene on ABC’s Spike of the Epstein Story?

 

This sit-down interview between independent journalist Megyn Kelly and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is an important gut-check for conservatives:

Most decent Americans are understandably horrified at the behavior of ABC Network in their decision to spike a story about Jeffrey Epstein’s predatory behavior. In response to the story, McCarthy sent a letter to ABC brass:

It’s a tough question without an answer, and as a conservative, I’m extremely reluctant to support politicians stepping in to put ABC’s feet to the fire.

There are serious issues of trust and accountability at the three major American networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) and the radio silence on the issue from CNN is conspicuous. These networks covered for sexual predators, not to mention employed them, and Americans have little few ways to signal our well-earned contempt. And worst yet, we are left without a trustworthy source of news. It’s clear something needs to change, but Kelly is absolutely correct to ask McCarthy what business it is of his what happens at ABC.

Perhaps the solution is exactly what Kelly is doing; she was fired from NBC due to what is increasingly appearing to be a calculated hit to take down someone asking many questions on Matt Lauer, and she’s started filming her own interviews and segments, to air directly on social media. She’s not beholden to a network and as a result, is doing trustworthy journalism.

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There are 13 comments.

  1. Duane Oyen Member

    I agree that McCarthy’s letter to ABC should be discounted and criticized to the extent that it is a letter from McCarthy’s position as a House leader with authority to act in some manner.

    But the bully pulpit is also applicable for any persons in public life- the freedom to speak and criticize as a highly visible personage is not- nor should it be- negated because of a particular position, be it Kaepernick/LeBron, Ric Hess, or Ms. Kelly or, say, James Dobson/Schmuley Boteach/DeSanctis. Or even Trump.

    The key is to ensure that valid criticisms from governmental persons are not conflated with threatened action by government fostered by those persons.

    And that kind of action is actually less likely when this stuff is discussed in public than it is when a lobbyist slips a white paper to a staffer.

    • #1
    • November 19, 2019, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    I know what business it is.

    The FCC was created to monitor and regulate the public airwaves, this is why tv stations – networks, have news divisions, children and educational programing and assorted public interest programs.

    The airwaves – or the broadcast bandwidth that tv networks use are a commons that everyone has to use responsibly or nobody can use it all.

    So yes the government does have an interest in what ABC chooses to air or not, and why. A cable station would be easier to defect such inquiries – because they’re a paid service and the bandwidth they use, is on infrastructure that has been privately financed and managed.

    • #2
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. Stad Thatcher

    Bethany Mandel: It’s a tough question without an answer, and as a conservative, I’m extremely reluctant to support politicians stepping in to put ABC’s feet to the fire.

    I think it’s an easy question to answer. ABC is a private company, and how they run their business is their business. Congress (GOP, Dems, Green Party, et al.) should butt out.

    As a tactical move by Republicans, it’s a stupid thing to do. Cries of “Republicans are attacking freedom of the press!” could overshadow the MSM’s attack on its own credibility, a lack of credibility which has most of the public confident they’re not getting the truth from them.

    • #3
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Umbra Fractus Lincoln

    The Federal government should definitely stay out of it (except to the degree that @DuaneOyen states above.)

    The relevant State government(s) should look into whether it rises to the level of aiding and abetting.

     

    • #4
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:35 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. WI Con Member

    Well, if the Catholic Church was financially liable for covering up the molestation crimes of their priests, seems that these “news” entities with FCC granted broadcast licences should be liable as well. Though I am open to taking those broadcast licenses away, I understand how that could be misused. They shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind any 1st Amendment protections and let the victims pursue justice/compensation in court.

    • #5
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:51 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Perhaps they should be stripped of their libel immunities for when they grossly publishing something and get a story wrong, and then show no remorse for immediate correction.

    In a lawsuit the very act of legal discovery would force them to turn over their internal deliberations, and when it is clear they are no longer acting as a honest reporting entity and are recklessly negligent in their factual mistakes they could be taken to the cleaners.

    No one agues this is not a fairly effective method on how we regulate players in the economic market. As long as they can publish anything without restraint for due diligence they will resort the consensus of the new room.

