Biden FCC commissioner nominee faces grilling from senate GOP, asked about past comments on Fox News

Sohn has called Fox News 'state-sponsored propaganda'

President Biden’s pick to lead the Federal Communications Commission faced a tough round of questioning Wednesday from Republican senators over her alleged partisan bias.  

Gigi Sohn, who was an FCC official during the Obama administration, was nominated by President Biden in late October. Her nomination has caused concern among Republican lawmakers because of her past comments toward conservative media as well as an openness to revamping the fairness doctrine. 

FILE: Georgetown University Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy fellow Gigi Sohn testifies before the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill M (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In October 2020, for instance, Sohn tweeted her belief that "Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy." She likened it to "state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints." 

Speaking to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Wednesday, Sohn insisted that her personal views would have no bearing on how she behaved as a policymaker. 


"I’ve been in government before and the values that are important being a policymaker: responsiveness, transparency, integrity – that’s what you’ll get from me if I’m confirmed," Sohn said. "So, yes, I said something maybe too sharp, but that will have absolutely no determination in how I would rule on a proceeding with any of those companies." 

FILE: The seal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seen before an FCC meeting to vote on net neutrality in Washington.  ((AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, also took Sohn to task over her comments against Republicans, quipping that having some "nasty tweets against Republicans" is a good way to get into the Biden Administration. 

"Is MSNBC state-sponsored propaganda too?" Sullivan asked. "This goes directly to the power you’re going to have. This is not some random tweet. Millions of Americans watch that news station." 


Sohn said her comments were in the interest of public advocacy, and merely her opinions. She reiterated that her personal opinions "will have no bearing on how I would act if I’m confirmed as an FCC commissioner." 

Still, it remains to be seen whether Sohn’s insistence on bipartisanship will put her critics at ease. 

FILE: Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, speaks during a House communications and technology subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.  (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sohn’s stewardship over the FCC would be a "complete nightmare." 

"While I have been deferential to all presidents when it comes to picking their team, I have also pushed back on unqualified nominees and hacks," Graham said in a statement.

"Gigi Sohn is a complete political ideologue who has disdain for conservatives. She would be a complete nightmare for the country when it comes to regulating the public airwaves," Graham continued.


In a Wall Street Journal editorial published Tuesday, author Matthew Whitaker wrote that Biden’s decision to nominate Sohn to the FCC "provides fresh evidence of the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch." 

Fox Business’ Jon Brown contributed to this report.