President Biden’s controversial nominee for the vacant seat on the Federal Communications Commission Gigi Sohn is days away from a Senate hearing and final vote on her confirmation.
The stakes are high for the FCC, which is currently tied 2-2 between Democrat and Republican appointees. Yet because Sohn, who is gay, has failed to persuade a majority of senators (including a couple of Democrats) to support her nomination on policy grounds, the usual constellation of allied leftist LGBT groups is rolling out their last, desperate line of attack: opposition to Sohn is rooted in “homophobic and sexist fear-mongering.”
“Gigi’s nomination has recently come under attack, not on the basis of qualifications or substance, but because she is openly LGBTQ+,” the Victory Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and others declared in a letter to the Senate last week, trotting out the typical liberal playbook of ignoring legitimate criticism by turning someone into a victim of their identity. “We call upon every member of the Senate to condemn homophobia and sexism and consider Gigi’s nomination on its merits.”
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A slew of sympathetic media headlines followed, but here’s what the Left is using such inflammatory rhetoric to try to hide: the Senate is considering Sohn’s nomination to the FCC on its merits. Unfortunately, the merits are awful.
Expecting baseless accusations of homophobia to be the ultimate trump card may work in some woke circles, but it doesn’t fly with us. As an organization representing LGBT conservatives, we are all too familiar with liberal activists drumming up sexual identity politics to accuse Republicans of anti-gay bigotry. They did it in Florida to Gov. Ron DeSantis with the Parental Rights in Education bill. Now they’re doing it again, this time in the U.S. Senate with Gigi Sohn.
Let’s review just a few of Sohn’s “merits” to sit on the FCC.
Sohn has openly entertained the idea of censoring some of the largest media networks in the country, which is alarming for someone who wants to be tasked with regulating communications.
In tweets from just a couple years ago, she questioned whether Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the largest media organizations in the country, deserved to have its broadcast license revoked by the FCC and suggested the Senate hold a hearing on the “negative impact” that “state-sponsored propaganda” from Fox News has had on democracy.
These tweets, which Sohn posted as an already-influential leader in the communications space, create real concern about what kind of censorship regulations Sohn might support on a Democrat-led FCC in an era when Big Tech is already silencing conservative voices online.
None of this has to do with Sohn’s sexual orientation.
Then there’s Sohn’s ethically-questionable involvement in a scheme by an app called Locast (she was on the three-member board), which captured and retransmitted (stole) broadcast signals without the broadcasters’ permission.
Locast was eventually forced by a federal judge to shut down and pay a $32 million settlement; but just a day after Biden nominated Sohn to the FCC, the broadcasters agreed to reduce that settlement to just $700,000.
Senators are right to question whether Sohn used her pending power as an FCC Commissioner to influence the broadcasters she may soon have regulatory power over, not to mention her apparently flippant views on intellectual property rights.
Again, none of this has to do with Sohn’s sexual orientation.
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Then there’s Sohn’s generally far-left views, which are absolutely fair game to evaluate for anyone seeking a powerful, regulation-wielding government appointment. In a rare crossover, the Fraternal Order of Police is opposing Sohn’s nomination over her racially-charged views on defunding the police.
She has repeatedly maligned Republicans. Most recently, reports have surfaced around Sohn’s seat on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit that has spent a shocking amount of time and resources in recent years opposing overwhelmingly-bipartisan legislation passed in 2018 designed to protect sex trafficking victims on the grounds that it discriminates against sex workers.
All of this paints a disturbing picture of Sohn’s ideological view of politics and public policy.
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Not a single one of these valid concerns are addressed in the Victory Institute’s pearl-clutching letter about homophobia. Ironically, while that letter urges the Senate to focus on the “merits” of her nomination, the intent is anything but: if you oppose Sohn for any reason, you are complicit in anti-gay bigotry.
Fortunately, Senate Republicans aren’t falling for it, and hopefully the moderate Democrats who share their concerns won’t either.
Equal protection under the law does not mean protection from legitimate scrutiny. It is an insult to the LGBT community whenever the left plays their game of cry-wolf homophobia to falsely frame someone as a victim of their sexual orientation.
It is true that Sohn is the first openly gay person to be nominated to the FCC, but that should not be a reason to vote for or against her. Millions of LGBT Americans — and I am sure that includes Gigi Sohn — want to succeed based on the merits of their qualifications, not their sexuality.
So, with all due respect to the usual players on the Gay Left: stop sermonizing about non-existent homophobia and let the Senate do its job.