WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden renominated public-interest advocate Gigi Sohn to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. Biden first nominated Sohn to the position in October 2021, but she faced an intense smear campaign orchestrated by groups funded by the telecom and broadcast industries seeking to deadlock the federal agency that oversees their businesses.
No other nominee in the FCC’s history has had to wait so long for a confirmation vote in the Senate. Sohn's confirmation has been repeatedly derailed as deep-pocketed communications industry lobbyists have staged underhanded attacks against the nominee. According to reporting by The Washington Post, the industry has bankrolled right-wing and other astroturf groups to place false, anti-Sohn attack ads that have been viewed by tens of millions of people.
Last month, as the 117th Congress ended, Color of Change, Free Press Action and MediaJustice called on Senate leadership to condemn the corrupt, antisemitic and homophobic attacks against Sohn and confirm her to the federal agency as soon as possible.
The failure to confirm Sohn has slowed the agency’s ability to adopt policies to close the digital divide, prevent price-gouging by internet service providers, promote diversity and localism in broadcast ownership and more.
Free Press Action Co-CEO Craig Aaron said:
“The Biden administration just did the best thing it could to ensure media policy actually serves the public: It renominated Gigi Sohn to the FCC. Now the Senate must reject the smear campaign against her and confirm Sohn without delay.
“No other nominee in the FCC’s history has had to wait so long for a confirmation vote, and none have been better qualified to serve the needs of the public. But the Senate buckled to industry pressure and kept her in limbo for more than a year. These seemingly endless delays have harmed millions, preventing the deadlocked agency from passing or strengthening crucial policies that would help people connect and communicate.
“As commissioner, Sohn will fight on behalf of working families trying to pay their rising monthly bills, ensure that the benefits of broadband reach everyone, and curb the runaway media consolidation that has decimated local journalism and harmed Black and Brown communities. Without Sohn’s crucial fifth vote at the agency, the agenda of the president and the FCC Chairwoman risks being further obstructed and undermined.
“Industry spent millions of dollars on astroturf groups to repeatedly misrepresent Sohn’s record in the media and on Capitol Hill. They've lied repeatedly about her record and principles — but their corrupt and dirty tricks aren't working anymore. The new Senate has a renewed mandate to serve the public interest. It can start by confirming Sohn immediately.”