Rupert Murdoch Spreads False Claim Biden FCC Nom Wants To 'Censor Conservatives.' NewsMax & OAN Immediately Prove Him Wrong.

from the gibberish-and-nonsense dept

We'd already noted how telecom and media giants are hard at work trying to scuttle the nomination of consumer advocate Gigi Sohn to the FCC. Sohn is broadly popular on both sides of the aisle in telecom and media circles, so companies like AT&T and News Corporation are working overtime to come up with talking points politicians can use to oppose her nomination. This week, that included prodding Lindsey Graham to frame Sohn (who has decades of telecom policy experience) as an unqualified radical extremist looking to censor conservatives:

Anybody who knows or has worked with Sohn (which is pretty much everyone in telecom policy circles, including myself) knows this is gibberish. Graham's rant was timed with the release of this clumsy missive by the Wall Street Journal editorial board that tries to claim Sohn wants to "censor conservatives." Their evidence of this? She supported holding Sinclair Broadcasting accountable after it lied to regulators to try and get its merger with Tribune Broadcasting approved:

"After Tribune Broadcasting abandoned its merger with the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2018, she declared, "Today is a good day for every American who believes that diversity of voices in the media is better for our democracy" and urged the FCC to "look at whether Sinclair is qualified to be a broadcast licensee at all."

The Journal oddly forgets to mention this important context, but Sinclair didn't just "abandon" that merger. It was blocked by the Trump FCC and then fined for using shell companies, relatives, and other shady side deals to try and pretend the Tribune merger wouldn't violate bipartisan media ownership rules. Sinclair's efforts were so legally dubious, even Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai was forced to oppose the deal. Sohn's big crime? Agreeing with Pai. This somehow gets twisted into Sohn "supporting Conservative censorship"; fairly reflective of the Journal's integrity and the quality of policy discourse in 2021.

One ironic bit that ruins AT&T's and News Corporation's lobbying efforts here: right-wing disinformation mills Newsmax and OAN (who both opposed the threat the Sinclair merger posed to smaller right wing disinformation mills) released statements in support of Sohn's nomination. Their primary justification? That she... supports conservative voices. From Newsmax commentator Bradley Blakeman:

"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."

AT&T, News Corp., and Comcast very much don't want a consumer advocate at the FCC. They very much want to retain all the favors they nabbed during the Trump era, whether that is the death of net neutrality and broadband privacy rules, or the elimination of many media consolidation rules and neutered FCC consumer protection authority. Their problem is Sohn is both qualified and popular across the aisle, which is forcing them to dig a little too deeply into the nonsense bin to try and justify opposition to the nomination.

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Filed Under: fcc, gigi sohn, lindsey graham, regulations, rupert murdoch


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  • identicon
    That Other Other Guy, 11 Nov 2021 @ 11:18am

    Well, just in case....

    Conservatives have a packed SCOTUS that will gladly protect even the most horrible racist, hate speech that Trump and his sycophants spout.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 11:57am

    Kinda giving yourself away there Lindsey...

    So I guess we can add 'support of blatant corruption' to the category of 'conservative views' then if GIgi's opposition to that counts as opposition to 'conservatives', though I do so love how not less than bloody OAN came out in support of her as if you could expect anyone to be extra touchy about people being anti-'conservative' they would definitely be on the list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 4:08pm

      Re: Kinda giving yourself away there Lindsey...

      Dear Lindsey, Never married

      When can you report on What the republican conservatives Stand for? corporation control? No government protections we earned over 100 years?
      I know! you are a conservative and think everyone else has to be exactly like you.

      In May 2018, Graham voted against legislation that would have overturned the FCC's ruling[clarification needed] and restored net neutrality.[153]

      In March 2017, Graham voted for the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal that removed the FCC's internet privacy rules and allowed internet service providers to sell customers' browsing history without their permission.

      So, you are the one that removed internet Privacy rules? can I have your email address?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 12:06pm

    On the flip side of things, we have a school board in Virginia threatening to burn books. I bet you won’t hear any of Murdoch’s outlets shittalking that situation, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 12:15pm

      Re:

      Why? They love it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Well that can't be. That would mean all this campaigning against "cancel culture" is just cynical bullshit that they don't really believe.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 3:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh no no no, you see it's only cancel culture when it's used against them and that they are hugely against, when it comes to people and subjects they don't like being shut down that's different because (grossly hypocritical) reasons.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 5:13pm

      He said he doesn’t like the idea of Rapp’s book being on school division library shelves for one more night and that the fact that it is in a school library means public schools “would rather have our kids reading gay pornography than about Christ.

