Preston Padden: ISPs Complicit in Smear Campaign Against FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn
Preston Padden, a former Fox and ABC/Disney executive, cited a smear campaign to continue preventing Gigi Sohn from being installed as the fifth FCC commissioner is not politically aligned.
Padden also said he had been in contact with Fox Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, an opponent of the Democratic nominee. He said he was able to allay Murdoch’s “concerns” about Sohn’s nomination by noting that it was instrumental in Padden’s efforts as Fox’s top executive to obtain the FCC waivers needed to run the Fox network to launch and “fend off” heavy lobbying by ABC. CBS and NBC on board.
One of the smacks at Sohn from her conservative critics — Sohn is a progressive Democrat — were tweets critical of Fox News, which she published in private before she became an adviser to Obama-era Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. served. Son has said she regrets some of her choices of words.
Also: Sohn backers call dithering dems
Padden called Sohn a “superbly qualified” candidate who should be confirmed as soon as possible. He also asked that the letter be included in the transcript of a possible third nomination hearing for Sohn, who was nominated by President Joe Biden more than two years ago to fill the vacant third Democratic seat.
Padden said he feared Sohn was “at risk of becoming the victim of the worst and most cynical and baseless smear campaign ever waged against a candidate for FCC service.”
Just last weekend a story from the UK Daily Mail about Sohn was picked up by conservative US media such as Breitbart and Newsmax. Padden cited it as the latest in a series of allegations he believes to be the lowest of the low.
“The press stories hatched by Ms. Sohn’s opponents are beneath the whimsical and beneath the dignity of this committee,” he wrote. “For example, a Daily Mail online story (not a Murdoch publication) began with a picture of Ms. Sohn next to a suggestive picture of a sex worker with whom Ms. Sohn has absolutely nothing to do. This is ‘tabloid trash’ at its worst, all brought together, I believe, by representatives from some of the country’s largest cable companies and ISPs.”
Also: Sohn tells Congress she will be fair and impartial
Sohn has long advocated supporting new programming networks and voices to compete with established players, including conservative networks like Newsmax, whose founder previously championed Sohn. Indeed, in the video embedded in Newsmax’s online story Daily Mail The article was an interview with Chip Pickering, a former Republican congressman and current chairman of competition lobby group INCOMPAS, in which he discussed why he supported Sohn and how helpful she was in promoting the “little boys” over dominant players.
Below is the full text of Paddden’s letter of support:
Chairman Cantwell, Ranking Member Cruz and Committee Members:
I respectfully request that this letter be included in the record of the hearing that will be held regarding the appointment of Gigi Sohn as commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Ms. Sohn’s politics are to my left, but she is a superbly qualified and experienced candidate who should be confirmed as soon as possible.
I have the utmost respect for this committee and its members, to whom I have testified many times as President of the ABC Television Network, as a founding member of Fox Broadcasting Company and as Head of Government Relations for News Corporation/Fox (Murdoch). and The Walt Disney Company. I fear that this esteemed committee, like Ms. Sohn, is at risk of becoming the victim of the worst and most cynical and baseless smear campaign ever waged against a candidate for the FCC. Ms. Sohn’s only sin is that she stands up for the underdogs and for the consumers. As a result, some of the dominant cable television companies and internet service providers have stooped to unprecedented lows to smear Ms. Sohn. They fear, rightly, that it would be a vote to require them to compete fairly and respect consumers.
Ms Sohn’s opponents have planted article after article alleging she is anti-Native American, anti-Hipanics, anti-rural communities, anti-police and that she is associated with illegal sex workers. It’s all garbage! A total of 375 organizations, corporations, elected officials and local governments, including numerous tribal, Hispanic organizations and public safety officials, have expressed their support for Ms. Sohn’s nomination!
The press stories that are instigated by Ms. Sohn’s opponents are below all disgrace and below the dignity of this committee. For example one Daily Mail The online story (not a Murdoch publication) began with a picture of Ms. Sohn juxtaposed with a suggestive picture of a sex worker with whom Ms. Sohn has absolutely no connection. This is tabloid trash at its worst, all brought to you I believe by representatives of some of the country’s largest cable companies and ISPs.
I worked for Rupert Murdoch for seven years, securing waivers from FCC rules that prevented the launch of Fox Broadcasting Company – the long-awaited fourth free-over-the-air TV network. Mr Murdoch recently sent me a note expressing concerns about Ms Sohn’s nomination. I responded by reminding him (actually, he might never have known) that Ms. Sohn, because she fights for underdogs (which Fox certainly was in its early days) and because she saw the consumer-friendly benefits of a fourth network, she very much was helpful in our efforts to fend off heavy lobbying attacks from the three incumbent networks and obtain the disclaimers we needed. And I advised him that Ms. Sohn’s interest in demanding fair behavior from dominant cable and ISP “pipe” companies might help a company like his, which has important content assets but no bottleneck “pipe” features. Mr Murdoch replied that he was corrected in his view of Ms Sohn.
Boulder Thinking, LLC