Fighting for the right of consumers to pay for only the cable channels they want, former Conservative Republican Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain repeatedly asked, ‘Why should the little old lady living on Social Security in Gila Bend, AZ have to pay an extra $7 a month because ESPN (that she never watches) is a mandatory part of her cable bundle?’ His tireless Republican advocacy for competition, consumer choice and lower prices for Cable and Telecomm services was shared by other former great Republican Communications Policy Leaders like Billy Tauzin who waged a courageous one-person floor fight to give satellite TV services access to leading cable channels. [Full disclosure, working for Disney/ESPN at the time I lobbied against Senator McCain on cable consumer choice. I was no more principled then than are other industry lobbyists today.]
In FCC nominee Gigi Sohn’s lifelong advocacy for competition, consumer choice and lower prices, there is the unmistakable echo of these former great Republican Communications Policy Leaders. And yet, at her third confirmation hearing, some (not all) of today’s Senate Commerce Committee Republicans sounded like they were aligning themselves with Cable/Telecom industry giants instead of with consumers. And at other times they harped on extraneous issues completely unrelated to the mission of the FCC.
The FCC needs Gigi Sohn. And her advocacy for competition, consumer choice and lower prices bears the unmistakable echo of great Conservative Republican Leaders of Communications Policy. The Senate should confirm her without delay.