Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
The woman who President Joe Biden has pegged for an important seat on the Federal Communications Commission came under fire Wednesday as Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan attacked her for what he perceives as rigid partisanship on her Twitter account.
When Gigi Sohn, who was nominated in October to fill one of five director seats on the FCC, faced her latest round of confirmation hearings she was met by an angry Sullivan.
“I don’t know where to begin,” Sullivan said during the hearing, the relevant portions of which are available through a series of C-SPAN user clips.
Sullivan took exception to a Sohn tweet that contained a call for Fox News to face hearings for being what Sohn described as “state-sponsored propaganda.”
For all my concerns about #Facebook, I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy. It's state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints. Where's the hearing about that? https://t.co/Zwx6KFzrff
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) October 28, 2020
The senator also questioned Sohn about her having allegedly retweeted a post that read, “Your raggedy white supremacist president and his cowardly enablers would rather kill everybody than stop killing black people.”
Sohn told Sullivan she was unaware to the specific tweet in question but stated she did not view all Republicans as racists or white supremacists. This response did not seem to quell the senator’s concerns.
The original tweet was posted in June of 2020 by a verified Twitter user named Issa Rae. However, Sohn’s Twitter activity prior to September 2020 either has been scrubbed or never existed, making it impossible to say with certainty if she ever endorsed the claim.
Other tweets and retweets from Sohn in September of 2020 feature insults about then-President Trump, including one tweet which implied that Trump condoned white supremacy.
I must have missed @realDonaldTrump condemning white supremacists. Oh right, he didn't. #Debates2020
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) September 30, 2020
“I think the average American, whether you’re Republican or Democrat is tired of this,” Sullivan said. “The number of Biden nominees who come out here and have tweeted about Republicans being white supremacists and racists, it seems like that’s how you get nominated in this administration. People are just tired of it.”
He later followed with a similarly worded tweet.
Gigi Sohn, nominated to @FCC, is the latest radical Biden nominee with a history of making outrageous statements & disparaging all Republicans as racists.
It’s become apparent that slurring half the country is how you *get* nominated by this President.
[@SenateCommerce today] pic.twitter.com/PpofqJuV5M
— Sen. Dan Sullivan (@SenDanSullivan) February 9, 2022
The heavy resistance from Republicans is partially due to what any Biden pick for an FCC appointment represents. At present, the FCC board is split 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats, and Sohn’s confirmation would break that tie, giving Democrats leverage on hot button broadcast and transmission matters.
Sohn’s tweets, though, have provided her detractors with a foundation from which to launch a spirited opposition.
An examination of Sohn’s last two years of Twitter activity reveals a person who is clearly partisan, albeit tamer than many others who share her political beliefs.
Sohn often pushed for greater access to broadband and the codification of net neutrality, and, on one occasion, advocated for treating social media companies as trusts.
So when it's at full strength, the Biden @FCC must reinstate Title II legal authority & net neutrality rules. And Congress must follow that up by codifying both into law. Rant is over!
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) February 25, 2021
Reminder that the reason everyone & their mothers are breathlessly reviewing @Facebook's @OversightBoard decision re blocking Trump is b/c FB has too much control over public discourse. Strengthening #antitrust law & regulatory oversight would be the best ways to address this.
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) May 5, 2021
Coincidentally, in November 2020, Sohn shared an article from a group that accused the Trump FCC of seeking to censor speech.
A THOUSAND TIMES THIS.
Thank you @gigibsohn.https://t.co/dh03tTKJY6
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) November 4, 2020
However, there are still other tweets that are more indicative of pro-censorship bias. Sohn once accused Fox New as being “more dangerous” to American society than social media.
Perhaps the most concerning tweet was one in which she celebrated President Biden’s executive order that revoked a Trump-era order titled “Preventing Online Censorship.” Sohn called President Trump’s anticensorship order “a sideshow.”
Thank you @POTUS for disposing of a sideshow that did not advance the debate over content moderation or whether and how Congress might update #Section230. https://t.co/oXtEvZQ3kO
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) May 14, 2021
Sohn’s online opinion sharing is not the only part of her past that has attracted the attention of Republicans in the Senate.
In Wednesday’s hearing, as reported in more detail by C-NET, Mississippi Sen. Roget Wicker accused Sohn of withholding information about her connection to some broadcasting entities, which she would oversee if confirmed.
Sohn has been absent from Twitter since being nominated in October.