    • #6
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:38 AM PST
    • Like
  7. WilliamDean Coolidge

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Perhaps they should be stripped of their libel immunities for when they grossly publishing something and get a story wrong, and then show no remorse for immediate correction.

    In a lawsuit the very act of legal discovery would force them to turn over their internal deliberations, and when it is clear they are no longer acting as a honest reporting entity and are recklessly negligent in their factual mistakes they could be taken to the cleaners.

    No one agues this is not a fairly effective method on how we regulate players in the economic market. As long as they can publish anything without restraint for due diligence they will resort the consensus of the new room.

    There’s no such thing as “libel immunities.”

    • #7
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:48 AM PST
    • Like
  8. Skyler Coolidge

    Very dangerous behavior by McCarthy. It seems his name is appropriate.

    And to compare the abuse of children and mandatory reporters with requiring someone to report about adult victims is absurd.

    • #8
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:49 AM PST
    • Like
  9. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    WilliamDean (View Comment):

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Perhaps they should be stripped of their libel immunities for when they grossly publishing something and get a story wrong, and then show no remorse for immediate correction.

    In a lawsuit the very act of legal discovery would force them to turn over their internal deliberations, and when it is clear they are no longer acting as a honest reporting entity and are recklessly negligent in their factual mistakes they could be taken to the cleaners.

    No one agues this is not a fairly effective method on how we regulate players in the economic market. As long as they can publish anything without restraint for due diligence they will resort the consensus of the new room.

    There’s no such thing as “libel immunities.”

    I’m not a lawyer, but what do you call the legal protection they seem to have when publishing outright falsehoods and suffer no financial accountabilities? Typically it will not be brought to a court, and if it is usually summarily thrown out so they don’t even have the punishment of the process.

    Unless of course you are Micheal Mann going after National Review, it seems to work in that case with those of the correct ideologies.

    • #9
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:03 AM PST
    • Like
  10. Vance Richards Member

    He should have sent his letter on his own, not Congressional, letterhead.

    • #10
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:19 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Skyler Coolidge

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):
    I’m not a lawyer, but what do you call the legal protection they seem to have when publishing outright falsehoods and suffer no financial accountabilities?

    I’m a lawyer and I call it the first amendment.

    • #11
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:39 AM PST
    • Like
  12. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):
    I’m not a lawyer, but what do you call the legal protection they seem to have when publishing outright falsehoods and suffer no financial accountabilities?

    I’m a lawyer and I call it the first amendment.

    I want to agree with you, but how close are we to the fire in the theater moment?

    Lies that circumvent the globe three time before the truth can find its pants?

    Right now our national press is a national disgrace, and there seems to be no mechanism that can arrest it before they manage to cover up the recent malfeasance of presumed impartiality we have been witnessing for the last three years of Orange Man Bad.

    He is not my first choice, but all presidents deserve a balanced coverage, and I am not seeing a mechanism that will disincentivize the blatant slant in reporting on our government’s activities. I would rather we not be herded by our media into the next Venezuela, but given the ineffectual behavior that our Congress has adopted, (can they even pass a real budget?) and the willingness of the lower courts to act on a national level for selective enforcement of executive orders, don’t suggest it can never happen here.

    • #12
    • November 19, 2019, at 12:16 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Do I approve of McCarthy’s letter of inquiry? Yes. Would I approve of government intervention or regulation? No.

    A few years ago I would have also answered the first question in the negative. I’m a neutral process guy. I believe the only way to hold a nation of 300 million people, who have a lot of different opinions, together is if they have some reasonable assurance that processes are applied fairly to everyone.

    However, the Democrats have blown through those norms. An example – in 2006 ABC/Disney broadcast “The Path To 9-11” which commited the apparently unforgiveable sin of pointing that that both the Bush and Clinton administrations had failures when it came to preventing and detecting the 9-11 attacks. Since this contradicted the Democratic and media narrative that the Bush administration was solely responsible for the failures, nineteen US Senators, including Majority Leader Reid, wrote to Disney expressing their disapproval and implicitly threatening the license of ABC. The Path To 9-11 was never shown again on TV and never released on DVD or any other format. It is as if it never existed.

    It is a losing hand if one side continues to pretend the processes are neutral when the other side is determined to win, regardless of process. 

    • #13
    • November 19, 2019, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 3 likes