Mark Lloyd is the FCC Diversity Czar, or Diversity Officer. The first of this title ever - whether "Czar" or "Officer." See video below.
The Fairness Doctrine: Not your Daddy's Doctrine November 25, 2008 The Liberal think tank, Center for American Progress, has issued a 36-page report explaining why and how talk radio must be, and easily can be, regulated by a Fairness Doctrine - but not regulated in the way we conventionally think of a Fairness Doctrine. This is a simple and doable plan for Democrats. The Fairness Doctrine will happen this way: All stations will be required to issue many new licenses to minorities - ethnic and women, which is known as "localism." Licenses will be up for review, and reissue, every three years rather than the current eight years. Programming will be basically local. The Center for American Progress says that the original Fairness Doctrine's real value was not in the "fair discussion of important issues," but in the way licenses could be issued:Reprinted from The Fairness Doctrine: What You May Not Know From the Media Contract with America 2007:...limited license terms to three years [from eight, I think], subjected broadcasters to license challenges through comparative hearings, required notice to the local community that licenses were going to expire, and empowered the local community through a process of interviewing a variety of local leaders.Perhaps the plan is to scrap the Telecommunications Act of 1996, mandated by Congress, which increased the number of radio stations that "one entity could own in the same market." However, doing so may not be necessary to bring achieve a plethora of Liberal programming and deny Conservative content. The death of syndicated programming (nation shows like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity) is imminent if Democrats have their way, to be replaced with local programming. In public, Democrats will say this has little to do with providing opposing viewpoints, but as this study finds, the new licensees will be decidedly Liberal....of all 10,506 licensed commercial radio stations in the country suggests that stations owned by racial or ethnic minorities are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows and more likely to air progressive hosts or shows....This is an issue Barack Obama and Congress need not direct. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can accomplish all of the above without a word from Congress or the President. A question for readers: Any opinions about advertisers and the enormous income to stations from successful programming, supported by advertising dollars? How will the money be replaced? Does it matter if stations are smaller, local and not in need of big money?
In January 2007, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps unveiled a new American Media Contract at a gathering of the National Media Reform Conference in Memphis. The text of the speech appears to have been removed from the web, although I have found several links to it, one titled Copps Unveils New American Media Contract, which then takes the reader to the 2008 Conference speech. Just a typo? I don't think so. Maggie's Notebook reported on this on January 27, 2007 and is likely not the only webpage documenting the words of Michael Copps.On August 17, 2009, Senator Charles Grassley wrote a letter to the current FCC Chairman about "Fairness Doctrine Statements." Here's the letter:We expect these: 1. A right to media that strengthens our democracy 2. A right to local stations that are actually local 3. A right to media that looks and sounds like America 4. A right to news that isn’t canned and radio playlists that aren’t for sale 5. A right to programming that isn’t so damned bad so damned oftenWho decides what America "looks and sounds"like? Who decides if the news is "canned" or not" Who decides what strengthens our democracy? Copps said this about the state of television in 2007:And what do the American people — who own the public airwaves, by the way — get in return? Too little news, too much baloney passed off as news. Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV. Too little local and regional music, too much brain-numbing national play-lists. Too little of America, too much of Wall Street and Madison Avenue...."An immediate red flag: "...too much baloney passed off as news." I think Mr. Copps' baloney is not my baloney. Other speakers for the event were well-known leftists Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Geena Davis, Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill Moyers, Helen Thomas and Jessie Jackson. Henry Rivera [became Obama's FCC Transition Team head] is said to see "communications as a civil rights issue," and my research bears that out. As current Chair of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, he has proposed to: 1) funnel more "federal advertising" to minority media  2) allow foreign ownership; relax U.S. trade barriers to provide "overseas capital," for minority broadcasters  3) develop "constitutionally permissible yet non-dilute method of defining" the class [race] of licensees, i.e., "an applicant's race would be one of the numerous factors considered when the Commission reviews a license application."  4) change the FCC Commission to a more diverse Commission - it should look like America  In addition, Rivera wants a blue-ribbon panel discussion, now, to bring Communications to the table by creating a White House Cabinet position, and he advocates for "localism" to prevail when issuing broadcasting licenses - a position to be seen in Copps' comments above. The above is taken from Rivera's Minority Media & Telecom Council pdf, page numbers are in brackets. To date I've found nothing in Rivera's own words directly calling for a Fairness Doctrine, however, in a January 2008 news release, Rivera and a law partner, Richard Wiley, discuss the issue of "localism," - requiring TV stations to "cover local news," Mr. Wiley added, "Are we going to return to the broadcast regulations of the past? That's the question." I believe this may speak directly to a Fairness Doctrine, which is particularly difficult for smaller local stations to implement. Limited cast and crew find it difficult to allow equal time ON EVERY ISSUE. It's costly, often not pertinent, and history shows that that the stations just give up and don't report controversial issues. It is reported that Obama is not interested in a Fairness Doctrine, but if you take a look at his press secretary, Michael Ortiz', statement, it not reassuring:He [Obama] considers this debate [Fairness Doctrine] to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible.When it comes to "fairness" in media, we have nothing to feel good about in an Obama administration. Team Obama attorneys: 1) asked the Department of Justice to remove TV ads produced by American Issues Project 2) threatened individual TV and radio stations airing NRA ads even "intimidating cease and desist letters...threatening their FCC license if they run the ads" according to the NRA 3) at the direction of a Team Obama email, deluged the Milt Rosenberg's Chicago radio show interview of Dr. Stanley Kurtz, by jamming phones during the live show, sending copious emails, and gathering outside the studio. ALL at the command of the Obama campaign. Obama does not bode well for free speech.
