Supporters of the Media and Democracy Project’s (MAD) Petition to Deny the broadcast license renewal application for FOX Corp-owned television station FOX 29 Philadelphia (WTXF) submitted joint informal comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reiterating the evidence in support of holding a hearing into the matter.
The supporters sought to address a series of misrepresentations circulating within the media and on Capitol Hill that follow from the same playbook FOX employed to undermine the 2020 election. Among other things, these comments clearly state that MAD’s petition is non-partisan and not about politics, not about speech, does not threaten Philadelphians’ access to Sunday Eagles NFL games, and will establish only an extremely narrow and limited precedent. The filing also called on the FCC to grant MAD’s motion to compel FOX to produce key discovery from recent litigations saying, “not requiring the production of those documents would be tantamount to looking the other way.”
The group of seven—including former media veterans and FCC officials—concluded their filing with the following: “Because of Dominion record evidence (including internal emails and texts) the whole world watched Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, and FOX acknowledge the truth that the 2020 election was not stolen, debate the cost in viewers and revenues of reporting that truth to their viewers, and make a business decision to lie to them instead. The whole world also watched the tragic consequences of that business decision. Judge Davis called them out on it. The question is what the Commission will do.”
To debunk scare tactics employed by Fox allies who have asserted FCC action against WTFX would deprive Philadelphians of the Eagles’ Sunday games, the commenters provided a declaration from former NFL media executive Frank Hawkins, who explained that in light of longstanding NFL TV contract provisions “[t]his assertion is at best uninformed, and at worst misinformation.”
The joint informal comments were filed by Milo Vassallo, MAD’s Executive Director; Alfred Sikes, former Republican Chairman of the FCC; Ervin Duggan, former Democratic Commissioner of the FCC and former President of the Public Broadcasting Service; Jamie Kellner, Founding President of the Fox Broadcasting Company; William Kristol, former Editor of Rupert Murdoch’s The Weekly Standard; William Reyner, former Lead Regulatory and Commercial Counsel for Rupert Murdoch/News Corporation/Fox; and Preston Padden, former Executive of Fox Broadcasting Company and Former Lead Lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch/News Corporation/Fox.
The Media and Democracy Project: MAD is a non-partisan, all-volunteer, grassroots organization focused on strengthening a free and independent media in the public interest. MAD aims to improve our national discourse so that American voters can engage in informed decision-making. As part of that goal, MAD has an interest in the responsibility of journalists and media to report fully, accurately, and fairly on the electoral process and the outcome of elections. Additional information is available at www.MediaAndDemocracyProject.Org.
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