Sohn withdraws name from FCC board consideration … again

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

For the second straight year, the woman President Joe Biden tabbed to be the tiebreaking vote on a partisan-deadlocked Federal Communication Commission has backed out of the nominating process.

Gigi Sohn, who Biden chose to re-nominate despite her having withdrawn her name a year ago after being accused of having a decidedly anti-conservative bias by Republicans in the Senate, had attempted to assert herself as an unbiased arbiter and either apologize for or provide context for several social media posts that conservatives found particularly objectionable.

However, the more Sohn fought, the more ground she seemed to lose. Republicans were resolute in their opposition to her and relentless in using Sohn’s social media past to label her as too partisan to serve on a commission whose primary purpose is to oversee all interstate communication.

“The withdrawal of Ms. Sohn’s nomination is a major victory and represents a strong bipartisan agreement that we need a fair and impartial candidate who can receive the support needed for confirmation,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), arguably the most dogged of Sohn’s critics in the Senate, said in a statement. “The FCC is not a place for partisan activists; free speech is too important. Now, it’s time for the Biden administration to put forth a nominee who can be confirmed by the full Senate and is committed to serving as an even-handed and truly independent regulator.”

More recently, it became evident that Sohn was in danger of losing moderate Democrat support; and, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he would not support her nomination, Sohn called it quits.

“We appreciate Gigi Sohn’s candidacy for this important role,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during her Tuesday briefing. “She would have brought tremendous ta — intellect and experience, which is why the President nominated her in the first place. We also appreciate her dedication to public service, her talent, and her years of work as one of the nation’s leading public advocates on behalf of American consumers and competition.”


What Sohn appears to have lacked, however, was the capacity to refrain from engaging in political rhetoric on social media. She once referred to Fox News as state-sponsored propaganda during the Trump administration and made allusions to conservatives being white supremacists.

Political speech is a practice that is well within the rights of every American, but for the few of us who will one day face a Senate confirmation hearing, instances of getting too charged during political discourse online hand the opposition the materials it needs to create quite the resistance.

“Alaskans & all Americans can rest easy knowing far-left activist Gigi Sohn will not be serving on the @FCC,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), another of Sohn’s key critics, tweeted. “A nominee with such an outrageous record of divisive rhetoric has no business wielding this enormous power to regulate speech in America.”

All along, Sohn has insisted that resistance to her joining the FCC board has been the result of a pressure campaign by broadcasters, cable companies, and other entities directly impacted by FCC decisions.

For the past two years, the FCC’s board has been equally divided between two Republicans and two Democrats. That gridlock provides the sort of stability and predictability that businesses tend to like, and Sohn believes that communication interests are working overtime to keep anyone from ever breaking the tie.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Sohn said she “could not have imagined that legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets would distort my over 30-year history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies.”