"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death for your right to say it." Voltaire's words inspired Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the American patriots who founded our nation over two centuries ago. But his words are just as important today.
Cancel culture and hyperpartisan politics threaten our ability to communicate with each other, even when we disagree.
Add government to the mix and things get dangerous.
That is why I am supporting Gigi Sohn for commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
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.
The FCC regulates broadcast, cable, broadband, wireless, satellite, and telephone services, making it one of the most important agencies in the federal government for maintaining a competitive, diverse, and vibrant media environment.
Gigi Sohn throughout her career has supported competition. She fought against Big Media mergers that would have given New York and LA executives more control over what people see on television in Kentucky or South Carolina.
She fought for consumers' ability to get independently created content, from conservative news outlets to minority-owned programmers, rather than rely only on huge corporate media conglomerates.
And she has advocated successfully for rural citizens to get broadband access so they can be part of the conversation, as well as the economy.
That's where Gigi and I agree.
There are a lot of areas where we disagree.
Gigi is a liberal progressive; I am a proud conservative. She voted for Joe Biden; I voted for Donald Trump.
She wants to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules and I don't.
Despite all of that, though, I trust Gigi to get it right when it comes to protecting my free speech.
We worked together as board members of a nonprofit that ultimately improved sports fans' access to games on broadcast television by ending the FCC's Sports Blackout Rule.
Gigi encouraged me to promote our views to Republicans on the FCC, including then-Commissioner Ajit Pai, and always made sure that my views were taken seriously by the rest of the board.
Later, when Gigi served as senior staff at the FCC, she always made herself available to me and anyone else who wanted to be heard.
And even when other liberals wanted to shut down conservative voices, Gigi stood up for free speech.
We will never agree on a lot of things, but Gigi Sohn will fight for my right—and yours—to be heard and to have access to the most important information and communications services.
I hope that the Senate will confirm her soon. I have a lot of things I want the FCC to hear.
Brad Blakeman served as Assistant to the President and Director of Scheduling to President George W. Bush. He appears regularly as a commentator on Newsmax, Fox News, and other media outlets. Read Bradley Blakeman's Reports — More Here.
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