Radio News: Democrats seem to be abandoning their FCC nominee

May 08, 2022 11:33 pm

Progressive activists and proponents of net neutrality are now openly questioning why the Joe Biden administration is doing so little to support its nominee to the Federal Communcations Commission, Gigi Sohn, Common Dreams reports. The digital rights group Fight for the Future tweeted May 5 that, "Joe Biden and Sen. [Chuck] Schumer promised to restore net neutrality. But instead they're sitting on the sidelines while Big Telecom mounts a massive dark money funded smear campaign against their nominee to the FCC, Gigi Sohn." Net neutrality is creating an even playing field for the internet, not a place where the companies with the most money get the fasted speeds. Fight for the Future director Evan Greer said May 5 said the Trump administration's FCC, "repealed it, Dems promised to restore it, and they've so far failed to do so by caving to industry pressure and slow-walking" Sohn's nomination. "The only reason for this is corruption. Plain and simple," Greer said, adding that it is a "good time to remember that Comcast, AT&T, Verizon etc. are huge donors to Democratic leadership and candidates. They've got their hands all up in there." The Obama administration passed net neutrality in 2015, and Sohn was largely the author of those rules. Now she's being attacked by the the Fraternal Order of Police, who claim her, "forceful advocacy of end-to-end encryption and 'user-only-access'" and employment history, public policy stances, and social media activity "indicated serious animus towards law enforcement officers and the rule of law." Techdirt founder Mike Masnick says that, "The smear campaign against [Sohn] has been beyond ridiculous.... Everyone who knows anything about her knows that it's pure nonsense, that she's beyond qualified, and that she will do an amazing job. The smear merchants are doing it because they know she'll do a good job." Karl Bode, writing in Techdirt, blamed the Democrats. "It took the Biden administration nine months to even nominate Sohn, giving the telecom industry… ample time to galvanize opposition." The Biden administration also isn't defending Sohn publicly, or pushing to move the Senate confirmation voting process forward. "The phony appeal of authoritarianism can only be defeated if the [Democratic National Committee] shakes off corruption and truly represents the public interest," Bode added. "You don't accomplish this by letting a hugely popular media and telecom reformer drown under unopposed GOP/telecom propaganda attacks."