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The Senate Should Confirm FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

Gigi Sohn
FCC nominee Gigi Sohn (Image credit: C-SPAN)

Why would a fiercely nonpartisan national grassroots organization like the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) call for the U.S. Senate to confirm a progressive Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee like Gigi Sohn? Because she is imminently qualified for the job, and she would work to improve the lives of children and families.

While we at the PTC don’t always agree with Ms. Sohn on matters of public policy, I’ve had the pleasure to know her for almost two decades, and to work together with her on issues of mutual interest and concern. I cannot think of a candidate who would be more familiar, and more abreast, of the myriad and very complicated issues – especially those of concern to families – that come before the FCC. Regardless of which box on a ballot you tend to check, it is indisputable that she is exceptionally well-qualified to serve as an FCC commissioner.

Also: Newsmax Backs Sohn

Gigi Sohn brings a vital perspective to the FCC that is urgently needed: She is a mom. Today’s entertainment media landscape has never been more dangerous for children, and never more concerning for parents. Several years ago, the PTC had grown increasingly frustrated over the lack of the FCC’s enforcement of longstanding broadcast indecency laws, despite clear and convincing evidence of violations. Ms. Sohn, in her capacity as an adviser to then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, brokered a meeting to address our concerns. After hearing us out, and after investigating the facts of specific un-adjudicated indecency complaints, the FCC acted unanimously and levied its first indecency fine in years.

Tim Winter

Guest blog author Tim Winter is the president of the Parents Television and Media Council. (Image credit: PTC)

Unfortunately, some of the big, behemoth media corporations are doing everything they can to prevent her confirmation, and they won’t allow the truth to interfere with the narrative they want you to believe. It is rare to find an issue where the corporate parents of Fox News and MSNBC agree, however, both News Corporation and Comcast have invested heavily to kill the Sohn nomination. And it is precisely their reasons for doing so that should spur bipartisan support to confirm her.

Increasing the number of journalistic voices – both on the left and on the right – should be warmly welcomed as our nation passionately debates so many vexing issues. For decades, Sohn has been one of the fiercest advocates for more voices, and for more competition. Apparently, that is such a threat to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation that he has invested numerous Fox News segments, and numerous Wall Street Journal editorials, to eradicate potential Republican support for her confirmation. Yet other conservative news organizations, such as Newsmax, have openly endorsed Sohn’s confirmation.

Also: WSJ Takes Fresh Aim at Sohn Nomination

Much is said about the revolving door between government regulators and the industries they ostensibly regulate, and rightly so. Unlike some FCC nominees in recent years, Sohn has no financial allegiance to the very industry sectors over which the FCC holds regulatory oversight. That’s why her nomination is so refreshing. Rather than protecting a corporate interest, Sohn’s entire career has been dedicated to serving the public interest, and to holding powerful media corporations publicly to account. I cannot think of a time in our nation’s history when that perspective has been more important.

We share many of the same values and have worked in support of many of the same causes as those who are currently impeding her confirmation. For those Senators on both sides of the aisle who have previously – and rightly – advocated for the confirmation of a nominee who is indisputably well-qualified but who faces fierce partisan opposition, we call on you to heed your own words. Ms. Sohn is exceptionally well-qualified to serve our nation as an FCC Commissioner. We call on the Senate to confirm her, and to permit her to serve in that capacity free from any recusals or encumbrances foisted upon her by the very industry over which the Commission has regulatory authority. ■

A former NBC and MGM executive, Tim Winter is the president of the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC), a nonpartisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment.