Following the 2016 election, a broad consensus emerged between the Democrats and their aligned institutions, the deep state, and tech companies in Silicon Valley that narratives undermining the progressive worldview had to be suppressed across all mediums.
A frenzy of censorship followed, justified by a number of pretexts with varying levels of punch: from “fake news,” to “Russian influence operations,” to “COVID disinformation” and “election integrity,” it seemed that every month brought a new excuse for suppressing vast swathes of conservative discourse.
The comments and actions of Gigi Sohn, who withdrew her bid to be one of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier today, exemplified this consensus.
Breitbart News played a leading role in exposing Sohn’s partisan comments, which held up her nomination for two years and deadlocked the powerful FCC, which enforces internet regulations, at a time when it could have been used by a Democrat majority to accelerate the censorship of conservative voices.
It was common, during this time, for leading progressives to casually call for the wholesale destruction of conservative media, through any means available.
Sohn was the co-founder and CEO of the leftist advocacy group Public Knowledge, which recently called on cable and satellite providers to drop the conservative One America News Network (OAN). With further encouragement from Democrats in congress, major cable providers Verizon and AT&T eventually did just that, striking a major blow against the conservative network.
Sohn also called on the FCC to threaten the broadcasting license of the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a network of local TV stations. Loss of a broadcast license would effectively force Sinclair off the air.
This, and its lack of candor during the failed merger with Tribune, calls into question Sinclair’s fitness to be a broadcast licensee. Will @FCC do anything when Sinclair’s licenses are up for renewal? https://t.co/EPNExBfXS0
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) October 21, 2018
The dangerous Sinclair-Tribune merger is officially dead. I say that @FCC should look at whether Sinclair is qualified to be a broadcast licensee at all: https://t.co/IAeAX6dhgo
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) August 9, 2018
“The dangerous Sinclair-Tribune merger is officially dead. I say that [the FCC] should look at whether Sinclair is qualified to be a broadcast licensee at all,” said Sohn in August 2018.
Sohn also called Fox News “dangerous to our democracy,” arguing that Fox is the greater danger and calling for a “hearing” about the network, which she labeled “state-sponsored propaganda.”
For all my concerns about #Facebook, I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy. It’s state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints. Where’s the hearing about that? https://t.co/Zwx6KFzrff
— Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) October 28, 2020
While Sohn’s comments ultimately proved fatal to her ambitions to be an FCC commissioner, they were not out of step with the times. This was an era in which the U.S. government was funding efforts to suppress “misinformation” on social media, and in which the FBI primed Facebook to suppress the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story.
The censorship of opposing viewpoints, justified by hyperbolic rhetoric about “threats to democracy” was everywhere during this period. Sohn was just following a trend.
The fact that it doomed her FCC candidacy may be a sign that the trend is running out of steam — but the vast empire of “disinformation” censorship created over the past decade is still out there. The fact that a partisan nominee like Sohn can’t secure 60 votes in the Senate may reveal the limits of the censorship consensus, but it is by no means the end of the fight.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.
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