from the a-real-loss dept
Yesterday, Karl wrote about the absolutely ridiculous situation in which the person perhaps most qualified to be an FCC commissioner, Gigi Sohn, had to withdraw her nomination, which had languished over nearly two years, mostly due to a bunch of absolute ridiculous bullshit lies from telecom and media giants who hated the idea of her being in that job. As someone who has known Sohn for well over a decade, the whole situation is infuriating. Almost all of the claims about her were ridiculous lies, or at least misleading. Anyone who knows her (even those opposed to her policy goals) recognizes that she’s smart, competent, knowledgeable, and focused on actually doing what’s best for the public. She is not, as some falsely framed her, some sort of “partisan” hack.
The whole thing is incredibly frustrating.
It’s no surprise that the GOP united against her. They would do that for almost any nominee. But it’s sad that the telcos and cablecos were able to convince enough Democrats to go along with it, and that it never really seemed like there was a strategy from the administration to get her approved.
Either way, Karl posted just an excerpt of Gigi’s statement, but I think it’s worth people reading the whole thing, so we’re posting it here. Gigi has spent decades literally fighting to make the internet better for you and for me, and not for giant companies. Her withdrawing from this process is a loss for all of us.
Last night after discussions with my family and careful consideration, I made the decision to ask President Biden to withdraw my nomination to the Federal Communications Commission. When I accepted his nomination over sixteen months ago, I could not have imagined that legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets would distort my over 30-year history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies. The unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks on my character and my career as an advocate for the public interest have taken an enormous toll on me and my family.
Unfortunately, the American people are the real losers here. The FCC deadlock, now over two years long, will remain so for a long time. As someone who has advocated for my entire career for affordable, accessible broadband for every American, it is ironic that the 2-2 FCC will remain sidelined at the most consequential opportunity for broadband in our lifetimes. This means that your broadband will be more expensive for lack of competition, minority and underrepresented voices will be marginalized, and your private information will continue to be used and sold at the whim of your broadband provider. It means that the FCC will not have a majority to adopt strong rules which ensure that everyone has nondiscriminatory access to broadband, regardless of who they are or where they live, and that low income students will continue to be forced to do their school work sitting outside of Taco Bell because universal service funds can’t be used for broadband in their homes. And it means that many rural Americans will continue the long wait for broadband because the FCC can’t fix its Universal Service programs.
It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators. And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.
I want to thank President Biden for his faith in me and for my champions in the Senate who defended me at every turn. I especially want to thank the dozens of people who volunteered their time and energy to help me through this process, as well as the over 400 organizations, companies and trade associations, and hundreds of thousands of individuals who registered their support with the Senate. I will forever be grateful for their efforts on my behalf.
I hope the President swiftly nominates an individual who puts the American people first over all other interests. The country deserves nothing less.