The threat to free speech on radio will not come through the “fairness doctrine.” The threat comes from Mark Lloyd, newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer of the FCC.Lloyd, a disciple of Saul Alinsky and fan of Hugo Chavez, wants to destroy talk radio and says free speech is a distraction. The new FCC diversity “czar” says Venezuela is an example we should follow.
Loyd has called for making private broadcasting companies pay licensing fees up to an amount equal to their total operating costs to fund Public Broadcasting. Lloyd wants to upgrade and revamp the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through new funding drawn from private broadcasters.
“Federal and regional broadcast operations and local stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded,” Lloyd wrote. “This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters. Funding should not come from congressional appropriations. Sponsorship should be prohibited at all public broadcasters.”
The fee that broadcasters would pay would vary based on the station’s programming of “diverse views” and government activities. In other words, no all-conservative talk radio.
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 4:30 PM PT
When Mark Lloyd was appointed July 29 as the chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission, a nation focused on ObamaCare and a deteriorating economy took little notice. But as angry constituents flood town hall meetings and call in to talk radio, a man dedicated to silencing them sits at the right hand of the president.
They share a common hero — Saul Alinsky — who wrote the community organizer’s bible, “Rules for Radicals.” It speaks of confrontation or, as candidate Obama put it, of “getting in their faces” as a way to obtain power, not from the people or for the people, but over the people.
Lloyd has written that we make too much of the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and the press — for “the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.”
We thought we were democratically governed. We thought we could vote as we choose after a vigorous and open debate. Once the major networks served as information gatekeepers controlling what we saw and heard. Now talk radio, the Internet and cable news have enhanced democracy by promoting the free flow of information and discourse. Lloyd wants to stop all that.
Fox News host Glenn Beck has done yeoman work in exposing this threat posed by Mr. Lloyd. He points out that in his 2006 book, “Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America,” Lloyd wrote: “It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. . . . This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. . . . At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”
Lloyd wants to restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations and ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing. The kicker is he would also require owners who refuse to give up profitable air time in the name of “localism” to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
He proposes using the existing FCC “localism” requirement, which can mean anything from running more public service announcements to putting Janeane Garofalo on after Rush Limbaugh. Local community organizers would be encouraged to harass conservative stations by filing complaints with the FCC.
He essentially proposes extorting money from broadcasters who have the audacity to air the likes of Beck, Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, all of whom have competed in the marketplace of ideas and won in the ratings, and use it to fund those outfits nobody wants to listen to — like NPR and Air America.
As Lloyd writes, the “part of our proposal that gets the dittoheads (Rush Limbaugh fans) upset is our suggestion that the commercial radio station owners either play by the rules or pay.” Or worse.
The FCC could then say they had enough justification to revoke a station’s license if they didn’t comply or pay a fee. In true Alinsky style, shut them up by shutting them down.
Lloyd praises Hugo Chavez’s “incredible revolution” in Venezuela and the way “Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country” by imposing restraints on cable TV and revoking the licenses of more than 200 radio stations” that insufficiently toed the Chavez party line.
Lloyd long ago declared war on unbridled talk radio and cable news. He wrote that “our work was not simply convincing policy makers of the logic and morality of our arguments. We understood that we were in a struggle for power against an opponent, the commercial broadcasters.”
When Mark Lloyd talks about diversity, it is not diversity of opinion. As in the ’60s sci-fi series, “Outer Limits,” his advice is to “sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear.”