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FCC FOX Action

On July 3, 2023, the Media and Democracy Project filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a Petition to Deny the broadcast license renewal application for Fox Corp-owned television station FOX 29 Philadelphia (WTXF-TV).

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July 3, 2023

August 2, 2023

August 22, 2023

FCC Petition Seeks to Deny Renewal of FOX’s Broadcast License for its Philadelphia Station, WTXF on 30-Month Anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection

The Media and Democracy Project Seeks an FCC Hearing on Whether FOX is Qualified to Remain an FCC Broadcast Licensee based on its Intentional Distortion of News Broadcast to the Public

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 6, 2023 — The Media and Democracy Project (MAD) announced its filing of a petition to deny the broadcast license renewal application for Fox Corp-owned television station FOX 29 Philadelphia (WTXF-TV). MAD filed their objection before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), alleging that senior management of Fox Corporation (FOX) manipulated its audience by knowingly broadcasting false news about the 2020 election. Its intentional and chronic news distortion further divided the country, sowing discord that was a contributing factor to the attack on our nation's Capitol on January 6, 2021.


As an FCC broadcast licensee, WTXF-TV, one of 29 FOX subsidiary broadcast stations, has a basic statutory duty to conduct its operations in the public interest. MAD believes it has not done so, relying on the court decision in Dominion v. FOX, which found that FOX’s broadcasts leading up to January 6 repeatedly were false and held that FOX had defamed the voting machine company. The intentional distortion of news, authorized at the highest levels of FOX's corporate structure, and fabricated by management and on-air personalities, represents a severe breach of the FCC's policy on licensee character qualifications. MAD claims that FOX’s activities shock the conscience.


Owning a broadcast station is more than a business—it is a public trust. Never before has the Commission been confronted with so much evidence attached to a petition that clearly shows that an FCC broadcast licensee undermined that trust.


MAD is calling on the FCC to initiate an evidentiary hearing into FOX’s conduct. The FCC has the duty to hold FOX accountable and send a strong message that intentional, knowing news distortion will not be tolerated on America’s airwaves. 


MAD’s petition is supported by a declaration from former Fox Broadcasting executive Preston Padden. Padden describes from firsthand experience Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate decision-making authority over every aspect of FOX operations. He also includes personal email exchanges with Rupert Murdoch. Some or all of those email exchanges were produced by Fox into the public record of the Dominion litigation without Mr. Padden’s knowledge or consent.


This landmark petition seeks to safeguard the integrity of the broadcasting industry and uphold the public's trust in accurate and responsible news reporting. By holding FOX accountable for its deliberate dissemination of false narratives about the 2020 election, the petitioners aim to protect the foundation of our democratic society.


The Media and Democracy Project: MAD is a non-partisan, all-volunteer, grassroots organization 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.


To sign up for more information from The Media and Democracy Project, click here

For media inquiries, please contact Aaron Alberico at

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This editorial was reprinted with permission from The Blade. The newspaper's website is

Fox: law vs. power 


JULY 9, 2023

We are about to find out whether power or the law is paramount in the United States.


At stake is the local TV empire of Fox Broadcasting and the Federal Communications Act, which requires a character assessment to hold the license to operate a station.


Fox owns 29 TV stations in 14 of the top 15 TV markets in the nation. Each one of these stations is an extremely valuable business, required to operate in the public interest as a condition for the FCC license which allows transmission through the public airwaves.


The Fox-owned station in Philadelphia is up for license renewal. A volunteer citizens group called the Media and Democracy Project is challenging the license over the character clause.


The broadcast license challenge comes from misconduct by sister company Fox News in the mostly unregulated world of cable television. Specifically the $787 million settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems for Fox’s false reporting alleging programs in the voting machines produced bogus results which made Joe Biden President of the United States.


Discovery in the civil suit against Fox News makes it clear the cable network knew there was no evidence to support these claims but spread them anyway out of fear of losing their audience to other networks even more receptive to the conspiracy thinking.


The top brass at Fox News and Fox Broadcasting are the same, Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.


The unsubstantiated claims on Fox, allowed by the Murdochs, helped inspire the assault on the Capitol Jan. 6, 2021, as thousands of MAGA faithful gathered to “stop the steal” and keep Congress from certifying election results.


If the long-established law behind the FCC character clause has any validity, it must be enforced against Fox Broadcasting where internal documents from the cable news side of the corporation shows that profit comes before truth or the national interest.


Based solely on the facts and the law, Fox does not deserve a license to own a broadcast station.


If the FCC grants license renewals to a station owner that has knowingly and repeatedly reported false news shown to incite violent insurrection against the government, there is no longer any standard of character required by law.


Fox has grown rich and powerful as the network of conservative America and the politicians they support. Applying the law to Fox will be disputed as a political act rather than an unquestioned outcome driven by fact.


For those who would make America great again, the best way to start is by placing standards based in law ahead of financial and political power.


Fox News paid the $787 million judgment like it was pocket change. The FCC character challenge against Fox Broadcast would administer a more significant lesson about the abuse of a public trust and the government-licensed use of the public airwaves.

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