Home>Articles>Niger Innis: Gigi Sohn Stands in the Way of America’s Freedoms and Connectivity

Gigi Sohn testifying to the Senate Judiciary committee opposing the TMobile-Sprint merger in May 2011 (Twitter: @gigibsohn)

Niger Innis: Gigi Sohn Stands in the Way of America’s Freedoms and Connectivity

FCC Nominee’s polarizing views set a dangerous precedent of politicizing the agency

By Niger Innis, January 29, 2022 5:39 pm

In today’s political climate, the preservation of our rights and access to free speech and press must remain a top priority. For a state as bipartisan and politically diverse as Nevada, this holds especially true. More than ever, the people of Nevada need the Federal Communications Commissions to alleviate our state’s persistent lack of internet broadband access that hinders us from fully expressing our opinions about the state of the union. However, President Joe Biden’s decision to re-nominate Gigi Sohn as a new FCC commissioner will only serve to hinder our freedoms.

Since 1934, the FCC has stood tall as an independent, unbiased government agency whose mission is to help Americans of all backgrounds improve their access to infrastructure and resources to communicate with each other, and given today’s pandemic, online communication has never been more important. Therefore, even the slightest possibility of Gigi Sohn – a divisive and dodgy figure at best – jeopardizes the Commission’s ability to shield itself from political mudslinging and do its job of helping Nevada and rest of disconnected America to close the broadband disparity with rest of the country.

Sohn has repeatedly leveraged her public influence to round up public support for radical left-wing ideas and to openly bash conservative input on critical issues. For one, the former FCC staffer took to her personal Facebook account to donate and support far-left social media movements that advocate the abolition and defunding of our police. If granted the all-important FCC commissioner post, Sohn’s polarizing views not only present serious public safety concerns for Nevada and rest of the country but also set a dangerous precedent of politicizing the Commission.

She has also displayed heavily biased thinking on the topic of censorship. Sohn has made a habit of using her personal Twitter account to alienate and bully conservatives about their concerns over online censorship, claiming that criticism toward “anti-conservative bias on online platforms…is a bunch of BS.” The FCC nominee has habitually slammed right-leaning ideas by liking tweets that validate cancel culture – a toxic social trend that favors progressive ideas and intimidates conservatives into self-censorship.

Just a year ago, Ms. Sohn characterized Fox news as “state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints.” Aside from ignoring the contributions of current and former respected Fox journalists and contributors such as Juan Williams, Chris Wallace, Donna Brazile and many others, Sohn also calls for a “hearing” to probe Fox.

These types of censorship tactics have led some conservatives to fight back with disturbing results, calling for some to take extreme measures to counter the censorship. This type of escalation damages the democratic process and public discourse, further dividing Americans.

The state of Nevada and rest of America do not deserve an FCC commissioner who brandishes impulsive, politically divisive ideas that will surely hinder the agency’s work of improving access to communication and preserving our freedom of speech across the country.

Being an FCC commissioner also demands an individual who has demonstrated honesty in one’s professional career. Again, Sohn falls short, largely due to her previous engagement in an organization named Locast. A discontinued television streaming service, Locast had its operations suspended by the U.S. Federal Court in New York state for its copyright infringement of major broadcasters including NBC and Fox. Rightfully so, a bipartisan group of legislators and stakeholders have raised concerns about Sohn’s involvement in Locast’s dubious business model as part of its board of directors and the conflicts of interest she may bring to the FCC.

Sohn has yet to convincingly refute this allegation during her first round of confirmation in Congress, and it remains doubtful as to whether she can set the record straight during her second round of legislative scrutiny.

The Federal Communications Commission has been a steward of our country’s values of freedom of speech and communications to freely express our beliefs. Communications-related issues in Nevada has often been an afterthought of policymakers in Washington, and Sohn’s politicizing and emotional presence in the FCC will only further complicate this persistence issue. What our state and the country as a whole need from the Biden administration are level-headed, balanced leaders in its ranks–not radical, short-sighted activists like Sohn. Therefore, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and the rest of her colleagues must keep on the pressure to confirm someone for the FCC who champions freedom of speech for all Americans, not just a selective few.

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