Gigi Sohn Withdraws FCC Nomination

(Image credit: C-SPAN)

After a bruising 16-month battle, Gigi Sohn has asked the White House to withdraw her stalled nomination to the FCC. The withdrawal will continue a two year deadlock at the FCC that has prevented the Biden administration from expanding its communications agenda. 

In a statement shared exclusively with the Washington Post (opens in new tab), Sohn said that “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,” she continued. “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.”

Sohn also complained that “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.”

Sohn was first nominated in October of 2021 (opens in new tab) and received her first Senate hearing in Dec. of 2021 but controversies over her involvement with the now defunct Locast streaming service caused the NAB to express "serious concerns" about her nomination (opens in new tab), which also drew fire from cable operators for her positions on net neutrality and other issues.

Sohn made the decision to withdraw after Senator Joe Manchin announced (opens in new tab) he would vote against her nomination.  

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.