      Boy if reading a book about two teenagers escaping abusive relationships(with a third that doesn't sound too pleasant) is considered worthy of torching the book just wait until they read their own bloody bible...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 12:03am

        Re:

        It's hard really. The Bible is the most published book (and probably most discussed) book of all time and can be obtained pretty much anywhere including all religious institutions, sometimes for free. There's clearly no way any child could possibly learn about it or read it if schools don't carry explicitly religious material.

        On the flipside - I doubt that the outrage would be lowered if the school said they're set up a religious texts section and included the Koran, Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist texts alongside the Christian bible.

        (Disclaimer: I'm assuming a few things here, as the above link is georestricted and I can't be bothered to launch my VPN at the moment, but those are typically correct in my experience)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ECA (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 3:47am

          Re: Re:

          Thats the most interesting about religion. And its books.
          Knowing the history that created the Christian bible would scare many people. Including the outtake that the original was based on the Jewish bible.
          And so much has been added to the Christian bible, AFTER the fact, is abit Unknown to a good share of Christians.
          Then there is the old days, and the back stabbing of each religion, and group. the old ideal that 'if you aint like us, you Will never be us'. The one I like to ask Christians is about Christian stories. And do they know where they came from. NOPE, not one has ever gotten the answer. They are from the Jewish faith, and correlate to 1-2 previous religions.
          Most dont even understand the differences between Man's law, and god's law.
          And 99% dont see any comparison with Islamic religions and Christian old times.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 12:16pm

    Sinclair's efforts were so legally dubious, even Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai was forced to oppose the deal.

    Was that really because they were so legally dubious, or was it because Sinclair's primary competitor, Rupert Murdoch, leaned on Trump to scuttle the merger?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Nov 2021 @ 7:11pm

    Rupert Murdoch Spreads False Claim

    News at 11.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Nov 2021 @ 7:41pm

    "I have also pushed back on unqualified nominees and hacks."

    Exactly how many nominees of Trump did he push back against again?
    Positions filled by Trump faithful with no experience in the areas they were tasked with overseeing, unqualified hacks who used their positions to line their own pockets on our dime.

    But yes Ms. Lindsey do go on clutching your pearls, also I'm still waiting for you to call Jan. 6th what it really was & stop suckling on Trumps ass.
    If only you had been more discrete maybe Trump wouldn't have those photos, videos, calls that he used to make you his bitch.
    I mean you might like to play that in the bedroom but its a bad look in Congress you spineless hack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 12:10am

      Re:

      "Positions filled by Trump faithful with no experience in the areas they were tasked with overseeing, unqualified hacks who used their positions to line their own pockets on our dime."

      You're being too kind. The heads of the Dept. Of Education, the post office, the EPA, etc. were not simply unqualified, they were actively hostile to the existence of those departments.

      One of the great examples of comedy in this area was Rick Perry, who had campaigned to abolish the Department Of Energy in his 2012 presidential campaign (even though there was one time where he famously couldn't even remember the name of the department). After Trump installed him as Secretary Of Energy (presumably at least partly due to the above), he publicly recounted his former position, essentially stated that he fully supported the department now that he's learned what it actually does. As in - when he accepted the position to run the department, he had no idea what its role was.

      It's way too late to push back on unqualified nominees if your opposition is qualifications rather than partisan politics.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 2:22am

        Re: Re:

        I honestly just wish some reporter would have replied with how Ms. Lindsey voted for Trumps nominees.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 2:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Everybody already knows Graham is a spineless hypocrite.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 12 Nov 2021 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          (Also: calling a man a woman as an insult is kinda shitty. There are lots of things to criticize Graham for without bringing casual sexism into it.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Nov 2021 @ 7:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I honestly just wish some reporter would have replied with how Ms. Lindsey voted for Trumps nominees."

          Not cool to compare Lindsey with a woman. Most women would take offense.

          That said I think windsocks are genderless so men can probably safely disavow him as well...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Josh Taylor, 11 Nov 2021 @ 7:57pm

    Newsmax and OAN are clueless

    Newsmax and OAN are clueless that Gigi Sohn if confirmed by the Senate, can force hosting services to shut them down. I agree with Sen. Linsay Graham,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 12 Nov 2021 @ 1:24am

    Irrelevance

    It baffles me as to why anyone, anyone, would give a crap about what Lindsey Graham has to say. After all his bullshit about SC nominees, his flip-flopping on Jan 6th, he literally told the world that his word means nothing and that he has no spine.

    This odious piece of garbage is not fit to judge anyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2021 @ 11:34am

    Rupert Murdoch is such a bareface liar, that when he says something, I have to check that Rupert Murdoch actually exists and isn't just a random troll with bony mummy arms

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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