My concerns relate to Mr. Lloyd’s participation in scholarly writings on political talk radio, the Fairness Doctrine, and efforts to bring greater diversity to talk radio. Prior to joining the FCC, Mr. Lloyd served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), in addition to positions as a professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. In his capacity as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, he coauthored a paper titled, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.” This paper argued that radio programming was currently “imbalanced” and that there are “serious questions about whether the companies licensed to broadcast over the public airwaves are serving the listening needs of all Americans.” Mr. Lloyd’s paper suggests three options to remedy the “imbalance” in political talk radio, including (1) restoring caps on commercial radio station ownership, (2) ensure greater accountability in licensing, and (3) require owners who fail to enforce public interest ownership obligations to pay a fee. While these remedies seem innocuous on their face, hidden within the paper are some stark revelations. First, Mr. Lloyd’s paper suggests that the Fairness Doctrine was “never formally repealed.” Instead, Mr. Lloyd argues that the FCC merely announced “it would no longer enforce certain regulations under the umbrella of the Fairness Doctrine.” The paper continues by stating that while the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC decision, the Supreme Court has “never overruled the cases that authorized the FCC’s enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine…thus it technically would not be considered repealed.” Second, the paper suggests that the FCC revise the licensing process for radio broadcasters. Specifically, it suggests that licenses should not be permitted for longer than three years, that they be subject to challenges in the decision to renew their licenses, and that they submit to strict documentation and regulatory requirements. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the paper suggests that commercial radio owners be subjected to new regulatory requirements enforcing public interest obligations and if they fail to meet these standards, subjecting them to fees and taxes in order to compel compliance. The paper suggests that such a fee or fine structure could raise between $100 million to $250 million in new revenue, but would not “overly burden commercial radio broadcasters.” Taken together, these statements represent a view that the FCC needs to expand its regulatory arm further into the commercial radio market. However, it would be unfair for me to say that Mr. Lloyd has specifically advocated for a return to the Fairness Doctrine. Instead, he has argued that the Fairness Doctrine is unnecessary if other regulatory reforms to commercial radio are implemented. Specifically, in discussing the CAP paper “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” Mr. Lloyd authored an internet article published on CAP’s website entitled, “Forget the Fairness Doctrine.” In that piece, Mr. Lloyd stated, “we call for ownership rules that we think will create greater local diversity…we call for more localism by putting teeth into the licensing rules. But we do not call for a return to the Fairness Doctrine.” Simply put, I strongly disagree with Mr. Lloyd. I do not believe that more regulation, more taxes or fines, or increased government intervention in the commercial radio market will serve the public interest or further the goals of diversifying the marketplace. I am concerned that despite his statements that the Fairness Doctrine is unnecessary, Mr. Lloyd supports a backdoor method of furthering the goals of the Fairness Doctrine by other means. Accordingly, I ask that you clarify and reaffirm your commitment to me to oppose any reincarnation of the Fairness Doctrine. Further, I ask you to affirmatively state that you will not pursue an agenda that includes any new restrictions, fines, fees, or licensing requirements on commercial radio that would effectively create a backdoor Fairness Doctrine. I appreciate your prompt reply regarding this important matter.There is fleeting hints today that fees must be paid by some licensees, perhaps totaling 100 percent, with fines of 200 percent on Conservative broadcasts - and while it is not being said outright, this has to be the way they intend to fund the new "diverse" locals who will now be given a broadcasting license. Are we ready to be told we cannot hold an FCC license because we are White, Conservative, Male? Are we ready to let the FCC decide "what America looks like?" Rough translation of Mike Lloyd speaking in video:
In Venezuela Chavez...and social change...In Venezuela, with Chavez, really an incredible revolution, a Democratic revolution to begin to put in place... saying that we're going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela. The property owners and the folks who were then controlling the media...Venezuela rebelled, worked frankly with folds here in the U.S. Government...worked to oust him and came back...another revolution and Chavez then started to take the media very seriously in this country.