Gigi Sohn

Joel Sage/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Somehow Newsmax is calling for Gigi Sohn to be confirmed to FCC

It is a surprising show of support.

 

David Covucci

Tech

Posted on Nov 11, 2021   Updated on Nov 11, 2021, 10:04 am CST

This week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced his vehement opposition to Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), calling President Joe Biden’s pick an “unqualified hack.”

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But this week Sohn also got a surprising show of support from an entity even farther to the right than Graham: Newsmax.

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The far-right website, which is ardently pro-Donald Trump and dabbles in conspiratorial thinking, nonetheless published an op-ed calling for Sohn to be confirmed.

Sohn was nominated by Biden alongside current FCC acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel. While Rosenworcel is likely to be confirmed as permanent chair, Sohn’s elevation to the commission would break a partisan, 2-2 deadlock and expects to be more contentious.

With Sohn installed, the FCC could embark on Biden’s broadband agenda, the centerpiece of which would be reinstating net neutrality.

But regardless, Brad Blakeman, a Newsmax contributor and former aide to former President George W. Bush, called on the Senate to confirm Sohn swiftly.

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Blakeman writes that “I know Gigi. I have worked with Gigi. And I have seen her fight for people’s right to express themselves, even when she disagrees with them.”

Blakeman went on to list the areas in which he disagrees with Sohn, calling himself a proud Trump supporter who is against reinstating net neutrality rules, something Sohn and the FCC will most likely do if confirmed.

However, he said, “Despite all of that, though, I trust Gigi to get it right when it comes to protecting my free speech.”

The op-ed comes after the Wall Street Journal called Sohn a “media censor” and insinuated that she would try and ban right-wing networks and clamp down on conservatives’ right to free expression online.

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“Even when other liberals wanted to shut down conservative voices, Gigi stood up for free speech,” Blakeman wrote. “We will never agree on a lot of things, but Gigi Sohn will fight for my right—and yours—to be heard and to have access to the most important information and communications services.”

While Graham’s comments indicated a number of Republicans will try to fight Sohn’s confirmation, Blakeman’s op-ed shows it’s possible she can still get support from unexpected places.


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ISPs won’t quit trying to derail California’s ‘gold standard’ net neutrality law
FCC agrees to crack down on ‘sweetheart deals’ that restrict broadband choice in apartments, condos
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*First Published: Nov 11, 2021, 9:56 am CST