Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) suggested Sunday the federal government needs to regulate Fox News because the network is "very clearly" guilty of inciting violence.
The problem, though, is that Ocasio-Cortez did not provide any evidence to back her claim.
What did AOC say?
MSNBC host Jen Psaki asked Ocasio-Cortez about Fox News' $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and whether the company erred by not forcing Fox News to acknowledge "that they lied."
In her response, Ocasio-Cortez said the case "raises much larger questions," including what content is "permissible" for broadcast.
"We have very real issues with what is permissible on air, and we saw that with Jan. 6, and we saw that in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and how we navigate questions, not just of freedom of speech but also accountability for incitement of violence," she responded.
"This is the line that we have to really explore through law as well," she added.
When asked whether media organizations and social media platforms "should be accountable for being platforms for incitement," Ocasio-Cortez targeted Fox News and Tucker Carlson.
"I believe that when it comes to broadcast television, like Fox News, these are subject to federal law [and] federal regulation in terms of what's allowed on air and what isn't," she responded. "When you look at what Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence. Very clearly incitement of violence.
"That is the line that I think we have to be willing to contend with," she said.
AOC and Jen Psaki talk abortion rights, the climate crisis, and her Republican colleaguesyoutu.be
What is the problem?
While Ocasio-Cortez claimed Fox News is "very clearly" guilty of inciting violence, she did not provide any evidence to back her allegations.
The First Amendment protects nearly all speech, but the Supreme Court has defined a few narrow exceptions. The landmark case Brandenburg v. Ohio, for example, ruled that one type of unprotected speech is that which is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Thus if Fox News was guilty of inciting violence or, in the words of the Supreme Court, "imminent lawless action," then surely Ocasio-Cortez could point to a time when Fox News, as a media entity or any of its employees, directly called for its viewers to break the law and commit violent acts. The inability to provide such examples speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, to "explore through law" ways to hold "accountable" media organizations would require an amendment to the Constitution because the Supreme Court has a long-established precedent for interpreting First Amendment protections — and it almost never goes in the government's favor.
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