Florida's two United States senators and the U.S. House congressman representing much of Miami-Dade County are urging the Federal Communications Commission to resist pressure from Democrats to block the sale of a local Spanish-language radio station to a conservative ownership group.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) along with Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.) on Wednesday published a letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel urging the FCC to reject "politicization" of the agency by Democrats.
"We write to express our profound concern that highly partisan political operatives, many with no ties to South Florida, are attempting to pressure the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject the pending application of WSUA Broadcasting Corporation to assign the license of WSUA (AM) (known as Radio Caracol 1260) and FM translator W232DX (which rebroadcasts WSUA) to ATV Holdings, Inc," the lawmakers wrote.
"The opponents of the proposed sale have expressed concerns about the potential content of WSUA's programming, claiming it would be overly conservative."
Last month, the Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus demanded that the FCC "scrutinize" the sale of popular Miami radio station Caracol 1260 AM to America-CV Network LLC, a broadcasting company that owns the Spanish-language TV station América TeVé in Hialeah, Florida.
Democrats cried foul after America-CV fired the station's most popular on-air personality, former Hialeah Democratic Mayor Raul Martinez, who hosted a four-hour daily talk show. They are upset that conservative voices will have an opportunity to spread so-called "Spanish-language misinformation" on the airwaves in Miami County, which former President Donald Trump won in 2020 with support from Hispanic voters.
At the time, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr blasted Democrats for attempting to punish conservative points of view by interfering in the sale.
"This attempt by Democrats in Congress to pressure the FCC into blocking the sale of a Spanish-language radio station based on the political viewpoints that it would broadcast to South Florida's Hispanic community crosses a line drawn by the First Amendment," Carr said. "The FCC has no business doing the Democrats' bidding or using our regulatory process to censor political opinions that Democrats do not like. What's worse, the Democrats appear to be treating the FCC as merely an arm of the DNC—expressly pressuring the agency to take action that they believe will increase their electoral odds in Florida in 2022."
Rubio, Scott, and Díaz-Balart cited Carr in their letter, joining him in criticizing the Democrats' demands.
"We are concerned by these attempts to impose on the FCC's independence and politicize its decisions by encouraging content-based censorship," the lawmakers wrote. "Preventing the assignment of the radio station licenses based on its anticipated programming would set a dangerous precedent, and likely would violate the First Amendment's protections of free expression and a free, independent media. Instead, as you consider the application, we respectfully request that you reject any politicization of the FCC, and engage the application on its merits alone."
The Republicans went on to mock Democrats for complaining about one right-leaning radio station given "the overwhelming predominance of left-leaning bias in print, cable, and broadcast media."
"It is similarly telling that simply because the purchaser is expected to have an anti-Castro, anti-Communist, anti-Socialist viewpoint, it has been deemed 'too conservative,'" the lawmakers wrote.
"Constituents of our state and districts do not appreciate the brazen attempt by partisans, many from outside the state, to impose their media choices on South Floridians," the lawmakers said in the letter. "Comments indicating that our constituents will be duped by 'disinformation' is insulting and tinged with racism. South Florida has a wide array of media sources, and our constituents are exceedingly capable of determining which of them are worthy of their trust and time."