A North Dakota congressman wrote to the heads of the broadcast TV networks on Friday, advising that he would seek hearings on whether their newscasts have been too biased against Donald Trump.
In the letter, Rep. Kevin Cramer, a Republican, cited an AP poll finding that 56 percent of likely voters believe the media has been biased against the Republican candidate.
“With the most recent RealClearPolitics poll average showing Hillary Clinton at 45.3 points to Donald Trump at 42. 7 points, your broadcast news networks — who utilize federal spectrum to
conduct their operations — have a moral obligation to provide balanced, unbiased news coverage for the American people,” Cramer wrote, adding that he believed that “national network news has devolved from fact-based journalism to surreptitious propaganda.”
Cramer has previously advised Trump on energy issues.
In the letter, Cramer clarified that he is not calling for a return of the Fairness Doctrine, a discarded FCC standard calling for balanced coverage of political affairs on broadcast airwaves. Republicans tend to fear that Democrats could reimpose the doctrine in order to stamp out conservative talk radio.
“However,” Cramer wrote, “while the principle of an independent media is critical to our constitutional government, a news media free of political bias is required for a free system to flourish.”
Following the disputed Bush vs. Gore election in 2000, Congressional Republicans held hearings on the networks’ coverage election night coverage. One theory held that the networks suppressed Republican turnout in the Florida panhandle by calling the state too early.