Republican lawmakers held President Joe Biden’s leftist nominee for the Federal Communications Commission to task this week for woke, inflammatory, and censorious remarks she has made in the past, putting her ability to govern fairly or competently in question.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) scrutinized Sohn for several remarks she has made, in some cases swapping out the racial groups she saw fit to denigrate for others in order to ascertain whether they were similarly unacceptable in slightly altered contexts.
What is the background?
Biden nominated Sohn in October 2021 to fill a commissioner seat on the FCC. Owing to sustained opposition by Republicans and underwhelming support from Democrats, Sohn’s nomination expired, so Biden had to re-nominate her on Jan. 4, 2022.
TheBlaze previously reported that the White House, which “continues to strongly back” Sohn, expects her to execute its so-called “digital equity” agenda.
Republicans recognize that Sohn, who has a history of criticizing conservative and right-leaning news outlets, may approach her responsibilities with a strong bias. This could prove deleterious, as the FCC is a powerful regulatory arm of the state, granted oversight over technology, telecommunications, and media.
Sohn appeared Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Committee for her third confirmation hearing, 476 days after her initial nomination.
Vance noted in his preamble that while he agreed with some of Sohn’s positions, of special concern to him was her participation in “this weird racialization of American political rhetoric in the last few years.”
“There’s been this weird trend in certain corners of American politics to be very, very racialized and even to criticize explicit racial groups,” said Vance.
The senator from Ohio then provided a number of Sohn’s tweets, albeit in modified forms to highlight their partisan and identitarian nature.
“And I quote, ‘President Obama is a raggedy black supremacist president and his cowardly enablers would rather kill everybody than stop killing white people,'” said Vance. “Do you think a person that said that should be appointed or confirmed to the FCC?”
When Sohn responded by suggesting more context was needed, Vance added, “I think clearly a person who said that should not be appointed to the FCC, and in fact, you retweeted the exact same thing, only with President Trump instead of President Obama, and the races reversed.”
As Vance indicated, in June 2020, Sohn retweeted a post from actress Issa Rae, which read, “Your raggedy white supremacist president and his cowardly enablers would rather kill everybody than stop killing black people.”
Again, Vance gauged whether the racially charged rhetoric Sohn has dealt in would be acceptable, first, if the races were changed, and second, for a prospective FCC commissioner to be on record as writing.
“‘Angry black woman. Not a good look, Judge Brown Jackson,'” said Vance. “Would a person who tweeted that pejoratively be deserving of the position that you’re seeking?”
Sohn recognized the rhetoric as her own, only slightly changed, and claimed it had nothing to do with the FCC role she is seeking.
Contrary to Sohn’s claim, Vance suggested that her past racist remarks were relevant because “we live in a country that’s very diverse. People come from different backgrounds. And one of the things that preserves what little racial comity and harmony we have in this country is that our leaders don’t use that racial comity and harmony like a toddler who discovered their daddy’s gun.”
Vance continued, saying, “You talk about racial issues in a way that will inflame the very worst things in our country. And I fear that if you’re given this position of authority, you will use that authority to continue to inflame and to continue, potentially even, to censor based on some of these ideas.”
While Sohn contended that she had made the remarks as an activist or as a private citizen, and that they had no bearing on how she would act as an FCC commissioner, Vance suggested her racist statements nevertheless revealed “something about how you see the world, how you think about the world, and how you feel about the world. … They are reflective of a person who will have a lot of power.”
Republicans appear unified in their concerns about Sohn’s ideological capture and her capacity to abuse that power.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated Tuesday, “We know enough from today’s extreme left what happens when power is put in the wrong hands. It doesn’t take much to imagine a partisan FCC going down a dark path in attempting to censor what we see, hear, read, and ultimately think. As such, our responsibility as senators is to make sure an FCC nominee not only has the expertise to be an independent regulator, but also possess good judgment and temperament. The nominee must be fair, ethical, and perhaps most importantly, honest.”
“On all these fronts, Gigi Sohn fails,” Cruz noted.
Cruz suggested that Sohn has “displayed bad judgment and poor ethics” and has “associated herself with the most radical views on the far left.”
The Republican senator from Texas added, “If Ms. Sohn’s brazen theft of intellectual property, lack of candor, and conflicts of interest weren’t disqualifying on their own, then her long record of poor judgment should seal her fate. … Putting Ms. Sohn on the Commission would create deep mistrust of the FCC amongst half our population.”
Sohn, who previously worked in the Obama White House, has made little secret of her ideological bent.
Sohn has previously castigated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for calling attention to online bias and claimed Fox News “has had the most negative impact on our democracy” and is “state-sponsored propaganda.”
Biden’s nominee also 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.
In late 2021, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board claimed that Sohn “favors deploying the agency’s regulatory power to shackle broadband providers and silence conservative voices.”
The editorial board also warned that Sohn “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.”
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