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Democrats under pressure to confirm censorial leftist Gigi Sohn as FCC commissioner before midterms
Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images

Democrats under pressure to confirm censorial leftist Gigi Sohn as FCC commissioner before midterms

On January 4, President Joe Biden re-nominated Gigi Sohn to fill a commissioner seat on the Federal Communications Commission after her previous 2021 nomination had technically expired. The pressure is now on Democrats to fill the post, as they will be unable to do so if Republicans take control of Congress in November.

Owing to a successful and unified Republican blockade, Sohn's confirmation will require the support of all 50 Senate Democrats, unlikely since Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) aren't big fans.

The White House, which "continues to strongly back" Sohn, expects her to execute its so-called "digital equity" agenda, as her confirmation would provide Democrats with a majority on the FCC, which is presently deadlocked 2-2.

Republicans recognize that Sohn, a leftist with a history of criticizing conservative and right-leaning news outlets, may approach her responsibilities with a strong bias. This could prove impactful, as the FCC is a powerful regulatory arm of the state, granted oversight over technology, telecommunications, and media.

Last-ditch effort before the midterms

The Hill noted last month that Democrats may amplify claims that the current 2-2 partisan split "produces gridlock and prevents the agency from doing its job," but that such a claim "would be utterly disingenuous; the FCC has operated with fewer than five commissioners for more than 25 percent of its existence" and previously "had no trouble fulfilling its mission."

This claim was recently repeated by National Treasury Employees Union President Anthony Reardon in a letter to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Reardon stated, "I feel that any further delay in the confirmation of her nomination threatens to inhibit progress at the FCC to the detriment of both the workforce and the American consumer."

Harold Feld, senior vice president of George Soros-funded lobby group Public Knowledge — a nonprofit co-founded by Sohn — recently suggested that despite their wariness about Sohn's alleged extremism, Democrat senators may rally ahead of the November elections and confirm Biden's pick.

"Reality is setting in, and making sure the agency can fully function is critical," said Feld.

While there remain Democrat holdouts, it is possible that the Republican blockade may waver. Should the Senate Democrats pick up a handful of votes across the aisle, Manchin's or Kelly's support or lack thereof may not be deal breakers, especially not if, as reported by the the Federalist late last month, Sen. Cortez Masto ultimately gives Sohn her support.

Sohn has obtained unlikely support from so-called conservatives in the past.

Sohn gets support from purportedly conservative Newsmax

Despite Sohn's antipathy for conservative voices and the perceived likelihood that she would wield regulatory power to accomplish leftist aims, she has received support from the conservative news network Newsmax and its CEO, Chris Ruddy, as well as from the One America News network.

Tucker Carlson noted that Ruddy, "who claims to be conservative and runs Newsmax, the guy who gave a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, is supporting her nomination."

Last fall, Ruddy stated, "Increasingly, independently operated cable news channels like Newsmax are being sidelined in favor of a small number of mega-corporations who dominate the channel line-ups, forcing upon consumers expensive and little-watched networks. ... It's bad for the public interest and dangerous for democracy."

Ruddy added, "While I don't always agree with the nominees on many policy matters, Newsmax fully supports the Commission's mandate to promote diversity, localism and competition in the marketplace."

OAN President Charles Herring reportedly extolled Ms. Sohn’s commitment to “diversity in media.”

Axios indicated that Newsmax and OAN, relatively smaller networks, might gain greatly from Sohn's prospective attacks on bigger conservative programmers with which they hope to compete.

Considerable bias

Extra to having co-founded the telecom advocacy group Public Knowledge, which has received at least $1,148,984 in funding from radical leftist billionaire George Soros via his Open Society Foundations between 2016 and 2020, Sohn has long been a partisan critic of Republican politicians, conservative causes, and right-leaning news outlets.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board wrote on November 8, 2021, that Sohn, who previously worked in the Obama White House, "favors deploying the agency's regulatory power to shackle broadband providers and silence conservative voices."

The editorial board warned that she "could also use the agency's power to block mergers that expand conservative media's reach," adding, "Ms. Sohn's strident partisanship should disqualify her from serving as an officer of an independent agency with so much power to control the public airwaves."

Sohn has reportedly downplayed big tech's censorship of conservatives. She tweeted from her unverified account in May 2020, "For years @Twitter & @Facebook tried to appease @realDonaldTrump & other right-wing extremists on phony claims of conservative bias. It didn't work."

The Media Research Center reported that Sohn castigated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for calling attention to online bias. She tweeted in July 2020, "No shock - @Jim_Jordan rants and raves about so-called anti-conservative bias on online platforms, which we all know is a bunch of BS.

On October 28, 2020, Sohn accused Fox News of being "state-sponsored propaganda."

Sohn also intimated that the FCC should deny the Sinclair Broadcast Group licenses when they come up for renewal, meaning the conservative local politics and news channels would be criminalized and silenced.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) characterized Sohn as a "complete political ideologue who has disdain for conservatives. She would be a complete nightmare for the country when it comes to regulating the public airwaves. ... I will do everything in my power to convince colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reject this extreme nominee."

In March, the Fraternal Order of Police sent letters to various senators, urging them to vote against Sohn's nomination in light of "extreme views" that "she has never moderated."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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